Michigan Station Postpones Debates. Can’t Get Candidates to Appear

By Kevin Eck 

Grand Rapids NBC affiliate WOOD has been forced to put off two planned televised debates after some of the candidates didn’t agree to them.

WOOD TV8 offered to host two televised debates in September that would have included the Republican and Democrat candidates for Michigan governor and U.S. Senate. In both cases, the Democrat in the race accepted the invitation: Mark Schauer in the gubernatorial race and U.S. Rep. Gary Peters in the Senate race.


The campaigns for Gov. Rick Snyder and U.S. Senate candidate Terri Lynn Land, both Republicans, never agreed to debate. It forced WOOD TV8 to postpone both events.

24 Hour News 8 News Director Rebecca Sapakie issued the following statement:

“WOOD TV8 is committed to bringing the voters of West Michigan the best coverage of Decision 2014. We believe debates are an important part of that  process. We remain hopeful that both sides of the governor and U.S. Senate races will come together and allow us to offer voters a real, televised, live debate. Our viewers have important choices ahead and they deserve the opportunity to compare candidates’ views on critical issues facing our state and country.”

The Peters campaign said Tuesday that its debate negotiator, former Lt. Gov. John Cherry, would reach out to WOOD TV8 and the Land campaign in hopes of reaching an agreement on debates.

As for the debates between the gubernatorial candidates when 24 Hour News 8 Political Reporter Rick Albin last spoke to Snyder, the governor indicated that a joint appearance on the east side of the state, not in prime time, was the only debate invitation he had accepted. He said even that could not be worked out between his campaign and the Schauer camp.

The WOOD TV8 debate for the U.S. Senate candidates was originally scheduled for Sept. 8. The governor’s debate was being planned for Sept. 10.