DETROIT (WOOD) — Former President Barack Obama was in Detroit on Saturday for a rally ahead of the midterm elections.
This is one of only a few such campaign stops by the former president. The crowd in attendance was not surprisingly enthusiastic.
In a packed auditorium at Renaissance High School, Democrats including Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson and Attorney General Dana Nessel took to the stage before Obama spoke to the crowd.
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer believes the former president will add momentum to a race that has already intensified in the final 30 days.
“I think it’s important to remind people this is an important election, and it is not too late to get registered to vote, it’s not too late to get your vote cast before Election Day,” Whitmer told News 8. “There’s so much value here. President Obama is such a compelling speaker, he’s got a vision that absolutely aligns with the work that we’re doing here in Michigan, so I’m thrilled to have him here.”
Visits like Saturday’s are designed to get the base to focus on the election and to get them to turn out to vote. Those in attendance on Saturday, while certainly target voters for Democrats in this cycle, are also the people that Democrats hope will go out and knock doors, work phone banks and turn out the vote.
Those who arrived early and waited for the main event were exuberant as the 44th president finally took the stage.
Obama, like most of the other speakers, said that democracy is on the ballot.
“Everybody gets a turn. If you don’t get your way don’t throw a tantrum, don’t take your ball and go home, get over it, try to do better next time. These are basic values, and that’s what I mean when I say that democracy is at stake in this election,” he told the crowd. “That’s why it’s so important to elect Democrats like Governor Whitmer who will stand strong against attacks on our democracy.”
The former president echoed all of the other candidates who urged people to get out and vote and encourage others to do the same.
“You’ve got to help your friends and your family to make a plan to vote. Because I’m assuming if you are here, you are likely to vote,” Obama said.
About an hour later and just six miles up the road in Southfield, GOP gubernatorial candidate Tudor Dixon and former Democratic congresswoman and presidential candidate Tulsi Gabbard were at the Albanian American Cultural Center.
“We are on a bus tour now, so we’re going to go around the whole state,” Dixon told News 8. “We’re going to keep doing that, radio, you’ll hear us everywhere you go.”
Before they talked to the crowd, they spoke with News 8 about the race and why a former Democrat is supporting Republican Dixon.
“We’ve seen, unfortunately, how the Democrat party — especially over the past few years — has just gotten out of touch with the real needs of families across this country and families here in Michigan,” Gabbard said. “Last time I was here was a couple of years ago when I was campaigning for president and I saw then what I’m hearing now from Tudor, about the failure of leadership to really address the everyday needs.”
Both Whitmer and Dixon are spending the next 10 days working on turning out their voters in a race that has big implications for Michigan. The general election will take place on Nov. 8.