Trump not expected to campaign in Michigan before election
President Donald Trump is not expected to rally in Michigan before the Nov. 6 election, according to a person familiar with the president's thinking, even though he has loomed large over statewide campaigns.
Trump is scheduled to barnstorm the country in the coming days to boost Republican candidates in various states, particularly in U.S. Senate races where his popularity may make a difference, as the GOP seeks to retain control of Congress.
But unless there is a last-minute change in strategy, Michigan won't be among the battlegrounds he visits. A White House schedule released on Sunday also left out Michigan from the president's itinerary but included trips to Florida, Montana, Tennessee, Georgia, Ohio and Indiana.
In a Monday interview with Fox News host Laura Ingraham, Trump said he is interested in campaigning in Michigan for Republican John James, who is challenging U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Lansing.
"He's doing so well, but I'm trying to get to Michigan, that's how well James is (doing)," the president told Ingraham.
Trump has held 30 rallies since Labor Day.
Trump campaigned heavily in Michigan during the last month of the 2016 campaign and eked out a 10,704-vote victory over Democrat Hillary Clinton. Vice President Mike Pence has paid several campaign and fundraising trips to the state since March, including Monday rallies in Waterford and Grand Rapids.
Republican gubernatorial candidate Bill Schuette, who last week told reporters he still anticipated a campaign stop by Trump, said Monday he’ll continue to encourage the president to visit Michigan and suggested plans are still “in flux.”
Pence’s visit “shows that Michigan is on the White House’s mind,” Schuette said as he worked the crowd and media row ahead of a Monday night Grand Rapids rally. “The vice president being here is a huge enthusiasm boost for everybody… It’s all about the next eight days. We’re going to win.”
Trump had an unfavorable rating of 57 percent, while 38 percent viewed him favorably in an Oct. 25-27 Detroit News-WDIV poll released Monday. The numbers were much in line with surveys conducted by the Lansing-based Glengariff Group in early September and early October.
Statewide Democratic candidates have led most recent public opinion polls and are optimistic they could flip the state House or Congress, both of which are currently controlled by Republicans. National experts consider the U.S. House more likely to flip control to the Democrats than the Senate.
“The polls look good, but they don’t turn out people to vote, so we’re going to keep our foot on the gas,” said Michigan Democratic Party Chairman Brandon Dillon.
"Donald Trump can go wherever he wants, but I don’t think it’s going to change the fact that people are tired of the divisiveness. They’re tired of the rhetoric coming out of Washington, and they want to see some changes.”
Dillon and a small band of Democratic activists protested outside the Pence rally.
“There’s been nothing by the Trump administration or Republicans in Lansing to actually try to hold drug companies accountable,” Dillon said. “When Democrats introduce legislation, they sit on it.”