Bill Schuette (R)
Bill Schuette (R)
Gretchen Whitmer (D)
Gretchen Whitmer (D)

Created by the Campus Election Engagement Project, a nonpartisan effort to help college and university administrators, faculty, and student leaders engage their schools in the election. Key sites consulted included,,,, and public candidate statements. For guides to local races, see from the League of Women Voters and For more detailed information visit their pages.

Visit and to volunteer. Other gubernatorial candidates include Keith Butkovich (Natural Law), Bill Gelineau (L), Jennifer Kurland (G), and Todd Schleiger (U.S. Taxpayers).  Due to limited space, we can’t include their responses, but encourage you to check out their websites. To download a printable pdf version of this guide, click here.


Abortion: Ban or legal? Support Michigan’s 1931 pre-Roe law that criminalizes abortion?

Schuette – Ban, except for incest, rape, & life of the mother. Enforce state prohibitions.

Whitmer – Legal. End 24-hour waiting period & pre-Roe ban, protect in state law.


Campaign Finance: Require political ads to disclose largest funders? Support Citizens United decision, allowing unlimited political donations from corporations & unions?

Schuette – Unknown on limiting campaign spending or donations. Supports candidates releasing tax returns.  Backed Americans for Prosperity not disclosing donors for their political ads.

Whitmer – As of 2004 supported disclosure of ad sponsors. Reverse “Citizens United on steroids legislation” that lets Super PACS raise and spend unlimited amounts of money in Michigan.”


Climate Change: Consider climate change a critical threat? Limit creation of greenhouse gases?  Participate in U.S. Climate Alliance, a coalition of states committed to climate change action?

Schuette – No. Joined letter arguing that science wasn’t settled, so Exxon wasn’t lying about climate change. Opposed “burdensome” EPA regulations and Obama Clean Power Plan.

Whitmer – Yes. Opposed Trump withdrawal from Paris Climate Accord. Called on Gov Snyder to join U.S. Climate Alliance. Create state Office of Climate Change.


Contraception: Allow employers to withhold contraceptive coverage from employees if disagree with it morally? Stance on related family planning funding?

Schuette – Yes. Led lawsuit opposing employer mandate to provide contraceptive coverage. Views as attack on religious liberty—and about abortion-inducing drugs, not birth control.

Whitmer – No.  “We’ve seen attack after attack” on reproductive healthcare. Require insurance companies to cover contraceptives. Restore low-income family planning funds.


Crime:  Prosecute all 17-year-olds as adults & house with adult criminals?

Schuette – Yes.

Whitmer – Unknown. Prioritize rehabilitation efforts for first-time offenders.


Courts: Support President Trump’s choice of Brett Kavanaugh for Supreme Court? (before current allegations)

Schuette – Yes. “A rule-of-law, experienced judge [who] respects the Constitution.”

Whitmer – No. Jeopardizes Roe v Wade, healthcare, women’s rights, marriage equality, and labor rights.


Economy: Support Trump’s imposition of tariffs on Chinese steel and other products?

Schuette – Yes. Believes Trump has his own “aggressive style” as he works to rebalance trade relationships. “In the end, I think it will be a good deal.”

Whitmer – No. Renegotiate trade deals but fears longlasting negative consequences from new tariffs & chaos caused by Trump’s “disorderly rollout.”


Education: Increase funding for K-12 education? 

Schuette – No statements found on overall funding.  Focus on literacy. “Grade schools on an A-F scale, giving schools performance-based grants as incentives.”

Whitmer – Yes. Expand full-day universal pre-K. More resources for hard-to-educate children. Ensure School Aid Fund money goes to K-12 education, close tax loopholes that erode funding.


Education: Support vouchers to send children to private schools with public money. Expand charter schools?

Schuette – Yes. Use vouchers to send children to any participating school (public, private, religious). Expand charters.

Whitmer – No. Opposes vouchers. Stronger oversight of charters. “Stop the dismantling of public education.”


Education: Increase state funding for higher education?

Schuette – Unclear. Support more trade & vocational offerings. The proposed tax cut would likely reduce general fund, so may risk higher education funding.

Whitmer – Yes. Apportion $100 million to give qualifying students 2 years of debt-free post-secondary education, whether in vocational schools or colleges.


Elections: Support Michigan’s redistricting ballot initiative 2 to address charges of partisan gerrymandering?

Schuette – Opposes initiative. Asked MI Supreme Court to reject for creating “a fourth branch of government.”

Whitmer – Yes. “Gerrymandering continues to disenfranchise voters in Michigan.” Don’t let partisan legislators draw political boundaries.


Gay Marriage: Support gay marriage?

Schuette – No. Defended voter-enacted marriage ban as “a simple recognition that biology matters.” But will respect Supreme Court decision allowing it.

Whitmer – Yes. Introduced 2013 bill to repeal Michigan’s same-sex marriage ban, two years before Supreme Court legalized gay marriage.


Governing: Governor can appoint emergency managers for cities without consent?

Schuette – Unclear. Defended law against federal lawsuit.

Whitmer – No. Repeal Emergency Manager Law.


Gun Control: Support more restrictive gun control legislation? Restrict semi-automatic weapons?

Schuette – No. Repeal existing state restrictions.  Challenged restrictions on semi-automatic weapons.  NRA 100% rating.

Whitmer – Yes. Universal background checks on gun purchases and ban assault-style weapons.  NRA 7% rating.


Healthcare: Support or Repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA)? Accept Medicaid expansion to subsidize low-income participants?  Require people to work to receive Medicaid?

Schuette – Repeal ACA. Replace with private insurance. “ACA violated the very first principal of medicine: Do no harm.” Has called to cut state’s Medicaid expansion, now says settled law. Calls work requirements “the welfare reform of the 21st century.”

Whitmer – Supports ACA. Held “Save Healthcare” rallies and led state Senate negotiations for Medicaid expansion. Opposes work requirements, which remove coverage  “when we should be expanding.”


Healthcare: Allow Planned Parenthood public funds for non-abortion health care?

Schuette – No. Joined lawsuit to prohibit Planned Parenthood from receiving funding.

Whitmer – Yes. Restore funding so can provide screenings and checkups, contraception, and maternity care.


Immigration: Support DREAM Act (DACA) recipients who arrived illegally as children, to achieve legal status under certain conditions?

Schuette – Declined to comment during campaign, but joined 2016 lawsuit to block DACA expansion.

Whitmer – Yes. Supports clean DREAM Act that protects Dreamers from deportation & offers a path to citizenship.


Labor: Right-to-work law, preventing unions mandating dues for workers they represent?

Schuette – Yes. A “great victory.” “I was the right-to-work Attorney General.”

Whitmer – No. Repeal right-to-work law.


Marijuana: Support or oppose MI legalization initiative, Proposal 1?

Schuette – Concerned legalization will increase youth access, but will respect voters’ will. Led campaign against medical marijuana in 2008 but now supports with proper controls.

Whitmer – Supports legalization for adult recreational use & expungement & exoneration of cannabis-related criminal histories. Endorsed 2008 marijuana initiative.


Minimum Wage: Raise the minimum wage from the current $7.25/hr?

Schuette – Unknown. Would exclude workers on small farms. Opposes prevailing wage law & expanded overtime protection.

Whitmer – Yes. Increase to $15/hour over three years.


Net Neutrality: Require internet providers to provide all users equal access?

Schuette – Unknown.

Whitmer – Yes. Expand broadband. Implement net neutrality through Executive Order.


Renewable Energy: Government support for renewable energy?

Schuette – No. Opposed 2012 initiative to require 25% of electricity production from renewables by 2025.

Whitmer – Yes. Strong support for renewables.


Taxes: Support President Trump’s tax cuts? Cut Michigan taxes?

Schuette – Yes. “I will cut taxes like @POTUS did nationally and make Michigan a growth state.” Reduce MI taxes from 4.25% to 3.9%.

Whitmer – No. Trump cuts help millionaires & billionaires, not families just trying to get by.” Repeal retirement tax. Increase state user fees to pay for infrastructure.


Voting Rights: Support stricter or broader voting and registration rules?

Schuette – Stricter. Supported end to straight-ticket voting.

Whitmer – Opposes strict voter ID laws, supports straight-ticket, automatic registration, letting anyone vote absentee.