Whitmer and Schuette

This combination of file photos shows Michigan gubernatorial candidates in the November election from left, Democrat Gretchen Whitmer and her Republican challenger Bill Schuette. . (AP Photo/File)

Michigan Gubernatorial Debate: Candidates Adress Schuette Video, Gilchrist Property

"This is a planned parenthood, Democratic hitjob on me," Schuette said in reference to the video.

October 12, 2018 - 7:42 pm

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WWJ) -- With the 2018 Michigan gubernatorial election less than a month away, the two candidates took to the debate stage Friday night at WOOD TV in Grand Rapids.

Republican candidate Bill Schuette and Democrat Gretchen Whitmer were both quick to address recent revelations of potential scandals hitting their campaigns.

An old video surfaced Thursday showing then-congressman Schuette in the 1980s speaking to a woman, presumably a TV news reporter or producer, telling her "I will do anything you want."

The video shows him being asked to move closer to a lamp. He responds by saying, "I will do anything you want. Some things I may not let you run the camera on."

Schuette's tone and demeanor in the video was construed to be loaded -- some have called it "creepy" -- and he has received heat in the hours since it surfaced.

Moderator Rick Albin, a reporter for WOOD TV, opened the debate by asking each candidate three questions about the video -- when they first became aware about the video, how they first became aware, and what impact it has on the race.

"This is a planned parenthood, Democratic hitjob on me," Schuette said.

He called the video "some drastically edited video from 30 years ago."

Whitmer, meanwhile, said she saw the video a couple days ago, presumably before it was made public and called it "bizarre."

"I don’t care about that video," Whitmer said. "I care about getting to the issues the people of this state care about."

Turning the question into a time to address pressing statewide issues, Whitmer said she wants to "build coalitions, not tear down one another."

Schuette took the liberty of spinning the negativity towards him and addressing a newer issue that also came to light this week concerning Whitmer's running mate Garlin Gilchrist.

It was reported Friday that Gilchrist is at risk of losing a fire-damaged building he bought from the Detroit Land Bank Authority if he doesn't clean up the property by Monday. 

Gilchrist purchased the North-End neighborhood duplex for less than $30,000 in 2016 with aspirations of turning it into apartments. Typically, buyers must repair properties within six months of purchase or the city will reclaim the land, but since Gilchrist's property has eight units, he was given more time. 

Friday it was announced that he has only until Monday to get the property up to par with the land bank's standards.

The property has been called "an eyesore" in the neighborhood, due to the neglected structure, broken windows and materials in the yard.

Schuette addressed the matter earlier in the day Friday, accusing Gilchrist of "slumlord-like behavior."

Near the end of his response to the debate question about the old video, Schuette again addressed Gilchrist's property issues, saying he's more concerned about that.

“It’s shameful that he hasn’t taken care of his property better," he said.

The candidates went on to discuss a number of statewide issues, including healthcare, education and roads.

Schuette and Whitmer will debate one more time before the election, meeting in Detroit on Oct. 24.