MI important to Democratic presidential primary

Posted: 9:07 AM, Feb 17, 2016
Updated: 2016-02-17 09:08:03-05

There are 18 state primaries and three weeks between Tuesday and Michigan's presidential primary. But local Democrats say the state could play a big role in the race.

"One of the things about Democratic primaries is you never know what's going to happen," Senator Debbie Stabenow said.

Democrats in and out of office say the candidates have been inspiring a new excitement this year. A Michigan State student with a group supporting Hillary Clinton says that's especially true among his peers.

"This election is different because they know how important it is," Ronald Owens III, who says he's working to get more young people to the polls, said. "Students are becoming more engaged in the political process, they're becoming more engaged in what government is doing. I think they're going to pay attention to the candidates more."

Enthusiasm for the race is so high, organizers say they found hundreds of supporters for an East Lansing fundraiser for Clinton in under three weeks.

"I'm just surprised to see so many people here," Stabenow said. "People I haven't seen in years are coming back into the political process because they're excited about the possibility of Hillary Clinton being our president."

Michigan has found itself in the spotlight early in this election. Clinton visited Flint to discuss its crisis earlier this month, and Bernie Sanders announced he will also make a trip.

"I was really proud to see the Democrats jump right in and want to do something to be helpful," former state Senator Gretchen Whitmore said.

Michigan's presidential primary is Tuesday, March 8.