Sanders expands Michigan operations before primary
By DAVID EGGERT
LANSING — Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont announced Tuesday that his presidential campaign is expanding operations in Michigan, three weeks before the state’s Democratic primary.
Sanders, who narrowly won Michigan over Hillary Clinton in 2016, announced the campaign is hiring nine additional staff and opening offices between today and Friday in Detroit, Grand Rapids, Ann Arbor, Flint and Dearborn.
The campaign has had a Michigan field director, Alia Phillips, since Jan. 2. It said today that Michael Fasullo, who worked on Sanders’ campaign in Iowa, will serve as state coordinator.
Fasullo said Sanders is “the only candidate with the energy and enthusiasm to flip this state back and defeat Donald Trump” with a growing “multi-ethnic, multi-generational, people-powered movement.”
Trump was the first Republican presidential nominee to win Michigan in 28 years.
Sanders’ announcement came as billionaire and former New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg focused on the swath of states that vote on Super Tuesday or later after skipping the first voting states of Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina. Bloomberg has spent at least $8.6 million on TV ads in Michigan, according to the Michigan Campaign Finance Network, and has nearly 100 staff and eight offices in the state.
Bloomberg planned to open a ninth office, in Lansing, later Tuesday.On Monday, his campaign announced an endorsement from an unlikely ally — former gubernatorial candidate Mark Schauer.
Schauer, a Democrat who served one term in the U.S. House, lost by 4 percentage points to incumbent Republican Gov. Rick Snyder in 2014. Bloomberg, an independent at the time, used his political action committee to spend $2.7 million on a TV ad in support of Snyder after earlier hosting a fundraiser for him, donating directly to his campaign and appearing with Snyder at immigration conferences.
Some Democrats have not forgotten about the ad. But Schauer said Bloomberg is a “strong voice for workers” and is “unquestionably” the best positioned Democrat to defeat Trump in November.
The only other Democrat with an office in Michigan is Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, who has “dozens” of staff in the state. Other candidates such as Pete Buttigieg — former mayor of South Bend, Indiana — Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar and ex-Vice President Joe Biden are depending on volunteers and surrogates for now.
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