Explaining the importance of Michigan’s presidential primaries

LANSING, MI. (WLNS)- There’s already a lot of campaigning here in Michigan, even though the primary isn’t until March 8.

So we wanted to know — why is there so much interest in the Great Lakes State?

The 2016 presidential race is heating up, and now all eyes are on the next big prize — Michigan.

Candidates — such as Marco Rubio, John Kasich, and Bernie Sanders — are campaigning hard to get your vote on March 8, even though a handful of states have earlier elections.

So what makes Michigan so important?

“We’re the biggest prize,” said Dr. Matt Grossmann, the Director of Michigan State University’s Institute for Public Policy and Social Research.

Grossmann explains it’s because Michigan’s primary comes before others in make-or-break states, such as Ohio and Florida.

“We’re sort of the last chance for the candidates to position themselves to be the most viable candidates going into those states,” Grossmann said.

And political expert Susan Demas says getting delegates is the key.

“Michigan is a huge jackpot for delegates, especially for Democrats,” Demas said.

According to CBS News, Michigan has 130 Democratic delegates up for grabs — and there are nearly 60 Republican delegates.

Demas says that could spell trouble for frontrunners Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton.

“Other candidates could at least rack up some delegates,” Demas said.

But MSU political science professor Paul Abramson isn’t convinced Michigan will change the game.

“Trump is an overwhelming favorite to win in Michigan, and I think Clinton is also,” Abramson said.

And we won’t know for sure — until the votes are tallied next week.

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