This tracker was updated Tuesday, March 10
Democratic presidential hopeful Joe Biden on Tuesday morning got into a testy exchange with a worker at an auto factory as Michigan voters headed to the polls to decide the state’s closely watched primary.
WATCH: "You’re full of sh*t," @JoeBiden tells a man who accused him of "actively trying to end our Second Amendment right."— Bo Erickson CBS (@BoKnowsNews) March 10, 2020
"I support the Second Amendment," Biden adds while [visiting] under-construction auto plant in Detroit. @CBSNews pic.twitter.com/sueOSBaY9P
As filmed by reporters traveling with him, Biden snapped back when a worker at an under-construction Fiat Chrysler Automobiles plant accused him of “actively trying to diminish our Second Amendment rights” and take away firearms.
“You’re full of sh*t,” Biden responded, twice shushing an aide who tried to cut off the interaction.
“I support the Second Amendment,” Biden said. He told the worker he personally owns guns but questions the need for large ammunition magazines and “AR-14” (sic) semi-automatic rifles.
Biden was heading to Ohio next, but his wife remained in Michigan campaigning on his behalf. She held a morning event in Lansing and was scheduled at The Ferris Wheel in Flint for a 2:30 p.m. event.
Bernie Sanders, who won Michigan’s Democratic presidential primary in 2016 and is again targeting the state, remained in Metro Detroit on Tuesday morning.
Sanders was not scheduled to make any public appearances in Michigan but his campaign announced shortly before noon that he would visit polling places in Detroit and Dearborn Heights.
Like Biden, Sanders is scheduled to be in Ohio by Tuesday evening. That state votes next week.
MONDAY, MARCH 9
Cory Booker to join Joe Biden in Detroit
Add U.S. Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey to the growing list of recent presidential campaign rivals now backing former president Joe Biden for the Democratic Party nomination.
Booker endorsed Biden on Monday morning and is expected to join him later in the day for Michigan campaign stops in Flint and Detroit.
"The answer to hatred & division is to reignite our spirit of common purpose," Booker, who has family ties to Detroit, wrote on Twitter. "@JoeBiden won’t only win - he’ll show there's more that unites us than divides us."
Biden is planning a series of Monday events in Michigan ahead of the Tuesday primary.
Sen. Kamala Harris of California, who had also run for president but dropped out of the race in December, is also expected at Biden's evening rally at Renaissance High School in Detroit.
Bernie Sanders, who barnstormed Michigan this weekend and drew more than 10,000 fans to a Sunday rally at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, is attempting to repeat in a state he won four years ago.
Sanders is set to hold a "coronavirus public health roundtable" near the Detroit airport on Monday. He'll also join Fox News for a televised 6:30 p.m. town hall at the University of Michigan-Dearborn.
SUNDAY, MARCH 8
Kamala Harris backs Biden, will join him in Detroit
Michigan’s Democratic presidential primary is only heating up with a series of high-profile endorsements and star-studded events ahead of the Tuesday election.
U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris of California on Sunday endorsed Joe Biden and said she’ll join him at a Monday evening rally in Detroit. Rev. Jesse Jackson Sr., meanwhile, endorsed Bernie Sanders on Sunday morning and was set to join him at a rally in Grand Rapids.
Harris, who ran for president as well but ended her campaign in December, clashed with Biden over busing and school segregation in a televised Debate but said Sunday he is a “public servant who has always worked for the best of who we are as a nation.”
"One of the things that we need right now is we need a leader who really does care about the people and how can therefore unify the people, and I believe Joe can do that," Harris said in a video statement.
Biden is scheduled to hold a campaign event Monday at a not-yet-announced location in Grand Rapids before his 7 p.m. rally at Renaissance High School in Detroit.
- Bernie Sanders storms Michigan with Joe Biden trade attack
- Michigan primary 2020: Expect heavy turnout, long wait for winner
Jackson, an icon of the civil rights movement who won Michigan’s Democratic caucus when he ran for president in 1988, praised Sanders in a lengthy statement and is set to join the Vermont senator at a 12:30 p.m. campaign rally at the Calder Plaza in Grand Rapids.
“With the exception of Native Americans, African Americans are the people who are most behind socially and economically in the United States and our needs are not moderate,” Jackson said.
“A people far behind cannot catch up choosing the most moderate path. The most progressive social and economic path gives us the best chance to catch up and Senator Bernie Sanders represents the most progressive path. That’s why I choose to endorse him today.”
Freshman U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York is also expected to join Sanders at a Sunday evening rally at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.
Sanders has been barnstorming Michigan since Friday, when an estimated 6,071 supporters rallied with him at the TCF Center in Detroit. He held campaign events Saturday in Dearborn and Flint.
Friday, March 6
Bernie Sanders plans four rallies in Michigan
Bernie Sanders has added a fourth rally this weekend ahead of Michigan’s primary Tuesday, which has become crucial for his campaign.
After a disappointing finish on Super Tuesday, Sanders has lost momentum in his campaign to former Vice President Joe Biden and, as the Washington Post reports, is going all-in on Michigan to save his campaign.
Sanders canceled a rally in Mississippi planned for Friday to add another event in Michigan.
The weekend with Bernie starts at 7 p.m. Friday at the TCF Center in Detroit. Rep. Rashida Tlaib, D-Detroit, Detroit Council President Pro Tem Mary Sheffield and civil rights scholar Cornel West also will speak.
Other events include:
- 11 a.m. Saturday at Salina Intermediate School in Dearborn
- 12:30 p.m. Sunday at Calder Plaza in Grand Rapids
- 6 p.m. Sunday at the University of Michigan Diag in Ann Arbor
Thursday, March 5
Warren drops out, cancels Lansing rally
It appears Elizabeth Warren will no longer campaign in Lansing on Friday as planned. In fact, the Democratic Massachusetts senator is no longer an active candidate in Michigan's March 10 primary.
The New York Times reports Warren is formally ending her presidential campaign Thursday, dropping out of what is now a largely two-way race between Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders.
Tulsi Gabbard continues to campaign and visited Detroit on Tuesday but has failed to make a mark in other states that have voted.
Warren was one of the first candidates to hire staff in Michigan and had built a network of volunteers here. But her disappointing showing in the early primaries was punctuated Tuesday by a third-place finish in her home state of Massachusetts.
Warren rallied supporters that night in Detroit and was scheduled to campaign at Lansing Community College on Friday.
Michigan voters who already cast an absentee ballot but want to change their vote can do so by spoiling their ballot and requesting a new one. That option is available in-person at a clerk's office through March 9 at 4 p.m.
Whitmer endorses Biden for president
LANSING — Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer endorsed Joe Biden for president on Thursday, giving the former vice president a boost against top rival Bernie Sanders less than a week before the March 10 primary.
As the Democratic governor of a battleground state, Whitmer was a coveted endorsement. She carried Michigan by nearly 10 points in 2018, two years after Trump narrowly won the state en route to the White House.
"I think the blueprint from 2018: showing up, focusing on the dinner table issues and getting things done is exactly what Joe Biden represents," Whitmer said on MSNBC. "And that's why he's got my enthusiastic support and my vote on Tuesday."
Whitmer praised the “Obama-Biden administration” for the Affordable Care Act, noting it allowed Michigan to expand Medicaid coverage to more than 650,000 residents.
And "when the chips were down, it was the Obama-Biden administration that stepped up and helped the auto industry," she said, referencing the government bailout accelerated in 2009.
Whitmer has welcomed candidates to Michigan but had appeared content to sit out the once-crowded primary. As of Friday, a spokeswoman told Bridge Magazine the governor had "no plans to endorse before" the March 10 election.
But “a lot of things have changed in the last 72 hours," Whitmer told reporters Wednesday following Biden's big Super Tuesday and the exodus from the race by Pete Buttigieg, Amy Klobuchar and Mike Bloomberg.
Whitmer had connections to the top three candidates left in the race.
Sanders backed Abdul El-Sayed over Whitmer in Michigan’s 2018 gubernatorial primary, but he endorsed Whitmer in the general election and rallied with Whitmer in Ann Arbor that fall.
Biden endorsed Whitmer and campaigned with her and Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan in Southfield, where they greeted customers at a Leo's Coney Island.
Wednesday, March 4
Bloomberg drops out after losing Super Tuesday
Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg said Wednesday that he is dropping out of the Democratic presidential primary race.
The announcement came after Bloomberg failed to win a single state on Super Tuesday, when voters in 14 states held primaries. Bloomberg had already spent nearly $12 million on advertising in Michigan ahead of the primary on March 10, according to the Michigan Campaign Finance Network, and around $560 million total.
But chances were slim that Bloomberg would carry Michigan. He was polling in a distant third place behind front-runners Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders according to a Detroit News/WDIV poll released Tuesday night.
“Three months ago, I entered the race for President to defeat Donald Trump. Today, I am leaving the race for the same reason: to defeat Donald Trump – because it is clear to me that staying in would make achieving that goal more difficult,” Bloomberg said in a statement.
“I’m a believer in using data to inform decisions. After yesterday’s results, the delegate math has become virtually impossible – and a viable path to the nomination no longer exists.”
He urged his supporters to back Biden — the leading moderate candidate left in the race — arguing that he has the best chance to beat Donald Trump in November.
Biden brings momentum from Super Tuesday wins
Riding high after endorsements by former candidates Pete Buttigieg, Amy Klobuchar and Beto O’Rourke, Biden won at least nine states (and may win a tenth) that voted Tuesday and is projected to capture a majority of the delegates that were up for grabs.
Bernie Sanders won three states and is very likely to win delegate-rich California, where results are still coming in. Mike Bloomberg and Elizabeth Warren each picked up some delegates but fell far behind the front-runners.
Biden enters the week as the Michigan favorite, according to a new poll commissioned by The Detroit News and WDIV-TV that shows the former vice president leading Sanders 29 percent to 22.5 percent.
That 6.5-point edge exceeds the 4-point margin of error, but there’s still “great fluidity” in the race, pollster Richard Czuba told The News.
The survey of 600 likely voters was conducted Friday through Tuesday.
Sanders trailed in early Michigan polls four years ago but ended up narrowly beating Hillary Clinton here after barnstorming college campuses and dominating the youth vote.
Tuesday, March 3
Bloomberg rolls out ‘Mike’s plan for Michigan’
Mike Bloomberg wants to boost funding for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, set national clean water standards for PFAS chemicals and create a national strategy to control Asian carp and other invasive species, his campaign said Tuesday.
The former New York City mayor released “Mike’s plan for Michigan” ahead of the state’s March 10 Democratic presidential primary, proposing a series of new initiatives while highlighting other elements of his platform with specific relevance to the state.
And yes, he’s running a related television ad (Bloomberg has already spent more than $11.8 million on Michigan ads, more than all Democrats and Republicans combined in 2016).
Bloomberg’s Michigan plan proposes $475 million in annual funding for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, a $300 million cleanup program that Republican President Donald Trump tried to cut multiple times before embracing it last year.
As Bridge Magazine has reported, Democrats including Bernie Sanders, Joe Biden and Elizabeth Warren have also outlined plans to combat PFAS contamination or otherwise improve water infrastructure.
In a nod to Michigan’s strong union presence, surrogates also touted Bloomberg’s pledge to ensure collective bargaining rights for workers and oppose the spread of so-called Right to Work laws like the kind signed by former Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder in 2012.
Six years ago, Bloomberg spent $3 million on Michigan ads promoting Snyder. He called the Republican governor “an extremely competent guy who took on the unions to get Detroit and Michigan going in the right direction. And he was re-elected despite being attacked by the unions.”
Bloomberg surrogates did not have an immediate response to those old comments.
Former U.S. Rep. Mark Schauer, the Battle Creek Democrat who lost to Snyder in 2014, is now backing Bloomberg and said his environmental policies would help create “good, union jobs.”
“I trust Mike when it comes to fighting for protecting working people, and also helping America lead in tackling the climate crisis,” Schauer said.
Monday, March 2
Bloomberg to campaign in Macomb on Thursday
Democratic presidential hopeful Mike Bloomberg is scheduled to campaign in Macomb County on Thursday, his campaign announced Monday. Additional details have not yet been announced.
It would be Bloomberg’s third visit to Michigan since he joined the race in late November. The former New York mayor spoke at a Detroit office opening in December and at Eastern Market in early February.
Bloomberg has been far more visible on Michigan television, where he’s reportedly already outspent the entire 2016 primary field.
The billionaire businessman has so far spent nearly $11.8 million to run more than 50 ads in the state, according to the latest tally from the Michigan Campaign Finance Network.
Democratic and Republican candidates combined to spend $10.6 million on TV advertising in Michigan four years ago, according to the nonprofit.
How to change absentee ballot
Former South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg will no longer host a rally Tuesday night in Macomb County after dropping out of the Democratic presidential primary on Sunday.
Buttigieg, billionaire Tom Steyer and Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar exited the race after disappointing finishes in the South Carolina primary on Saturday.
So what if you already voted for one of them? Or other candidates who have dropped out ahead of the March 10 Michigan primary?
Fear not. More than 427,000 Michiganders have cast their ballot in the presidential primary due to no-reason absentee voting. To change absentee votes, send written, signed request to your local clerk for them to “spoil” your ballot and send you a new one in the mail. The request must arrive before 2 p.m. on March 7. If you want to vote at the polls instead, say so in your letter to the clerk.
You can also tell your clerk to spoil your ballot in person until 4 p.m. on March 9, the day before the primary. While you’re there, you can get a new absentee ballot or tell your clerk you’ll vote at the polls.
If you decide you want to change your absentee vote on Election Day, you’re out of luck. Officials can begin counting absentee ballots once the polls open at 7 a.m., so it’s too late to change your vote on March 10.
Get answers to more questions on what you need to know to vote in Michigan’s presidential primary here.
Monday, March 2
Warren, Gabbard set to visit Michigan on Super Tuesday
Democratic presidential candidates are wasting little time transitioning from Super Tuesday states to Michigan, which is expected to be one of the most heavily contested of the six states with a March 10 primary election.
Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and Rep. Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii are both set to campaign in Detroit on March 3 as Super Tuesday results roll in.
Warren will cast her own ballot in Massachusetts before traveling to Michigan for an evening event at Detroit’s Eastern Market, where doors will open to the public at 5:15 p.m.
Gabbard will be just down the block at The Eastern, an industrial event space at the northern edge of Eastern Market. Doors to her event open at 6:30 p.m.
Expect more candidate visits and announcements in the run-up to Michigan’s March 10 primary.
Elizabeth Warren backs Line 5 shutdown
Add Elizabeth Warren to the list of Democratic presidential hopefuls backing calls to shut down Enbridge Inc.’s Line 5 pipeline in the Straits of Mackinac.
“Michigan's Line 5 pipeline is a threat to millions who rely on the Great Lakes for clean water and a healthy economy,” the Massachusetts senator said in a Feb. 26 tweet.
“My plans for a #GreenNewDeal will rebuild our infrastructure and create over 10 million union jobs. Let's #ShutDownLine5 and build a 100% clean energy future.”
Warren was the fourth Democratic presidential candidate to join the Line 5 debate. Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont called for a shutdown in July 2019, while two other candidates who have since dropped out — Pete Buttigieg and Jay Inslee — also did so.
As Bridge Magazine reported last month, most of the Democratic presidential candidates have laid out aggressive climate change plans that touch on water issues, but few have laid out concrete plans for the Great Lakes. That could change in the coming week as candidates appeal to Michigan voters ahead of the March 10 primary.