Anne Holton, former Virginia Secretary of Education and wife of Democratic vice presidential nominee Tim Kaine, campaigned for Hillary Clinton Tuesday night in Ann Arbor after events in Detroit and Livonia.
Holton visited the Ann Arbor campaign office, where she spoke to a primarily female audience — many of whom were local campaign volunteers or active community members — about the importance of mobilizing people to vote for Clinton in November.
She planned to also make other stops in Michigan on Wednesday in East Lansing and Grand Rapids. Holton’s visit follows a recent one from Kaine, who came to campus two weeks ago, and precedes a Friday event in Novi featuring Republican nominee Donald Trump. In her remarks, Holton highlighted the importance of grassroots campaigning, and repeatedly asked the audience to continue to volunteer and encourage people in their lives to vote for Clinton.
“I’m going to talk about you,” she said. “You are the key to this election. You all know that, right? You all know Michigan is often the key to the national election.”
Mai Le, an attendee and Ann Arbor resident, said she found Holton’s message reassuring.
“I really think me and everyone in this room really want to see a Clinton campaign victory on November 8th,” she said. “Hearing how directly we are making a difference for the campaign was very inspiring.”
Over the past few decades, Michigan has been a blue state, except for a victory by President Ronald Regan in 1988. However, the GOP has dominated state-level politics over the past few years, and Trump has stated he wants to flip Michigan several times. Nonetheless, Clinton has maintained a lead in the state against Trump throughout the election season. The most recent RealClearPolitics polling average shows Clinton leading by 4.7 points.
After the event, Holton repeated her emphasis on volunteering in an interview with The Michigan Daily, saying Michigan could determine the outcome of the election on a national scale.
“Michigan is a battleground state,” she said. “It always is like Virginia is. It’s just so important. We are fighting for votes everywhere. If Michigan supports Hillary Clinton, the nation will support Hillary Clinton, and she will be our next president.”
Students on campus have been actively involved in the election with organizations like the University of Michigan’s chapter of College Democrats hosting a series of voter registration drives. Additionally, the first Michigan Daily election survey indicated overwhelming support for Clinton among a sample of students.
Holton told the Daily she believes the student vote is valuable in the presidential race, but even more so in state and local elections.
“I’m really thrilled to hear that students are involved in the top of the ticket, but also we’ve got great candidates up and down the ticket,” she said. “Our students don’t always fully engage in those races … The student vote can really make a difference for that and it can really make a difference for the top of the ticket too. Students are our future, and when they participate, Democrats win.”
Ann Arbor resident Jane Campbell, an event attendee, said she believes candidates visiting the state indicates the significance of this election.
“It’s really important to see the major candidates and their surrogates here in Michigan, so that people can understand the seriousness of the election,” she said. “I do not understand how anyone cannot vote in this or any election.”