The Republican candidates for U.S. Senate have agreed to at least one debate, their campaigns say. 

Businessmen John James of Farmington Hills and Sandy Pensler of Grosse Pointe are in a contest to see who will take on incumbent Democratic Sen. Debbie Stabenow of Lansing in November.

James and Pensler will meet at 8 a.m. July 6 at WKAR studio in Lansing, where veteran Capitol reporter and columnist Tim Skubick will moderate.

The Republican candidates have been getting increasingly chippy, attacking each other on issues from business credentials to who is the true conservative.

The announcement of the July 6 debate was no different. 

"Now the only question is, will John James show or will he continue to hide his phony record?" Pensler tweeted Tuesday.

James focused on his mission of seeking more debates.

"Hoping we'll see confirmation for all three debates so that folks from across the state can hear from the candidates," he tweeted Wednesday. "We are the ONLY conservative in this race and we WILL defeat Sen. Debbie @Stabenow in the fall." 

Ballot challenge dismissed

The Michigan Court of Appeals on Wednesday upheld a trial court decision dismissing a ballot challenge to state Rep. Sylvia Santana of Detroit, who is running for the state Senate. 

Santana's attorney, Melvin Butch Hollowell, said the challenger, Michael G. Bsharah, alleged deficiencies in Santana's required affidavit of identity related to an outstanding balance on a campaign account. 

Santana paid off the balance "immediately" when the candidate found it existed, Hollowell said. 

Bsharah had sought an investigation into the affidavit of identity by the Wayne County clerk, but Santana's attorneys argued that clerks don't have that authority under state law. The court agreed, Hollowell said. 

Santana is running to represent Michigan's 3rd District in the state Senate.

Mitchell for school choice 

U.S. Rep. Paul Mitchell, R-Dryden, is joining Sen. Tim Scott, R-South Carolina, and Rep. Luke Messer, R-Indiana, as a co-chair of the Congressional School Choice Caucus.

“Parents should have the right to choose which educational model works best for their children," Mitchell said in a statement. "The needs of individual families and children are unique, and they should have increased access to schools that have adapted to best serve them.”

Messer, who founded the caucus in 2014, said he knows that Mitchell "will continue fighting to expand education options for all children in the future.”

The caucus has 34 House and Senate members and promotes expanded choice for families.

Contributor: Melissa Nann Burke

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