Top Six U.S. Senate Candidates from Michigan Will Debate One Another at Mackinac Policy Conference

Sandy Baruah, President and CEO of the Detroit Regional Chamber, announced today that the Mackinac Policy Conference later this month will play host to a combined debate between the top three Democrat and Republican candidates for the soon-to-be-vacant U.S. Senate seat in Michigan.

Michigan Democratic Sen. Debbie Stabenow announced in January 2023 that she will retire at the end of her term, opening up her seat for this year’s election. She was first elected to the chamber in 2000 and is a member of Democratic leadership at the national level, but said she will look to hand power to younger lawmakers while she returns to private life.

Invitations went out to Democratic candidates Nasser Beydoun, Hill Harper, and U.S. Rep. Elissa Slotkin, and Republican candidates Former U.S. Rep. Justin Amash, Sandy Pensler, and Former U.S. Rep. Mike Rogers.

“We are doing this very similar to how we did the gubernatorial debate in 2018. We’re going to take the top three polling candidates in each party and that will provide our invite list,” Baruah said.

The research and polling firm Glengariff Group conducted a statewide poll to determine the candidates that the Chamber invited to take part in the debate. According to the most recent polling numbers by Emerson College Polling from May 1, Slotkin is the leading candidate amongst Democrats and Rogers is the leading candidate among Republicans. Overall, Slotkin holds a two-percentage-point lead over Rogers in head-to-head polling.

The debate will be moderated by WDIV anchor Devin Scillian and political reporter Rick Albin of Wood TV8 in Grand Rapids.

“The format will allow both parties, obviously, to be on the stage at the same time. We think this is a unique format that really pushes candidates to a broad audience as opposed to just speaking to their base folks, so it does create a different dynamic and we’re excited about that.”

Held at the historic Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island from Tuesday, May 28, to Friday, May 31, 2024, the event will bring nationally recognized speakers and statewide thought leaders to the island to discuss key issues facing the state.

The 2024 Conference Chair Suzanne Shank, President, CEO, and Co-founder of Siebert Williams Shank & Co., will lead an advisory committee of Michigan-based CEOs and Chamber leadership to ensure the agenda tackles critical issues under the theme of “Bridging the Future Together.”

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