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Joe Biden plans Michigan campaign stop in Saginaw, which picks winners

President Joe Biden
President Joe Biden plans to campaign in Saginaw on Thursday, March 14, 2024. Saginaw County has served as something of a litmus test for who will ultimately win the White House, as voters there have chosen the winning candidate in every presidential election since 2008. (lev radin /
  • President Joe Biden to visit Saginaw on Thursday for his second Michigan campaign visit of the year
  • Biden last month met with metro Detroit voters and UAW workers ahead of the state’s Feb. 27 primary 
  • Voters in Saginaw County have backed the winning presidential candidate in every general election contest since 2008 

LANSING — President Joe Biden will be back in Michigan next week to campaign in Saginaw, a swing county that has voted for the winning presidential candidate in every general election since 2008. 

The White House on Friday announced Biden would “participate in political events” in Saginaw on Thursday. A spokesperson confirmed it will be a campaign visit but was unable to immediately provide additional details.

The Saginaw stop will be Biden’s second Michigan visit of the year. He visited with United Auto Workers members and metro Detroit voters last month ahead of the state’s Feb. 27 presidential primary.


State Rep. Amos O’Neal, D-Saginaw, said he will be present with the president’s entourage Thursday but told Bridge Michigan he wasn’t aware of any visit specifics. 

O’Neal praised Biden’s recent State of the Union Address and said he hopes the president brings the same energy to Saginaw. 

“He just needs to continue to reinforce the importance of supporting the ticket, the Democratic Party,” O’Neal said, “but he also has to reinforce that he’s going to work for not only all Americans, but Black Americans.”

While the city of Saginaw's population has shrunk in recent years, it remains a hub for Black residents. More than 45% of locals are Black, which far exceeds the statewide rate of 14%. 

The visit comes on the heels of sharp criticism from Wayne County Executive Warren Evans, who argued this week in the Detroit Free Press that the Democratic Party's "inexplicable inability to sufficiently and productively engage with Black people" could cost Biden the election. 

Biden handedly won the Michigan primary last month with more than 81% of the vote, according to unofficial election results. But he faced pushback from more than 100,000 uncommitted voters, many of whom protested the president for not pushing a permanent ceasefire in the Israel-Hamas war.

Biden’s win set up a likely rematch with former President Donald Trump, who dominated the Michigan’s GOP primary and state party caucuses. Trump is now the presumptive Republican nominee after former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley ended her campaign this week. 

Trump has worked to woo the region’s blue-collar workers, too. He campaigned in Saginaw County in both 2015 and 2020.

So if a fight for Michigan voters is what Biden is after, historically, he’ll likely find one in Saginaw County, which has consistently been a good indicator of the way the state – and country – will vote in the general election. 

In 2008 and again in 2012, the county went for former President Barack Obama. Trump won Saginaw County by about 1,070 votes in 2016, but Biden won it back by about 300 votes in 2020. 

Saginaw was once one of Michigan's more important industrial centers but has shrunk in stature and size. The city's current population of roughly 44,000 residents ranks 38th largest in the state. 

The county, which includes more rural areas, is both poorer and less educated than the rest of the state. It has struggled with crime and economically. Its 4.6% unemployment rate in December was a half-point higher than the state.

For Biden, the Saginaw trip will be an opportunity to “reinforce the values of the Democratic Party and what it means to all people, in particular the minority community,” said O’Neal, the state lawmaker. 

“The Black vote is strong … in Saginaw and in Saginaw County as a whole, it’s strong.”

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