March 9 (UPI) — Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders and former Vice President Joe Biden, the Democratic Party’s presidential hopefuls, campaigned heavily in Michigan on Monday — hoping to win the state primary, which is the largest prize this week.
Michigan, with 125 delegates, is one of six states that will stage primaries Tuesday, along with Washington state (89 delegates), Missouri (68), Mississippi (36), Idaho (20) and North Dakota. Michigan, historically a “swing” state, voted for President Donald Trump in 2016.
Biden is enjoying his new status as the party front-runner for the nomination after soundly defeating Sanders in last week’s “Super Tuesday” contests.
Sanders, who upset candidate Hillary Clinton in Michigan four years ago, canceled a campaign stop in Mississippi to return to Michigan. Monday afternoon, he will meet with public health officials in Detroit to discuss the outbreak of coronavirus.
“The only way we win is when millions of people together stand up for justice. Michigan, make sure your friends and neighbors vote this Tuesday!” he tweeted Sunday.
Analysts say polling figures show Sanders behind in Michigan.
“Sanders has to win here, no doubt about it, and it’s possible that he could,” Michigan-based Democratic strategist Adrian Hemond said. “But one thing working against him, compared to 2016, is the candidate he’s up against. Sen. Sanders did well with white working-class and non-college educated voters in 2016. Part of his appeal was the utter lack of appeal from his opponent. That’s not the case this time.”
Biden hit the campaign trail Monday with former candidate and California Sen. Kamala Harris, who some have speculated might ultimately become his vice presidential running mate. Biden has been campaigning in Michigan and picked up an endorsement Monday from former candidate and New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker.
“We need a candidate who can best unify all of us and that is Joe Biden,” Booker said.
“Biden won’t only win — he’ll show there’s more that unites us than divides us,” he added. “He’ll restore honor to the Oval Office and tackle our most pressing challenges. That’s why I’m proud to endorse Joe.”
“We are in a battle for the soul of our nation — and Donald Trump is poison to our soul. We have to get him out of the White House,” Biden tweeted Sunday.
Four more states will hold primaries a week from Tuesday — including Florida, Ohio and Illinois, which collectively offer 510 Democratic delegates.