Jocelyn Benson, the Democrat candidate for secretary of state, issued a letter Monday challenging her Republican opponent Ruth Johnson to a series of three public debates in the remaining nine weeks until the Nov. 2 election.
Benson, a Wayne State University law professor, was formally nominated Sunday at the Democratic Party state convention in Detroit.
Johnson, the Oakland County clerk, was nominated by Republicans Saturday at their state convention in East Lansing from among five candidates.
In her letter, Benson asked Johnson to respond no later than Wednesday to her debate challenge.
"I believe it is vital that Michigan citizens have a clear understanding of the immense importance of this office and the urgent reforms that are needed when they make their choice on Nov. 2," Benson wrote. "I am certain you will welcome this opportunity to discuss the many vital issues facing Michigan's next secretary of state and I look forward to hearing from you."
Johnson said Monday she hadn't seen Benson's letter yet but that her campaign staff will work with Benson's to set up dates and times for debates as soon as the letter is received.
"I look forward to debating Professor Benson, I have done so twice already," she said.
The office of secretary of state is open this year because Secretary of State Terri Lynn Land, a Republican, cannot seek re-election because of term limits.
Besides selecting a new secretary of state in November, voters will also pick a governor, lieutenant governor, attorney general, members of Congress, members of the state House and Senate, county commissioners, and city, village and township officers.
Contact staff writer Charles Crumm at 248-745-4649, firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @crummc.