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Billie Eilish, Jeff Daniels, Tim Allen weigh in on Michigan's political races

They join long list of celebs reaching out to voters in Michigan

Adam Graham
The Detroit News

If you need further proof that Michigan is going to be a major factor in next week's Presidential election, just look at all the celebs getting involved in the race. 

Kid Rock and Ted Nugent have appeared at rallies for Donald Trump. Lizzo stumped at a rally for Joe Biden, and Jeff Daniels made an ad supporting Biden that has received more than 4 million views in less than 24 hours. 

Billie Eilish encourages Michigan to vote in a new video.

It's not just the top of the ticket that's seeing action. Tim Allen narrates a "Pure Michigan"-style spot for U.S. Senate candidate John James, and former "Superman" actor (and Mount Clemens native) Dean Cain tweeted his support for James.

James' opponent Gary Peters, meanwhile, has Eminem and his Shady Records on his side, and Peters tweeted out a video of Billie Eilish encouraging Michigan residents to vote, although the singer stops short of endorsing the candidate (or any candidate, for that matter). 

Celebrities have been endorsing political candidates for a century, since Al Jolson wrote a song supporting Warren G. Harding in the 1920 Presidential race. But the practice of celebrities getting involved in politics has grown significantly over the past several decades, says David Jackson, a professor of political science at Bowling Green State University. 

He says credibility and likeability are key factors for celebrities to have when endorsing a candidate, and local ties help. 

"Celebrities from Michigan in the state of Michigan are likely to have higher levels of likeability and credibility (among voters), and it gives them the opportunity to influence a race, at least in a small way," he says. 

Celebrity endorsements can either help or hurt a candidate, depending on the celebrity, their public favorability and the candidate, he says.   

Jackson says campaigning during the pandemic and the use of social media "is something celebrities are geared for," since with a video or a Twitter endorsement politicians can "create the feeling or appearance of being connected to a celeb."  

agraham@detroitnews.com

@grahamorama