Presidential candidates focus campaigns on Michigan

Posted at 8:04 AM, Aug 18, 2016
and last updated 2016-08-18 08:04:39-04

Donald Trump has planned a visit and Hillary Clinton is increasing her presence on the ground, it seems like mid-Michigan is playing an important role in this year's presidential election.

"It's not at all unusual that we would be getting attention now. What's unusual is if we were still getting attention a week or two before the election," Michigan State University political expert Dr. Matt Grossman said. He says both campaigns are probably watching the poll numbers to see if Michigan will become a true battleground state.

"It's not competitive in Michigan, but it's not very competitive nationwide as we speak.," Grossman said. "The candidates are looking ahead, expecting some tightening, and saying if we get to a 50-50 national race, what states will be in play."

Democrat and Representative Sam Singh says Clinton is opening up offices all over Michigan, including one in Lansing this week, because the state is important to her.

"Having her here, having her team and focus on Michigan is really important," Singh said. "It shows what will happen once she's elected, that commitment to Michigan will continue under her administration."

Scott Hagerstrom is the Michigan Director of Donald Trump's campaign, he says the Republican is doing more than just visiting Dimondale on Friday.

"We're going to be opening several offices, we just added several staff here in the state of Michigan, and we're growing, and we're going to be competitive here," Hagerstrom said.

Grossman says that's a good sign both campaigns will be in Michigan for the long haul.

"It's useful to see not only where do the candidates go, but does their money go with them, is this an all-in campaign where we see the limited resources also being spent on the airwaves of Michigan, or is this just an opening foray and it's not really followed by a sizable campaign," Grossman said.

He says where candidates spend ad dollars says a lot about how important they consider a state is to their campaign.