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Vice President Mike Pence will return to Michigan Feb. 25 for events in the state capital and Metro Detroit, signaling President Donald Trump's view of Michigan as a critical state to hold in this year's election. 

Pence is scheduled to speak at the Michigan Farm Bureau in Lansing before traveling to Detroit Marriott in Troy for a Keep America Great Event, Trump's campaign said Wednesday. 

Lansing is a Democratic stronghold, but the Farm Bureau is a traditional Republican ally. Troy has been a GOP area, but narrowly favored Democrat Hillary Clinton over Trump by 311 votes or seven-tenths of a percentage point in 2016.

Pence’s stops in Lansing and Troy will be the first since he and Trump visited the state on the night in December that the Democratic-controlled House of Representatives voted to impeach Trump. The president accused Democrat of trying to nullify the votes of tens of millions of Americans with the impeachment. 

That day, Pence made stops in Saginaw and Frankenmuth before ending his bus tour at the Battle Creek rally where Trump delivered a more than two-hour speech. 

The Feb. 25th visit will mark Pence's 13th trip to Michigan since taking office in 2017.

Michigan Republican Party Chair Laura Cox welcomed the vice president's visit.

"From fully funding the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative to passing the historic USMCA (trade agreement)..., the Trump-Pence Administration is working overtime for Michigan," Cox said in a statement, noting manufacturing jobs have increased in the state. 

In a December visit to Holland, Pence promised that he and Trump would hold more events in Michigan — a state Trump won by 10,704 votes or less than two-tenths of a percentage point over Democrat Hillary Clinton. It was Trump's narrowest margin of victory in the 2016 election.

“Donald Trump just released his disastrous budget, so now he’s sending Mike Pence to clean up the mess and cover for this administration’s broken promises," Michigan Democratic Party Chair Lavora Barnes said in a statement. "...We’re going to continue to hold this administration accountable for its attacks on Michiganders and turn every corner of this state blue in November.”

Starting with the 2016 campaign, Pence has visited Michigan more than the president. The former governor of Indiana has been viewed as an asset for Trump in consolidating support among social conservatives when they were initially unsure about the New York businessman. 

eleblanc@detroitnews.com

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