A look back at presidential candidate visits to the Great Lakes state
Michiganders (or Michiganians) will head to the polls next Tuesday, March 10, to select their preferred nominee for president in the state's primary election. Both Democratic and Republican candidates have had boots on the ground over the course of their campaigns vying for voters across the country. Here's a look at some of the current candidates' previous visits to Michigan.
Former Vice President Joe Biden has made a few visits to Michigan during his campaign for Democratic nominee, including last summer at the NAACP national convention where he took part in a voter forum moderated by White House correspondent April Ryan. As we previously reported, Biden defended his now-controversial vote for the 1994 Crime Bill, calling it a genuine effort to confront a “gigantic epidemic of violence in America, particularly in African American communities.” He also pointed out that President Barack Obama vetted him as his running mate, and said “I doubt he would have picked me if this accusation about my being wrong on civil rights is correct.” Biden’s most recent visit to the state was during last fall’s Democratic debate at the Fox Theater in Detroit.
U.S. Senator and presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders (D-VT) has made several stops in the Great Lakes State during his presidential campaign. Sanders drew a crowd of hundreds at Macomb Community College in April of 2019. He also joined the UAW picket line outside General Motors' Detroit-Hamtramck assembly plant last September. Sanders’ most recent visit to Michigan was last October, where he rallied supporters inside Detroit’s Cass Tech High School. During that rally, Sanders briefly paid tribute to longtime Detroit Congressman John Conyers. News of Conyers’ death came shortly before the rally began. “John was a champion for civil rights,” said Sanders, noting that Conyers played a pivotal role in creating a national holiday for Dr. Martin Luther King Junior.
Former Massachusetts Governor Bill Weld was the sole Republican to take the stage at the NAACP national convention in Detroit last summer, where he called President Donald Trump a “raging racist.” “Now the Republican Party in Washington, the national Republican party have a choice. A lot of them like to think it’s a political choice. But it’s not a political choice, it’s a moral choice,” said Weld, who at the time also said he thought the Mueller report justified an impeachment inquiry. “Unless the Republican Party expressly rejects Donald Trump, they will be known as the racist party in America.”
Republican President Donald Trump has made two Michigan stops during his campaign for reelection. In March of last year, Trump revved up his supporters in Grand Rapids on issues ranging from the Mueller investigation, to health care, to immigration. “You were with me,” Trump told the Grand Rapids crowd, referring to the 2016 election. “I won’t forget it and you will be very proud, looking back, that you did it. Thank you.” Trump took the stage in Michigan again last December in Battle Creek as the U.S. House was voting to impeach him.
Democratic presidential candidate Tulsi Gabbard hasn’t made any public campaign visits in Michigan as of yet during her campaign. But according to Gabbard’s campaign website, she is scheduled to host a town hall in Detroit this week on Super Tuesday – one of the most important days of the primary election.
Candidates who have since dropped out since the publication of this post:
U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) has held public appearances in Michigan, including rallies in Detroit and Lansing and a convention hosted by the NAACP. Warren also joined striking UAW workers on the picket line last fall. During that visit, Warren said she would fight for union workers even after the strike ended. She said it’s important for whomever sits in the White House to be on the same side as the people fighting for workers’ rights. “Unions built America's middle class and unions will rebuild America's middle class,” she said.
Former New York City Mayor and Democratic candidate Mike Bloomberg has already spent millions on Michigan TV ads, and is investing heavily to expand his campaign’s presence here and in other crucial swing states. Bloomberg’s visit to Detroit in early February was his second stop in Michigan since launching his campaign last fall. As previously reported by Michigan Radio’s Sarah Cwiek, the multi-billionaire’s late-start, heavily self-financed campaign is took an unorthodox approach by largely skipping the early-voting states. “I’m spending a lot of time in the swing states that will decide this election,” Bloomberg said. “Like Pennsylvania and Wisconsin and Florida and North Carolina and, yes, Michigan.”