Presidential hopefuls gear up for Michigan’s primary

Louis Aguilar
The Detroit News

Fresh off a big victory in the South Carolina primary, Hillary Clinton supporters gathered in downtown Detroit on Sunday, urging people to vote in Michigan’s March 8 presidential primary.

The upcoming primary means Michigan will see personal appearances by each of the major Democratic and Republican presidential candidates. Clinton’s Democratic rival, U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders speaks at Michigan State Wednesday.

U.S. Rep. Brenda Lawrence addresses a Clinton rally Sunday. Speakers cited her experience, support of the auto industry and the barriers she has faced throughout her life.

On Thursday night, the Republican candidates square off in a televised debate in downtown at the Fox Theatre. And March 6, Clinton and Sanders face off at the University of Michigan-Flint.

On Sunday, a Get Out The Vote rally was held at Clinton's Michigan campaign headquarters in Detroit. U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow and U.S. Reps John Conyers, Sandy Levin, Brenda Lawrence and Debbie Dingell, along with former Michigan Gov. James Blanchard spoke to an estimated 150 supporters.

The speakers cited Clinton’s experience, her support of the auto industry and the barriers she has faced throughout her life as a woman.

“She is about breaking down barriers. She’s about making us whole” Stabenow told the crowd. “On the other side, they want to make us afraid of each other, be mad at each other.”

GOP debate headed to Detroit in March

On Saturday, Clinton overwhelmed Sanders in the South Carolina primary, drawing big support from the state’s black Democrats and seizing an increasingly strong position in the presidential race. Clinton’s lopsided win — she led by 48 points with nearly all precincts counted — provided an important boost for her campaign. She won the support of nearly 9 in 10 black voters, crucial Democratic backers who abandoned her for Obama in 2008.

When asked about why Clinton over Sanders, several African-American supporters in Detroit cited Clinton’s experience as well as Bill and Hillary Clinton’s long-standing ties with the black community.

“She’s really the most qualified,” said Kanique Arnold, a Detroit minister. “She’s specifically for the underdog of America,” adding that Clinton has a more universal appeal.

Oakland Community College student Ahmond Sigler said Clinton’s strong response to the Flint water crisis as well as her over all experience makes her a better candidate than Sanders.

“I just think she’s the one who can get it done” Sigler said.

Sanders plans a campaign rally Wednesday evening at Michigan State University’s Breslin Center. On Feb. 15, Sanders filled Eastern Michigan University’s basketball arena with 9,300 supporters. His campaign promises of free public college tuition and marijuana legalization has drawn swarms of college students to campaign rallies.

Sanders plans Wednesday rally at MSU�s Breslin Center

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Twitter: LouisAguilar_DN