Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer, a Democrat, on Thursday endorsed Joe Biden ahead the of the state’s March 10 primary.
“I’ve been watching this campaign play out, and there’s been sources of inspiration in a variety of candidates,” Whitmer said on MSNBC’s Morning Joe. “But as we go into Michigan’s election on Tuesday, I am going to be voting for Joe Biden.” The former vice president is currently battling progressive Senator Bernie Sanders (I., Vt.) for a win in the primary.
“I think we all know Michigan is incredibly important,” Whitmer said. “All roads to the White House lead through my state and I want to make sure that we’ve got a strong ability to help impact where we are headed as a nation.”
On Thursday Sanders canceled a planned rally in Mississippi and announced he would travel to Michigan instead, highlighting the importance of the state’s primary.
Whitmer’s endorsement follows the release of a Detroit News/WDIV-TV poll showing Biden leading Sanders in Michigan with 29 percent support among likely Democratic primary voters, compared to Sanders’s 22.5 percent. While the poll indicated that the race was still fluid, it also pointed to possible problems for Sanders. The Vermont senator has failed to gain support among elderly voters, who are more likely to turn out to vote in the primary. And, complicating matters, many of Michigan’s major universities will be on spring break, meaning it will be more difficult for Sanders to organize among college-age voters.
The poll was taken before Biden’s Super Tuesday victories. Senator Elizabeth Warren’s (D., Mass.) announcement on Thursday that she was ending her presidential campaign could sway the primary race in either direction as her former supporters decide who to choose.
Warren has declined to immediately endorse either Biden or Sanders and is reportedly considering not weighing in on either candidate’s behalf.