Rand Paul, Hillary Clinton plan trips to Michigan

David Shepardson
Detroit News Washington Bureau

Washington — Hillary Clinton is making her first trip to Michigan since announcing she is running for president.

The former secretary of state and first lady will headline a fundraiser July 21 at the Grosse Pointe home of David Katz and Jill Alper, according to a copy of the invitation obtained by The Detroit News on Tuesday.

The fundraiser is titled "A Conversation with Hillary Clinton."

The cost to attend the fundraiser will be $2,700. To be an "event co-host," a person must raise $27,000, which "includes host reception with Hillary and membership in Hillstarters program."

To be an event host, a person must raise $50,000 and that "includes host reception with Hillary and membership in Hillraisers program."

The event hosts are prominent Democrats. David Katz is a former chief of staff to Wayne County Executive Ed McNamara, who was Jennifer Granholm's 2002 campaign manager, and Jill Alper was a Democratic strategist for Granholm and for presidential candidate John Kerry, among others.

The Clinton campaign declined to say whether she plans any other events in Michigan.

Last month, a group of women in Michigan met to tout Clinton's candidacy. Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Lansing; Rep. Brenda Lawrence, D-Southfield, and Janet Blanchard, a former associate director of presidential personnel under President Bill Clinton and the wife of former Michigan Gov. Jim Blanchard, are behind "Michigan Women for Hillary."

Clinton last visited Michigan in the fall to campaign for Gary Peters and other Democrats.

Many announced and expected Republican presidential candidates have made repeated visits to Michigan this year, including Jeb Bush, Chris Christie, Rand Paul, Ben Carson, Scott Walker, John Kasich and Ted Cruz.

Paul, R-Ky., will spend two days in Michigan this week touring the state. He will begin by hosting an 'Unleash the American Dream' event in Highland Park with Mayor DeAndre Windom. He will start the next day with a breakfast in Shelby Township, a stop at the farmers market in Flint, a pub in Dewitt and an event at New Holland Brewery with Rep. Justin Amash, R-Cascade Township, in Holland.

President Barack Obama and Detroit native Mitt Romney, the GOP nominee, largely ignored Michigan in the final months of the 2012 presidential election — and for the first time in at least 60 years, neither major party nominee visited the state after Labor Day. Obama aides, citing Romney's opposition to the auto bailout, never thought the state was seriously in contention and Romney didn't fight hard to win the state.

Michigan Democrats will hold their first statewide presidential primary in 24 years on March 8 — a relatively early election. Other Democratic candidates have yet to visit Michigan, this year including former Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders.