Michigan voters stunned the political world by handing Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders a surprise Democratic primary victory over former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. The win means the two Democrats will split Michigan’s national convention delegates.
Sanders released this statement following the Michigan results:
“Not only is Michigan the gateway to the rest of the industrial Midwest, the results there show that we are a national campaign. We already have won in the Midwest, New England and the Great Plains and as more people get to know more about who we are and what our views are we’re going to do very well.”
The result was something of a surprise. Clinton has won more states and more delegates so far this season than Sanders. While Sanders devoted considerable time to campaigning on college campuses, Clinton spent a lot of time organizing and campaigning in Detroit, which is typically critical in a Michigan Democratic primary. The Flint water crisis also played a large role, with both candidates making visits to the city, the Democratic National Committee staged a debate in Flint last weekend.
Congresswoman Debbie Dingell (D-Dearborn Heights) is a Clinton supporter. She says the result was disappointing, but not a total surprise.
“I always thought the numbers were going to be tighter than what polls show,” she said. “I’m happy to see we’ve got two substantive candidates who’ve engaged people and it really increased voter turnout.”
Sanders made trade policy a central argument in his pitch to Michigan primary voters. He says free trade agreements have hurt states like Michigan and shipped jobs overseas. Clinton tried to turn a pivotal vote on a portion of the auto rescue package against Sanders.
In the Republican primary, Donald Trump took a commanding lead and most of the state’s national convention delegates, leaving Texas Senator Ted Cruz and Ohio Governor John Kasich in pretty much a tie when it comes to collecting delegates.
Cruz spent very little time campaigning in Michigan, while Kasich joked Tuesday, “If I spent any more time here, I’d have to start paying taxes.”
Kasich told a crowd in Lansing on the final day of campaigning that Kasich that “a great finish here in this state, a great result in this state that is going to send a message across the country, and, frankly, I think, across the world, that it’s a new day for this presidential campaign.”