Governor's Race: First GOP Debate of the Season

It's early, but the five Republican candidates who are hoping to take the governor's office this fall took part in their first debate East Lansing Wednesday night.

The Republican candidates include Sheriff Mike Bouchard, Attorney General Mike Cox, State Senator Tom George, Congressman Pete Hoekstra, and Ann Arbor Businessman Rick Snyder.

It's pretty early to hold a debate, seeing that the filing deadline for candidates is still three weeks away. Each of the five candidates is hoping to win the Republican primary in August and take on the Democratic candidate for governor in November.

They're all vying to win the party's nod in the upcoming August 3rd primary. The candidates are trying to attract the GOP base with the usual platforms of low taxes and smaller government. While the five men agreed on those broad concepts, they sharply disagreed on who would be best suited for the position.

Cox was perhaps the most aggressive critic of his fellow candidates, and Snyder described the other four men as "career politicians." George tried to set himself apart by saying that he's the only candidate who supported a major change to the state's constitution, an issue that will certainly appear on the November ballot.

The banter went back and forth for the majority of the hour- long debate.

According to the chair of the Michigan Democratic Party, Mark Brewer, no formal debate has been scheduled among the Democrats yet, but he did tell FOX 17 News that one is in the works after the filing deadline.

The Democratic candidates include Speaker of the House Andy Dillon, Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero, and State Representative Alma Wheeler Smith.

The debate took place at the Fairchild Theatre.

The Republicans have three more scheduled debates sponsored by the party, they will take place over each of the next three months leading up to the primary.

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