Final frenzied week of election proves Michigan is a battleground

As Michigan's status as a battleground state grows, Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton announced she will return to Detroit on Friday to make sure voters make it to the polls on Nov. 8.

Specifics of her visit aren't available yet, but Clinton plans to lay out her plan for the economy and urge people to get out the vote at a rally in a place where she needs to do well.

Her visit follows rallies held by her opponent, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, in Grand Rapids and Warren on Monday, and news that three of his children — Donald Jr., Ivanka and Eric Trump — as well as vice presidential candidate Mike Pence also are coming to the Mitten this week. Clinton's Democratic primary challenger-turned-ally, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, also is headed to Michigan in the final week of the campaign.

Friday's rally will be Clinton's third visit to Michigan since the Democratic National Convention in July. She was last in the state on Oct. 10 for a rally at Wayne State University, but surrogates, including her husband, former President Bill Clinton, daughter Chelsea Clinton, vice presidential candidate Tim Kaine and his wife, Anne Holton, and Sanders have returned to Michigan to campaign for Clinton again and again.

The campaign stop also comes at a time when recent polls in Michigan have shown Clinton with a lead over Trump ranging from 4 to 8 points. But that lead has been shrinking from 11 points in early October as WikiLeaks e-mails stolen from Clinton campaign staffers by hackers have been released every day, and FBI Director James Comey's announcement on Friday that his organization will be looking at more e-mails found on a computer owned by former U.S. Rep. Anthony Weiner of New York, the estranged husband of top Clinton aide Huma Abedin. Weiner is under investigation for sexting an underage teen.

Trump said Monday in Warren that he believes he's running even with Clinton in Michigan, although no recent polls have borne that out. And while Clinton has consistently done very well with minority voters in polls, she needs a big turnout among that group to ensure a victory in the state.

The final, frenzied week of campaigning will feature: Donald Trump Jr. at a 12:15 p.m. event at Michigan State University and a 3:30 p.m. campaign stop at Grand Valley State University today; also today, Ivanka Trump will be at a business roundtable and 7 p.m. community forum at the Marriott in Troy; Pence will be campaigning in the state on Thursday and Eric Trump on Friday. Details of the Pence and Eric Trump stops have not yet been announced.

And on Wednesday, Sanders, who narrowly beat Clinton in Michigan’s March 8 presidential primary election, hits the west side of the state, campaigning at a noon rally at Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo, and a 3:15 p.m. stop at the Village at Grand Traverse Commons in Traverse City.

Democratic vice presidential candidate Tim Kaine made campaign stops in Taylor and Warren last Sunday.

In the final days of the election, the race has tightened up with Clinton still leading in all polls done in the state, but slipping from a 11-point lead in early October to a 7-point advantage in a poll done by EPIC/MRA for the Free Press in late October.

Trump is now targeting states in the industrial Midwest, like Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania, where the polls have shown him lagging. Those states are necessary for him to get to the magic number of 270 electoral votes. Trump says he's doing far better in those traditionally Democratic states than recent polls have indicated.

Both campaigns also are going up on the air with TV buys in Michigan, with Trump spending $25 million across 13 states, though his campaign wouldn't say how much the buy in Michigan is, how long it will last or the content of the ad. Clinton is putting more than $100,000 into an ad buy on the books in Michigan.

"We feel very strongly that our path to victory consists of Florida, North Carolina, Ohio and Iowa. Once we win those, we put ourselves in a very good position to win Maine. And then we really only have to pick off one of these other states that we’re competing in," including Michigan, Pennsylvania, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Nevada or Colorado, said Trump's deputy campaign manager David Bossie. "It's very telling for Hillary Clinton’s campaign to be going up with ads in Colorado, Michigan and Wisconsin. She is on defense, and we’re on offense. We’re expanding our map, and she’s working to holding on to her solid blue states."

Recent polls are showing Trump with leads in Florida, Ohio and Iowa, and Clinton leading or tied with Trump in North Carolina. Clinton has held onto consistent leads in Maine, Pennsylvania, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Wisconsin and Colorado and is ahead or tied with Trump in Nevada.

(2016 © Detroit Free Press)


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