Democrats Turn Red
Experts predict major Democratic influence on Republican primary
Scholastic Kid Reporter Kayla Gough meets Republican presidential hopeful John McCain. (Photo: Courtesy Kayla Gough)
Controversy in the national Democratic and Republican committees has muddled the Michigan presidential primary election on Tuesday. Only the key issue remains clear: As the state with the highest rate of unemployment in the nation, Michigan’s vote is all about the economy.
Michigan holds an open primary election, meaning voters can decide at the last minute to vote as either a Democrat or a Republican. That may mean Democrats showing up at the polls will choose to cast a ballot in the Republican primary. Only one of the top three Democratic candidates is on the ballot, due to a disagreement between Michigan and the Democratic Party.
When Michigan moved its primary into January, the Democratic Party stripped the state of its delegates to the national convention. In solidarity with the party, Democratic candidates Barack Obama and John Edwards did not file to have their names on the Michigan ballot.
The only names on the ballot will be those of Hillary Clinton, and longshot candidates Mike Gravel, and Dennis Kucinich. (Chris Dodd’s name is also on the ballot, but he has withdrawn from the race.)
Democratic voters can cast a vote for “uncommitted” or they can vote for a Republican. The Republican Party has withdrawn half of the state’s delegates for the same reason. Republican candidates decided half of the delegates were better than none and stayed in the race.
In the battle between Mitt Romney and John McCain, those “crossover” Democratic voters could make all the difference in a tight race.
McCain won the Michigan primary in 2000. He also believes Democrats will be more likely to vote for him. His campaign focus of “straight talk” could cause problems, however. He has told Michigan voters that lost jobs in the car industry may never return. He says Michigan will have to turn to other sources for jobs.
The race is seen as virtually a must-win for Romney, who believes he has an edge because he is from Michigan. His father was a popular Governor of the state. He has promised to work to bring back the once powerful car industry in Michigan.
Romney says he is hopeful. "I'm confident I'm going to do real well with Republicans,” he said at an event at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit on Monday. “ I'm confident I'll do just fine and hopefully real well with independents. I don't know how Democrats will vote in a Republican primary. That's not something I'm terribly used to."
He pledged to stay in the race through the February 5 Super Tuesday election, when citizens in 22 states will go to the polls.
Also on the Republican ballot are Mike Huckabee, Fred Thompson, and Rudy Giuliani.
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