Three Republicans running for their party’s U.S. Senate nomination appeared together Thursday, in their only televised debate of this primary season. The candidates agreed on gun control, school reform, requiring super-majorities for tax hikes and opposing federal money for a new international bridge in Detroit.
The two other candidates nodded their heads and agreed when former Congressman Pete Hoekstra called for an overhaul of the U.S. tax code.
“How are we going to get people in America back to work? What kind of changes are we going to make in terms of taxes, in terms of regulatory reform, in terms of health care and energy policy that put Americans back to work,” Hoekstra said.
But Hoekstra and charter school executive Clark Durant still found plenty to argue about.
“I balanced the budget.”
“No, you didn’t, Pete. No you didn’t, Pete. Because what you did was you voted time and time again and then your last vote took the debt to $11 trillion dollars. Even Debbie Stabenow didn’t vote for the Wall Street bailout and you did,” Durant said.
The sparring prompted former judge and fellow candidate Randy Hekman to chime in: “This is like two people wrestling in a little row boat heading over the Niagara Falls.”
The debate was heated at times, but all three candidates agreed to support the winner of Tuesday’s G.O.P. primary, who will go on to face incumbent Senator Debbie Stabenow in November. A fourth Republican, Gary Glenn, will also appear on the primary ballot even though he dropped out and endorsed Durant.
The debate will air this week on Michigan Public Television stations and you can watch online here.