Of the five candidates running for the Republican nomination for Governor, you are the only one who can make the argument about having the business experience necessary to help fix Michigan’s economy.

Yet you’ve decided to skip the 2 remaining televised debates sponsored by the Michigan Republican Party.

I urge you to reconsider.

Yes, your concern is valid that debates are often dominated by “sound-bite fireworks”, as you told Frank Beckman on WJR last week. Yes, certain aspects of running for public office are unsavory. Yes, there will likely be mud-slinging. And yes, there are aspects of made-for-TV debates that don’t really lead to candidates answering questions fully and with intellectual honesty. But all candidates are subject to the same rules, and you’ve got plenty of time to prepare and access to the best resources and consultants. Plus, let’s be brutally honest, you’re flat-out smarter than any of the other guys running.

Rick, your absence eliminates the opportunity for voters to see you in a live, spontaneous setting. Skipping the events plays up to the argument that you’re a wealthy man running a “packaged” campaign through targeted media buys funded primarily with personal funds. Why fuel that argument with the deafening noise of an empty podium?

From everything I’ve read, Rick, you’re the right guy for the job. And assuming you win, you’ll have to do a lot of things as Governor that you don’t really want to do. You’ll have to play politics, and yes, you’ll probably have to get better at speaking in sound bites. But above all else, you’re going to have to communicate with Michiganders and instill confidence that the state is “Under New Management”.

Rick, you’re campaigning to be the Chief Executive Officer of the 8th largest state in the United States. The people of the State of Michigan deserve the opportunity to gauge your performance in a head-to-head discussion with other guys who want the job.

Thank you for your consideration.

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