Prepare to Vote: Redistricting and the Candidates for Michigan Governor [VIDEO, TRANSCRIPTS]


Is the Voters Not Politicians effort to change how Michigan handles redistricting YOUR issue — whether you’re for or against it?  Does what candidates say about gerrymandering — and whether it’s a problem —  help determine your vote in the August primary and November general elections?
WDET and our partners in the Detroit Journalism Cooperative recently interviewed most of the Republican and Democratic candidates for governor of Michigan.
Scroll down for videos and transcripts.

Other WDET Redistricting Conversations:

Policy Meets the People: Introducing the Issue of Gerrymandering
Voters Not Politicians: The Pros [TRANSCRIPT]
Voters Not Politicians: The Cons [TRANSCRIPT]
MichMash: Here’s How You Can Influence the Drawing of District Lines in Michigan
LIVE STREAM: Policy Meets the People - The Redistricting Issue Special [VIDEO]

The DJC reporters asked the candidates whether they support the Voters Not Politicians ballot proposal. Here’s how they answered:


Republican Candidates

Brian Calley


Brian Calley OPPOSES the ballot initiative. “I appreciate the concerns. But everybody has politics. No matter who is drawing the lines, everybody has politics,” he said. “Somebody who has to face voters, I just think that is a better option in terms of drawing the lines. There are also rules in place in Michigan that are very objective.”

Read Calley’s Full Answer

Patrick Colbeck


Patrick Colbeck OPPOSES the ballot initiative. “Everybody needs to recognize that that proposal is not about the voters. It is about gerrymandering, and it’s about the Democrats trying to gerrymander the election process,” he said. “I think that the system is working just fine right now.”

Read Colbeck’s Full Answer

Jim Hines


Jim Hines OPPOSES the ballot initiative. “What’s being proposed is a commission with independent individuals making that decision apart from the legislature, apart for the governor, through the secretary of state. I don’t believe that that’s appropriate,” he said.

Read Hines’s Full Answer

Bill schuette

Bill Schuette declined the Detroit Journalism Cooperative’s request for a video interview, citing scheduling interviews.

Click HERE to learn more about him and WDET’s coverage of his campaign. 

He OPPOSES the ballot initiative.

Democratic Candidates

Abdul El-Sayed


Abdul El-Sayed SUPPORTS the ballot initiative. ”Just look at its enemies. These are all people that have benefitted from a system that put corporations over every day people,” he said. “It’s time for us to break this system that has left us with one of the most unequal distributions of government in the country, frankly.”

Read El-Sayed’s Full Answer

Shri Thanedar


Shri Thanedar SUPPORTS the initiative. “It’s a great initiative. I expect it to pass. And as Governor, I look forward to redistricting and restoring Democratic practices back in Michigan,” he said.

Read Thanedar’s Full Answer

Gretchen Whitmer


Gretchen Whitmer SUPPORTS the ballot initiative. “When I was in the legislature, I saw every day the disservice that this partisan redistricting has,” she said. “Every voice needs to be respected and that’s why we’ve got to take redistricting away from the legislature. I would say that if it was Democratic control.”

Read Whitmer’s Full Answer

Other Issues

Find out what the 2018 Michigan gubernatorial candidates think about transit, education and marijuana.


Image credit: Public

This post is a part of Detroit Journalism Cooperative.

The DJC is a partnership of six media outlets focused on telling critical stories of Detroit and creating engagement opportunities on-air, online and in the community. View the partners work at

Support for this project comes from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, Renaissance Journalism’s Michigan Reporting Initiative and the Ford Foundation.



This post is a part of 2018 Elections in Michigan.

On November 6, Michigan voters will decide who will be the state's new governor, attorney general and secretary of state. Some state House and Senate seats are up for grabs, and numerous initiatives are expected on ballots.

WDET is committed to providing honest, fair, inclusive coverage of Michigan's 2018 elections. Join us now and all the way to the voting booth to be an informed voter.


About the Author

Sandra Svoboda

Special Assignments Manager

Recovering Bankruptcy Reporter/Blogger looking forward to chronicling regional revitalization on-air, digitally and through community engagement.   Follow @WDETSandra

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