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Libertarian candidates for governor to debate ahead of primary

graffiti saying "vote"
Flickr user H2Woah!

For the first time in Michigan history, Libertarian candidates for governor will be on the August primary ballot. That’s because the party got enough Michigan votes in the 2016 election to put the party on the primary ballot.

Libertarian Party of West Michigan Vice Chair, Jamie Lewis, said getting the party on the primary ballot helps people know early on that they have options besides Republicans and Democrats.

“It just gives the party an extra level of credibility that it’s not just another minor party running, that it’s actually one of your main choices for November,” Lewis said.

Lewis said people usually don’t know there are Libertarian candidates until just before the general election – and then it’s too late. 


“So people would go, well I’ve already made up my mind, and now who’s this person?” Lewis explained. “Now I’ve gotta look into someone else, I’ve already decided on someone.”         

One candidate is Bill Gelineau. His platform includes allowing for assisted suicide, reducing the state’s spending cap, and legalizing marijuana. The other candidate, John Tatar’s, major issues include ending gerrymandering, creating a part-time Legislature, and getting rid of smart meters.

Bill Hall is the Libertarian Party of Michigan chair. He said the debate might seem different to some because the candidates will treat each other with respect, “and not be name-calling like some of the Republican and Democratic candidates have done.”

The Libertarian debate starts at 7 p.m. Wednesday at the Seidman College of Business - Grand Valley State University Downtown Campus. It will likely be the last face-to-face debate between the candidates.

Before becoming the newest Capitol reporter for the Michigan Public Radio Network, Cheyna Roth was an attorney. She spent her days fighting it out in court as an assistant prosecuting attorney for Ionia County. Eventually, Cheyna took her investigative and interview skills and moved on to journalism. She got her masters at Michigan State University and was a documentary filmmaker, podcaster, and freelance writer before finding her home with NPR. Very soon after joining MPRN, Cheyna started covering the 2016 presidential election, chasing after Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, and all their surrogates as they duked it out for Michigan. Cheyna also focuses on the Legislature and criminal justice issues for MPRN. Cheyna is obsessively curious, a passionate storyteller, and an occasional backpacker. Follow her on Twitter at @Cheyna_R
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