WMU News

Michigan's importance in campaign means lots of visitors

Sept. 6, 2000

KALAMAZOO -- The home of the Motor City will be a driving force in this year's presidential elections as evidenced by the number of visits campaigners have already made to the Great Lakes State, according to a Western Michigan University expert in political parties and elections.

Dr. John A. Clark, a WMU associate professor of political science says that because of the closeness of the presidential race, every vote in Michigan is going to count.

"John McCain's carrying of the state in the GOP primary is an indication that the state is 'in play.' Also the senate race between Spence Abraham and Debbie Stabenow is going to get a lot of national attention," he says.

As a result, Michiganders can anticipate two things this campaign season: more candidates visiting the state and more negative advertising.

"Expect to see the presidential candidates spending a lot of time here -- either themselves, their spouses or other campaigners. Barbara Bush might well come here a couple of times, " he predicts. "Al Gore's and George W. Bush's summer visits to West Michigan are an indication of this. It's pretty unusual for them to come to West Michigan to campaign in the middle of the summer."

As for those nasty ad campaigns, expect the mud to fly, Clark advises. "It's going to get very negative. People will be very tired of the campaign after four months."

Media contact: Marie Lee, 616 387-8400, marie.lee@wmich.edu

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