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Political strategists Messina and Rove weigh in on Michigan Primary and beyond


Less than 24-hours after Republican presidential candidates verbally spared during a Thursday night debate in Detroit, two presidential political strategists, Karl Rove and Jim Messina, were in Grand Rapids for the Michigan Political Leadership Program. What do they make of the field of candidates and their chances in Tuesday’s Michigan Primary?

Karl Rove was the mastermind behind President George W. Bush’s 200 and 2004 campaigns. Jim Messina was the strategist behind President Barack Obama’s 2012 re-election. Both predict party candidate’s Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton will win Tuesday’s Michigan Primary. But it’s what happens next that intrigues Rove and Messina.

“Because I think on both sides you’re going to have primaries deep into the spring.”

Messina explains it’s a good thing recalling Hillary Clinton dropped out of the race with Barack Obama on the last day.

“And the truth is we had to campaign in all 50 states. We had organizations all across the country. We came into that election ready to take on John McCain. And I think you’ll see that with both the Republican and the Democrats and I think as you go forward both parties will be strengthened b this primary process.”

Karl Rove addressed the rules and delegate distribution using Michigan as an example where he predicts Donald Trump will win roughly 35 percent of the vote.

“Which means 60 or 65 percent of the people are not going to vote for him. And hence the delegates are not going to be split. We have 782 delegates selected so far. He’s got 319. I’m from Texas, math’s a little difficult for us, but even I get the 319 is not a majority of 782 and as a result the contests are likely to go on.”

And that says Rove could make for an interesting GOP National Convention.

“We may show up in Cleveland with somebody, a plurality leader, but a majority of the delegates not committed to them.”

From the J.W. Marriott in downtown Grand Rapids, Patrick Center, WGVU News.