On Wednesday, October 18, 2006 Senator Debbie StabenowÂ (D) held her ground against opponent, Oakland County Sheriff Mike BouchardÂ (R) in a debate at the Detroit Economic Club.Â Those in Detroit who missed the live debate can see it when it airs on Detroit public televisionÂ October 29 at 12:30 p.m. The candidates’ first debate will be rebroadcast on Detroit public television this Sunday, October 22 at 7:00 p.m. A recent editorial in the Detroit Free Press laments the fact that, at present, no further debates have been scheduled, but it could be argued that additional debates wouldn’t make any difference.
Bill Rustem of Public Sector Consultants in Lansing, Michigan said there was no clear winner during the first Stabenow / Bouchard debate. “They both did a reasoned job,” he told Detroit News. Tina Lam’s piece in the Detroit Free PressÂ published just this morning reveals that a group of Michigans interviewed after yesterday’s debate had not been swayed by what they heard.Â
Senator Stabenow defended her record during debates, citing 19 bills passed during her first year in Congress to which she signed on as a sponsor. Sheriff Bouchard accused Stabenow of party-line voting which has amounted to little change. Some might say this contradicts the argument to put another Republican like Bouchard in office, which would only further hinder the passage of bills necessary for change in Michigan. Bouchard is hailed as a Bush Republican by Stabenow, who accused him of being tied to Bush’s failed policies. Bouchard says one area in which he opposes Bush is in offering amnesty to illegal immigrants. Stabenow also opposes offering amnesty to illegal immigrants.
Bouchard used the debate to offer his plan to protect U.S. auto manufacturers from being sued. Because states are passing laws that require lower emissions, Bouchard wants to protect automakers from “frivolous lawsuits” if their cars meet federal emissions guidelines at the time the cars are sold.
Stabenow said she wants to protect jobs in Michigan, as well as the U.S., through the enforcement of U.S. trade deals with other nations like China by a special U.S. Trade Prosecutor. This practice would hold other nations accountable for “stealing” Michigan and U.S. jobs.
In order to gain a majority in the U.S. Senate, Democrats need six seats this November in addition to the seats they currently control. Republicans hope to turn over seats in Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey and Washington which are held by Democrats widening their majority.Â Â (See hereÂ for other poll results.)
The Michigan Senate race is key for both parties as Republicans stand to lose some of the seats they now hold. As reported by the Wall Street Journal:
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â “Public support for Republicans’ control of the U.S. Congress has eroded to its lowest point since the party took over 12 years ago. And with just 19 days until the midterm elections, both President George W. Bush and his party are in worse shape with voters than Democrats were in the October before they lost their House and Senate majorities in 1994.”
According to a Detroit Free Press poll, Senator Stabenow maintained her 13-point lead over Bouchard as of Monday, October 16, 2006.