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Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden plans Friday visit to Grand Rapids

Craig Mauger
The Detroit News

Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden will be back in Michigan on Friday for a campaign stop in Grand Rapids.

Biden's campaign announced the visit on Wednesday afternoon, a day after the first presidential debate and 34 days before the Nov. 3 election.

Democratic presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden speaks during a campaign event on manufacturing and buying American-made products at UAW Region 1 headquarters in Warren.

Biden will discuss "building back the economy better for working families" in Grand Rapids, according to the announcement. But the campaign provided no other details of the stop. Biden has been holding small events, not open to the public, because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

His Grand Rapids visit will be his second to Michigan in less than a month. He made appearances in Warren and Detroit on Sept. 9.

Grand Rapids is Michigan's second largest city. It's located in Kent County, which is viewed as a key battleground in the election. Kent County went for President Donald Trump in 2016 but supported Democrat Gretchen Whitmer in the 2018 gubernatorial race.

The area is a critical part of the state for Democrats, and the visit will provide a "shot in the arm" for people who've been working on the ground for the Biden campaign there, said Brandon Dillon, former chairman of the Michigan Democratic Party who previously represented Grand Rapids in the state House.

"It’s increasingly clear that West Michigan is not just a Republican stronghold anymore," Dillon said.

Grand Rapids is part of the 3rd Congressional District, which is held by U.S. Rep. Justin Amash, L-Cascade Township. Amash isn't running for re-election, and both Democrats and Republicans want to win the seat.

The Republican candidate is Peter Meijer. The Democratic candidate is Hillary Scholten, whojoined the former vice president's wife, Jill Biden, when she visited Grand Rapids on Sept. 15.

Trump won Michigan by 10,704 votes in 2016, his smallest margin of victory nationally.

cmauger@detroitnews.com