Posted: January 15, 2008 7:39 PM
McCain Hoping for Repeat of Michigan Finish in 2000
Arizona Sen. John McCain made his final push Tuesday for support in Michigan’s Republican primary. Speaking to supporters in Traverse City, McCain said his campaign is “depending on Republicans, Democrats, libertarians, independents, vegetarians and Trotskyites” for victory.
Indeed, McCain won the state’s primary in 2000 largely because he gained votes from independent and Democrats. In Michigan, voters are allowed to cast votes for a candidate in any party.
McCain predicted “a very, very close race” against his chief rival, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney. In a Zogby poll, released Tuesday morning, McCain held “a tiny 27% to 26% edge over Romney, with Iowa caucus winner Mike Huckabee a distant third at 15% support. About 8% of voters said they were undecided - a potentially critical factor in such a close election.”
But in what might be bad news for McCain, early exit polling conducted by the Associated Press showed “fewer independents and Democrats are voting in Michigan’s Republican primary…. down from 35 percent eight years ago.”
Although McCain came into Tuesday’s primary carrying momentum from his win in New Hampshire, his campaign sought to downplay the importance of the Michigan contest. Campaign spokeswoman Jill Hazelbaker told the Washington Post, “It’s tough to compete with the son of Michigan who has campaigned as if he’s running for governor.” Hazelbaker also told the Post that results from Michigan would not have any serious impact on Saturday’s South Carolina primary.
McCain left Michigan Tuesday afternoon for South Carolina, where he will watch results come in.