Where the 2020 prez candidates have been in Michigan lately — and where you can see them next

Democratic presidential candidates at the NAACP forum (clockwise): Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders, Kamala Harris and Joe Biden | Andrew Roth

With Michigan as one of just a few states that likely will determine the outcome of the 2020 presidential election, it’s no surprise that candidates – and the Democratic Party – are investing resources to campaign in the state early on. 

This week, Detroit will host 20 of the Democratic presidential candidates for Democratic National Committee’s second round of debates, which will air on CNN Tuesday and Wednesday. 

Plenty of candidates didn’t wait to head to Michigan and have attended events this month.

5 things to watch in this week’s Democratic debates in Detroit

Here’s a roundup:

NAACP national convention presidential forum

Ten presidential candidates – including one Republican – visited Detroit on July 24 to speak at the national NAACP convention’s presidential forum moderated by White House correspondent April Ryan. 

Those attending were: former Vice President Joe Biden; U.S. Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.); South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg; former U.S. Housing Secretary Julian Castro; U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.); former U.S. Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-Texas); U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.); U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and former Massachusetts Gov. Bill Weld.

Earlier in the week, U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and former Georgian gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams spoke at the convention, saying that women and African American voters would decide the next election. Abrams has not ruled out running for president in 2020.

10 presidential hopefuls stress civil rights bona fides at NAACP forum

Kirsten Gillibrand hits 3 Mich. stops

U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) took a bus tour through Michigan on July 12, doing a gun control event in Birmingham, stopping in Flint and meeting with Mayor Karen Weaver, and holding a Lansing meet and greet.

Pete Buttigieg Saugatuck fundraiser

The South Bend mayor made his Michigan campaign debut with a fundraiser on July 21 in Saugatuck.

Beto O’Rourke Flint town hall

After appearing at the NAACP forum on July 24, O’Rourke visited the Flint Ferris Wheel for a tour and town hall. 

Beto O’Rourke heads to Flint today

During his time in the U.S. House, O’Rourke shared a townhouse in Washington, D.C., with U.S. Rep. Dan Kildee (D-Flint), who has not yet formally endorsed a candidate. 

Cory Booker meets Flint officials, activists

Though his campaign closed the event to press, Booker became the third candidate to visit Flint on July 24. 

While in the city, Booker met with local officials, including Mayor Karen Weaver and state Rep. Sheldon Neeley (D-Flint) – who is challenging her in this year’s mayoral race. The U.S. senator also agreed to participate in a youth town hall proposed by Mari Copeny, commonly known as Little Miss Flint.

11 Dem presidential hopefuls agree to Little Miss Flint town hall

Kamala Harris rallies with SEIU

While several presidential candidates have previously tweeted their support of Detroit security workers who are fighting for a union, Harris became the first candidate to stand with them in person on July 24. 

Harris spoke at a rally with the workers, noting Detroit’s – and America’s – storied history with labor organizers. 

Joe Biden at SE Mich. restaurant, fundraiser

On July 24, Biden made his first solo campaign stops of the 2020 cycle. The former vice president first visited a Dearborn restaurant, where he touted his strong support from African American voters. 

After, Biden attended a fundraiser, which Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan and former Gov. Jim Blanchard attended. Duggan endorsed him, making Biden the first candidate to pick up a major endorsement in Michigan.

Biden touts African American support during SE Michigan swing

Candidates are taking advantage of being in Michigan this week for the debates by adding additional events. Here’s what’s on tap:

Hakeem Jeffries, Brenda Lawrence fundraiser

Before the first night of the debate, U.S. Reps. Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.) and Brenda Lawrence (D-Southfield) are hosting several of the candidates for a fundraiser at the Whittier. 

Candidates confirmed for the event so far include Harris, U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan (D-Ohio) and U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii). Tickets for the event start at $50, and the meet and greet is scheduled to begin at 5 p.m.

‘Doubleheader in the D’

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and the Michigan Democratic Party are teaming up for a two-night fundraiser on Tuesday and Wednesday evening.

They’re expected to host several of the presidential candidates at IBEW Local 58 in Detroit, but so far none have been publicly confirmed as attending the reception.

Tickets for the event cost $100 per person, per night.

All Dem presidential hopefuls invited to Detroit fundraiser headlined by Whitmer

Jay Inslee in Detroit, Flint

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee is set to unveil a major policy in Detroit on Monday morning. Afterward, he will travel to tour the Flint Development Center. On Tuesday, Inslee is meeting with Muslim leaders at a Detroit mosque. 

Inslee made his first visit to Michigan in June, touring the state’s most polluted ZIP code and holding an environmental justice roundtable.

Inslee also was the first presidential candidate to call for Enbridge’s Line 5 to be shut down. Since then, Sanders has said he agrees.

Julián Castro fundraiser

Following his breakout performance at the first Democratic presidential debate in Miami, former U.S. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro is holding a fundraiser Monday evening in Detroit. Tickets for the event, taking place at the Eastern Detroit, start at $10. 

Julián Castro 1st of 2020 Dems to visit Flint

Castro became the first 2020 presidential candidate to visit Flint in June, when he toured the Flint Farmers’ Market and held a town hall.

Andrew Yang fundraiser

Despite getting relatively little time at the first debate, entrepreneur Andrew Yang has still been building momentum on social media and is now only one poll away from qualifying for the third and fourth debates. Yang hopes to capitalize on that momentum with a fundraiser at TechTown Detroit on Tuesday evening.

Yang was the first candidate to visit Michigan in the 2020 cycle, holding a rally in November 2018.

Tulsi Gabbard watch party

After the debate on Wednesday night, Gabbard will visit her official debate watch party at Bookie’s Bar and Grill.

Gabbard to stop at watch party after Detroit debate

John Delaney press conferences

Former U.S. Rep. John Delaney (D-Md.) is hosting four media availabilities in the days ahead of the debate.

Delaney was the second candidate to visit Michigan in the 2020 cycle, hosting a Detroit roundtable in January. 

Howie Hawkins meet and greet

Green Party candidate Howie Hawkins, who calls himself the “original Green New Dealer,” is hosting a meet and greet in Detroit ahead of the second debate. 

The event starts at 12 p.m. Wednesday at the Cass Café.

Detroit Rise event with Cory Booker

One day after the debate, Booker will host another event in Detroit. Doors open at 5 p.m. Thursday for the event at Saint Andrew’s Hall.

Cory Booker to hold Detroit event following debates

Several candidates also held events in Michigan over the last week, with the NAACP hosting 10 in Detroit for their national convention.

Pete Buttigieg fundraiser

One of the top fundraisers in the field, Buttigieg hosted a fundraiser in Detroit on Sunday. Tickets started at $25 for the event.

Buttigieg laid out his plan for winning back the Midwest, saying that Democrats cannot afford to play it safe or simply promise a return to normalcy but most present a vision for the future.

Buttigieg says Dems can’t win Midwest in 2020 just by promising return to normalcy

Bernie Sanders fundraiser; Flint, Canada events

Sanders, who narrowly won Michigan’s primary in 2016, held a grassroots fundraiser in Detroit on Saturday evening. Tickets cost $27 and the event sold out. 

On Sunday morning, Sanders boarded a bus in Detroit and crossed the border into Canada to buy insulin with people who have type 1 diabetes. 

And his national campaign Co-Chair Nina Turner and actor and activist Danny Glover are slated to a visit homes in Flint Monday morning. The event isn’t open to the public.


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