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Sterling Heights — Days before the election, Republican White House counselor Kellyanne Conway was a no-show at a Get out the Vote rally for Michigan’s GOP ticket because of a plane malfunction. 

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Instead, Michigan’s GOP ticket took the stage Thursday without Conway, denouncing the "extreme" Democratic ticket and urging voters to bring friends to the polls on Tuesday. 

"Now, we're five days before the election and we're just where we need to be," said GOP gubernatorial candidate Bill Schuette. Schuette acknowledged that he was behind in some polls but said he was the "comeback kid."

After Conway's plane malfunction was announced to the crowd at Villa Penna in Sterling Heights, speakers focused their hype on GOP U.S. Senate candidate John James, who is running against incumbent Sen. Debbie Stabenow. 

The Lansing Democrat is part of what's wrong with the federal government and is "running because she can't do anything else," James said. 

"You have an elite class developing, you have royalty developing, you have people who can do nothing else but run campaigns and get elected," James said. 

In a statement read to the crowd, Conway said she was disappointed about missing the rally, but would try to visit Michigan prior to Tuesday’s election.

“I am confident that on Tuesday, Nov. 6, the people of Michigan will once again vote to drain the swamp and will send career politician Debbie Stabenow into retirement,” Conway said in the statement.

The cancellation came as many wondered whether Trump, who has loomed large over the statewide campaign, would include Michigan in his tour of midterm battleground states.

In a Monday interview with Fox News host Laura Ingraham, Trump said he is interested in campaigning in Michigan for James because of "how well James is (doing)."

Last week, Schuette told reporters that he still anticipated a campaign stop by Trump. And early Thursday, James made an appeal to Trump on Twitter that was retweeted and echoed by the Michigan Republican Party.

“How about a Michigan-made, Election Eve rally to protect the American Dream?” James said in the tweet.

Noting Trump's close win in Michigan in 2016, James urged voters to bring friends and family to the polls on Tuesday to increase the GOP's chances. Statewide Democratic candidates have led most recent public-opinion polls.

"President Trump won the state by 10,000 votes," James said. "Who the heck are we?"

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 Township and Grand Rapids.

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.

eleblanc@detroitnews.com

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