Michigan is once again poised to play a crucial role in deciding who wins this year’s presidential race.

Former President Donald Trump campaigned there on Wednesday, President Joe Biden visited in March, and both Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris are set to make trips there in the coming weeks.

What You Need To Know

  • As President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump campaign in the battleground state of Michigan, Spectrum News spent three days on the ground taking the pulse of voters

  • Biden visited Saginaw in March and Trump held a rally in nearby Freeland on Wednesday

  • Michigan went for Trump in 2016 and then Biden in 2020

  • It’s one of six or seven states that will help decide the winner of this year’s election

In 2016, Trump won Michigan by less than 11,000 votes. In 2020, Biden won it by 154,000.

Conversations with voters across the state made clear that Trump’s legal troubles, Biden’s handling of Gaza, and the economy will be factors in determining which way this state swings in 2024. 

Spectrum News spent three days criss-crossing the state to speak with voters as they weigh their options.


Trump rallies in key swing county during hush money trial


Taking advantage of a one day break in his New York criminal trial, Trump visited Michigan after making a campaign stop in nearby battleground Wisconsin.

At an airport hanger in Freeland, two hours northwest of Detroit, several thousand supporters turned out in breezy 70-degree weather to see him.

“I haven’t really been keeping up on the legal problems he's been having with that. But it seems to me that whatever they come at him with is not sticking,” said Christopher Brown, a Michigan voter who was waiting in line.

Closer to the front, Amy Mosier-Rau proudly donned a red “Keep America Great” hat.

“I think he has us all in his best interest,” she said of Trump.

Freeland is in Saginaw County, the only Michigan county that voted for Barack Obama twice, then Trump, and then Biden.

Anne DeLise, chair of the Michigan GOP’s District 8 Committee, told Spectrum News that Trump can win back the voters he lost in 2020 if he leans into pocketbook issues and emphasizes the stakes of the election.

“I think that many Americans feel like if he’s not the president elected in 2024, that we’re going to lose our country,” she said.

Anne DeLise, chair of the Michigan GOP’s District 8 Committee, speaks with Spectrum News about former President Donald Trump holding a rally in the district.


A prominent pastor in Saginaw backs Biden


In nearby Saginaw, Spectrum News met Pastor Hurley Coleman Jr., whose son and grandson met one-on-one with Biden when he visited the area in March.

“My comfort and confidence is in the authenticity of what’s being done by President Biden,” Coleman said.

Pastor Hurley Coleman Jr., who leads World Outreach Campus Church in Saginaw, speaks with Spectrum News about Biden’s recent visit to the area.

He praised Biden’s role in seeing the country through the pandemic, said he appreciates Biden’s respect for institutions, and credits Biden with reducing unemployment and funding infrastructure – all without the daily drama that he says surrounds Trump.

“I’m excited about boring success,” Coleman explained.

From Saginaw to Dearborn, Spectrum News found younger voters who were not very excited about a Biden-Trump rematch.

“It’s not one or the other, it’s neither, is kind of how I feel,” Tyra Brooks, 25, said, standing outside her home in Saginaw.

Down in Dearborn, Alexei Hrnjack, 22, put it this way: “Pretty much just the round two that nobody asked for. But I’m a little more pro-Biden than most people my age, I would say."


How 'uncommitted' could cost Biden needed votes


As protests over the Israel-Hamas war in Gaza continue to unfold on college campuses, the growing unrest has served as affirmation for Lexis Zeidan, a 31-year-old Palestinian-American who lives in Detroit.

In February, she helped lead an effort that convinced more than 100,000 Democrats to vote “uncommitted” in Michigan’s primary in protest of Biden’s handling of the war.

“Until we start having direct conversations and until there’s an actual ceasefire implemented, anything that they say to me is just breadcrumbs and it’s not something we’re accepting,” Zeidan told Spectrum News of the Biden administration.

Lexis Zeidan, a 31-year-old Palestinian-American who lives in Detroit, speaks with Spectrum News about the “uncommitted” campaign against President Joe Biden over his handling of the Israel-Hamas war in Gaza.

She’s a graduate student at the University of Michigan, one of the many colleges and universities that have seen pro-Palestinian tent encampments pop up.

On Thursday, Biden spoke from the White House about the demonstrations that have turned violent and been broken up by police.

“There’s the right to protest, but not the right to cause chaos,” he said.

Asked about them afterward, Zeidan told Spectrum News she did not appreciate Biden’s remarks.

Originally from Dearborn, the Arab-American center of Michigan, Zeidan predicts Biden will struggle to get votes in the area if the war is still raging in November.

“I would never vote for Trump. But also, you can’t weaponize the fear of Trump against a murderer either,” she said on Monday, before Biden spoke out.

But in Dearborn on Monday, April Major offered a different take.

“I’m voting for Biden, cause it won’t be Trump," she said. "We won’t have another White House teardown.”