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Republican, Democratic Gubernatorial Candidates Clash Over Ethics, Racism

Abdul El-Sayed, Patrick Colbeck
pictures from campaign websites
Left: Abdul El-Sayed (D), Right: Patrick Colbeck (R)

The four Republicans and three Democrats running for governor appeared together Thursday for the first time. Arguments about ethics and racism broke out at the forum.

The biggest flashpoint came when Republican state Senator Patrick Colbeck said one of the Democrats has connections to Muslim terrorist groups.

Abdul El-Sayed fired back that other Republicans running should join him in condemning the allegation.

“And what I have not heard is the Republicans on this panel decisively and swiftly call out this kind of Islamophobia, this kind of racism," said El-Sayed.

For his part, Colbeck doubled down.

“I’m not going to sit there and be silent when there’s a genuine concern out there in our society that we need to be addressing, and just because nobody wants to talk about it doesn’t mean we shouldn’t talk about it," said Sen. Colbeck.

The Michigan Republican Party has condemned Colbeck’s allegations.

The event was the annual Michigan Press Association convention of reporters, editors, and publishers. 

Rick Pluta is Senior Capitol Correspondent for the Michigan Public Radio Network. He has been covering Michigan’s Capitol, government, and politics since 1987. His journalism background includes stints with UPI, The Elizabeth (NJ) Daily Journal, The (Pontiac, MI) Oakland Press, and WJR. He is also a lifelong public radio listener.
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