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Do Michigan Republican candidates support Trump? Let us count the ways

Trump and other talking points  

Here’s a tally of the times the four Republican candidates for Michigan governor invoked President Trump during a one-hour debate Wednesday, and their other favorite talking points.

Bill Schuette

Trump total: 14 mentions

Quote: “The president is supporting me and I appreciate his endorsement and it wasn’t even a close call.”

Key talking point: Trump endorsed him (10 mentions)  

Brian Calley

Trump total: Four mentions

Quote: “I want to make it clear that I support the president. His success is our success and I voted for him.”

Key talking point: Michigan gained 540,000 new jobs during Snyder years. (five mentions)

Patrick Colbeck

Trump total: Eight mentions

Quote: “First of all, I think President Trump got some really bad information with regards to his endorsement.”

Key talking point: He worked on the International Space Station (three mentions)

Jim Hines

Trump Total: Nine

Quote: “I have pictures, and I love the guy. I don’t know why, I love him.”  

Key talking point: He’s an outsider (four mentions)


The television viewer’s comment came just over halfway through Wednesday’s televised debate among Republican candidates for Michigan governor.

“My husband and I are watching closely to see who supports our president,” wrote the viewer, whose remarks were read aloud by the debate moderator from WOOD-TV in Grand Rapids.

“We will not vote for a candidate who does not.”

No need to worry. All four candidates support President Trump. Extravagantly.

Leading the way was Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette, who mentioned three times that Trump has endorsed his candidacy ‒ and that was just in Schuette’s opening statement!

(Trump first crossed his lips at the 14 second mark.)

In all, Schuette cited the Trump endorsement 10 times in the 60-minute debate. He noted Trump had invited him to the White House two times, with another five references to the president sprinkled throughout his answers. In all, Schuette favorably invoked the president a leading 14 times.

Analysis: Michigan Republican governor candidates actually focus on substance in first full debate
Related: Michigan’s governor candidates call for financial disclosure. Not all have done so.
Related: Old divisions, new blood: The Michigan GOP in the era of Trump

That far exceeded the Trump invocations of his rival, Lt. Gov. Brian Calley, who fended off criticism from the other candidates Wednesday for having denounced Trump’s infamous Access Hollywood remarks before the 2016 election. Calley mentioned his support for Trump four times at the debate.  

State senator and tea party favorite Patrick Colbeck doubled up Calley with eight mentions of the president, along with a sly dig, suggesting “President Trump got some really bad information with regards to his endorsement” of Schuette.  

But it was Dr. Jim Hines (Trump total: nine mentions) who delivered the warmest embrace of the president, who is hugely popular among Michigan Republicans.

“I have pictures, and I love the guy,” Hines gushed. “I don’t know why, I love him,” citing the president’s push to construct a wall along the Mexican border and the passage last year of tax cuts.   

“Trump is our president and I believe placed there by God,” Hines said. “And we should be praying for him.”

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