HOWELL, Mich. (WLNS) – Eight candidates took to the stage in Howell tonight, going head to head on some hot topics.

It was all part of the first Michigan GOP gubernatorial debate. There was a wide variety of topics discussed.

Ranging from abortion to critical race theory.

On some issues, candidates had similar answers but in others there was division.

The first topic was centered around abortion. All of the candidates say they are pro-life and many mention there should be certain exceptions to abortions, such as rape or incest.

Another question was on education and how candidates would help students get back on track after the pandemic.

Candidates were also asked if they thought the COVID-19 worked. Many of them said it didn’t

After the August 2 primary, the slate of eight candidates will narrow to one. That candidate will advance to challenge democratic governor Gretchen Whitmer in November.

Someone not in attendance?

Former Detroit Police Chief James Craig. Hours before the debate, his campaign announced he had a prior speaking engagement and couldn’t make it but that Craig is eager for upcoming debates.

The next debate is scheduled for June 2 and is hosted by the Michigan Republican Party.

Do you want to hear how each candidate responded? Check out the video player above for the full story.