John James (R)
John James (R)
Debbie Stabenow (D-Incumbent)
Debbie Stabenow (D-Incumbent)

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.

Other Senate candidates include Marcia Squier (Green), George Huffmann III (Taxpayers), & John Howard Wilhelm (Natural Law). Due to limited space, we can’t include candidates polling at less than 15%, but encourage you to check out their websites. To download a printable pdf version of this guide, click here.

Abortion: Mostly ban or mostly legal?

James – Ban,  with an exception for the life of the mother—but not for rape or incest.

Stabenow – Legal. Says has to be a woman’s choice.


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

James – No public statement found.

Stabenow – Yes. A leader in the fight against big money in politics.  Co-sponsored updated DISCLOSE Act. “Would gladly repeal Citizens United.”


Climate Change: Consider climate change a serious crisis? Limit or tax production of greenhouse gases?

James – No public statement found.

Stabenow – Yes. Voted for bill stating “climate change is real & human activity significantly contributes.” Challenged USDA about removing & changing climate change language.


Contraception: Let employers withhold contraceptive coverage from employees if disagree with it morally?

James – No public statement found.

Stabenow – No. Co-sponsored bill to protect healthcare benefits, including contraceptive coverage.


Courts: Support Brett Kavanaugh nomination (before recent allegations)?

James – Yes. He is a strong choice for the Court.

Stabenow – Will review his record but concerned about environment & healthcare stands.


Economy: Support federal spending as a means of promoting economic growth? Support President Trump’s imposition of tariffs on Chinese steel & other products?

James – Torn between adequately funding the military & working toward a balanced budget with less debt. On tariffs, calls Trump “ a master negotiator.”

Stabenow – Supports major infrastructure spending for rural and urban communities.  On tariffs, supports stopping Chinese dumping of certain products but calls for “a more thoughtful, targeted approach.”


Education: Give parents vouchers to send children to private schools with public money?

James – Yes. Let parents “use their tax dollars to send their children to the best schools.”

Stabenow – No. Has long opposed school vouchers. Says create world-class public education.


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

James – No public statement found.

Stabenow – Strongly supports. Voting districts should be drawn fairly, without “strange configurations.”


Environment: Support cutbacks of Environmental Protection Administration?

James – No overall statement found, but a likely yes.

Stabenow – No, especially cuts to bipartisan Great Lakes funding, that she helped reverse.


Financial Regulation: Support cutbacks of Consumer Protection Bureau?

James – No public statement found.

Stabenow – No. Signed letter asking to preserve CPB’s funding & independence.


Gay Marriage: Support gay marriage?

James – Unknown. But says employers shouldn’t be able to fire someone for being gay.

Stabenow – Yes. Many votes against discrimination, even before the Supreme Court ruling.


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

James – No. Second amendment rights “SHALL NOT be infringed [upon]. Enough said!”

Stabenow – Yes. Supports common-sense gun reform: expanded background checks, banning high-capacity magazines & bump stocks.


Healthcare: Support or Repeal Affordable Care Act (ACA), known as Obamacare? Let Planned Parenthood receive public funds for non-abortion healthcare?

James – Repeal. Will work to “remove this monstrosity [ACA].” Also  “supports efforts to defund abortion providers like Planned Parenthood.”

Stabenow – Supports ACA but with improvements. Defunding Planned Parenthood would keep countless women who rely on Medicaid from getting healthcare. They’re often the only safety net alternative.


Immigration: Support DACA, letting “Dreamers” who arrived illegally as children, then grew up in the US, achieve legal status if meet certain conditions?

James – No public statement found. But opposes path to citizenship for America’s 11 million illegal immigrants. “We must end illegal immigration” & secure the border.

Stabenow – Yes. Voted for original 2007 DACA bill that failed to pass. Advocating for new DACA bill. Has supported more money for border funding, mixed votes on path to citizenship.


Iran: Withdraw from treaty to limit Iran’s nuclear capability & lift some sanctions?

James – Yes. It was a fatally flawed deal.

Stabenow – No. “Now, our allies don’t know if they can trust our word.”


Marijuana: Support medical & recreational decriminalization? Legalization is on the ballot as Measure 1.

James – Unknown view of medical marijuana use. Opposes legalization for recreational use.

Stabenow – Yes. “Time to decriminalize medical and recreational marijuana.


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

James – Critical of increasing to $15/hr, but unclear if he’d support a smaller increase.

Stabenow – Has supported raising, but no statement on current proposal to raise to $15/hr.


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

James – Unknown.

Stabenow – Yes. FCC decision to overturn net neutrality is “terrible.”


President Trump: Response to President Trump’s actions & policies? Percentage of key votes  supporting Trump’s positions while in office?

James – Supports. “President Trump is keeping his promises to the American people.” Percentage not applicable, as background is in business, not as elected official.

Stabenow – Opposed some executive orders: Farm Bill & drilling in Great Lakes. Disturbed by Trump’s “bromance” with Putin. Voted 33% with Trump as of 09/25/18.


Renewable Energy: Support government subsidies for renewable energy?

James – No public statement found.

Stabenow – Yes. Helps create jobs and grow economy.


Student Debt & Financial Aid: Refinance student loans at lower rates, paid for by more tax on high earners (Elizabeth Warren proposal)? Increase federal aid, like Pell Grants?

James – Unknown. Would “have to take a more detailed look” at student loan forgiveness before commenting.

Stabenow – Yes. Author of Reducing Educational Debt Act addressing student loan refinancing. Voted to raise number of Pell Grants & maximum amount per grant. Voted to make 2 years of community college free.


Taxes: Support President Trump’s tax cuts?

James – Yes. Says they encourage companies “to do business right here in America.”

Stabenow – No. Don’t cut taxes for the wealthy at the expense of middle-class families.


Voting Rights: Support stricter voting rules like photo-ID requirements?

James – No public statement found.

Stabenow – No. Place undue burden on voters and haven’t increased voting integrity.