Lansing — Attorney General Bill Schuette is the only GOP gubernatorial candidate who will not be participating in a planned series of town hall meetings hosted by primary opponent Lt. Gov. Brian Calley.
Schuette won’t be taking part at this time because “Bill believes they should be at work trying to cut taxes,” campaign spokeswoman Katie Hills said Monday afternoon.
Hills said the attorney general is “looking forward to things like town halls at a later time.”
Schuette’s snub marks the latest turn in a continuing feud between Calley and the Attorney General, the two most high-profile Republican candidates vying to replace term-limited Gov. Rick Snyder.
Two other Republican primary candidates -- state Sen. Patrick Colbeck of Canton Township and Saginaw obstetrician Jim Hines -- will participate in the Calley town halls, their campaign spokesmen confirmed.
Details about when and where the events would take place during the next six weeks have not yet been released. But they’re meant to serve as an opportunity for primary voters to hear the candidates talk about their political plans for Michigan outside of a traditional debate setting.
“The next state election will determine whether Michigan continues its comeback or goes in a different direction, so Michigan Republican primary voters deserve the opportunity to ask all the GOP candidates for governor questions about their visions for the future of our state,” Calley said in a statement.
Calley campaign spokesman Mike Schrimpf said the town halls are in addition to future traditional debates.
Hills said Schuette, as a candidate, wants to stay focused on how to cut taxes for Michigan residents and will take part in debates and town halls in the future.
Stu Sandler, who heads a pro-Schuette super PAC, criticized Calley in a Monday tweet.
“No one showed up for Calley town halls in 2017. No one will show up for these,” Sandler said. “Another gimmick to go along with Calley's other empty town halls and failed ballot initiatives.”
Potential candidates still have more than three months to file the required number of signatures and other information to run for partisan elected offices by April 24. The primary is scheduled for Aug. 7.
Colbeck said in a statement that the town halls “are a great way to share” his solutions to the state’s current political problems “and outline the differences in the choices voters have in this election.”
“As Republican candidates, we all believe that conservative leadership in the governor's office is paramount to Michigan's future prosperity and our campaign is happy to coordinate with our primary opponents to show that to the voters,” Colbeck said.