Dem presidential candidate O'Rourke campaigns in Metro Detroit

Jonathan Oosting
The Detroit News
Democratic presidential candidate Beto O'Rourke meets with workers/students at the carpenters training center in Ferndale, a joint operation between contractors and unions.

Democratic presidential candidate Beto O'Rourke is in Michigan this morning as he continues campaign stops after launching his bid for president.

O'Rourke, the former Texas congressman who officially launched his bid for the Democratic nomination last week, is making several Monday morning meet-and-greets in Wayne, Macomb and Oakland counties. 

He was at Hometown Heroes Coffee in Center Line at 8 a.m. and at a carpenters training center on Farrow St. in Ferndale at 9:15 a.m. He also added a third stop in Detroit for 10:30 a.m., at Narrow Way Cafe, 19331 Livernois.

He isn't the only hopeful to visit Metro Detroit. Kirsten Gillibrand will mark the start of a 12-month sprint to the Michigan primary that will help decide who takes on Republican President Donald Trump. 

As The Detroit News previously reported, Gillibrand will tape an MSNBC town hall in Auburn Hills, which will air at 8 p.m., and join a Fems for Dems event at Three Cats Cafe in Clawson that Gov. Gretchen Whitmer will also attend.

Gillibrand, a U.S. Senator from New York, formally joined the crowded Democratic field on Sunday, making her presidential candidacy official after a two-month "exploratory" campaign. 

Whitmer celebrated the upcoming O'Rourke and Gillibrand visits Sunday on Twitter, re-posting a video invitation from last month in which she promised to "roll out the red carpet" for any candidate who wants to come to Michigan.

Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., speaks during a campaign meet-and-greet, Friday, March 15, 2019, at To Share Brewing in Manchester, N.H.

"We will show you a warm welcome, and we want to learn and tell you what is important to us," Whitmer said in a Feb. 25 video. "This is an important election coming up, and all roads to the White House lead through the state of Michigan."

President Donald Trump is also set to rally in Michigan in late March, signalling the importance of a state he won in 2016 by 10,704 votes en route to his Electoral College victory over that year's Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton. 

Trump's upcoming rally is set for March 28 at the Van Andel Arena in Grand Rapids. It will be his first visit to Michigan since April 2018, but his re-election campaign said it will be his 18 rally in the state and sixth in the Grand Rapids area since since June 2015. 

Trump capped his 2016 presidential campaign with a late-night rally at the DeVos Place in Grand Rapids.

He was the first Republican presidential candidate to win Michigan since 1988, but Whitmer and other Democrats swept the statewide ticket in 2018, buoying party hopes heading into the 2020 cycle.

Two other Democratic presidential hopefuls have already visited Michigan.

Former Rep. John Delaney of Maryland held a round table with small business owners and entrepreneurs at Detroit Vegan Soul in January. Andrew Yang, a former technology executive who recently announced he's met requirements to participate in Democratic candidate debates, campaigned in Detroit in November.