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Michigan looking to be the key state in Tuesday's Democratic primary

It's the largest of the six states voting this week and one that Donald Trump narrowly won to take the 2016 presidential election.

DETROIT — Michigan is the largest of six states with Democratic primaries on Tuesday, and it could redefine what has become a showdown between former Vice President Joe Biden and Sen. Bernie Sanders. But many Michigan primary voters are already looking ahead to November and whether President Donald Trump can again win in Michigan, which perhaps more than any other state catapulted him into the White House in 2016.

Some see Sanders' sweeping promises to cancel student debt and combat climate change potentially energizing young voters but not older ones wary of his democratic socialist ideology.

Biden could do exactly the opposite with his safe and centrist approach.

Trump defeated Hillary Clinton in Michigan by 11,612 votes in 2016. Along with close wins in Wisconsin and Pennsylvania, it propelled him to the electoral college win for the presidency despite losing the national popular vote by about 2.8 million.

In the 2016 primary, Sanders defeated Clinton by 18,427 votes in Michigan.

Idaho, Mississippi, Missouri, North Dakota and Washington state also vote Tuesday. Democrats Abroad will also vote. A total of 365 delegates are at stake.

Credit: AP
From left, Democratic presidential candidates, Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., former Vice President Joe Biden, talks before a Democratic presidential primary debate, Tuesday, Feb. 25, 2020, in Charleston, S.C. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

Joe Biden worshiped at a predominantly African American church in Mississippi Sunday. Biden has enjoyed significant support among black voters, primarily in the southern states. He's expected to campaign in Michigan Monday.

Sanders, who campaigned in Michigan Sunday, hoped to receive a boost of appeal with African Americans, announcing he had received the endorsement of the Rev. Jesse Jackson.

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Biden received an endorsement from Sen. Kamala Harris, adding to his cache of nods from his former Democratic campaign rivals.

Sanders won Idaho and North Dakota in the 2016 primaries. He lost to Clinton in Missouri by 1,531 votes and was defeated handily in Mississippi.

Sanders won the Washington state caucuses in 2016 with nearly 73% of the vote. The caucuses were how the state Democratic party doled out its national delegates. But, the state also held a non-binding primary in which Clinton won, 53% to 47%. This year, the caucuses have been nixed and there is only the primary, which will determine delegates.

The Associated Press has allocated 664 delegates to Biden and 573 to Sanders as of Sunday night, but there are still 99 delegates to be awarded from the Super Tuesday primaries last week. All but one of those non-allocated delegates are in three states where Sanders has been declared the winner, but votes are still being counted. The other is in Tennessee, which Biden won.

If either candidate reaches 1,991 delegates before the party convention in July, they will be the nominee.

Both men will go one-on-one on the debate stage Sunday night in Phoenix. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard is also still in the race, but the Democratic National Committee is requiring that candidates have at least 20% of the delegates already awarded to participate in the debate. Gabbard has a total of one delegate.