Candidates Focus On Indiana Ahead Of Primary | WBEZ
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Candidates Focus On Indiana Ahead Of Tuesday Primary

It’s the final weekend before Tuesday’s Indiana primary. Republican and Democratic candidates have been campaigning all over the Hoosier State.

Last night, former President Bill Clinton paid a visit to Gary, Indiana to support his wife, Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton.

Clinton spoke at a grand old bank building in downtown Gary. The stately venue held a crowd of nearly 200 attendees that, while small for a presidential audience, did not diminish the enthusiasm of the room.

Clinton wanted to remind the crowd of what he says are his wife’s strengths: negotiating and bi-partisanship.

The choice of venue was not without purpose, given Gary’s manufacturing history -- particularly steel. Clinton sought to drive the message that the former secretary of state would fight to bring manufacturing jobs back to Northwest Indiana.

“She was the co-founder of the Senate manufacturing caucus which is one reason she won a big victory in Ohio next door, which is also a modern manufacturing state,” he said. “And I want you to help her on Tuesday to do the same thing here.”

Hillary Clinton herself toured a steel plant in Hammond earlier this week.

Later today, Bernie Sanders will be campaigning in South Bend. Even among Clinton’s supporters, many said that Sanders shouldn’t drop out of the race yet, despite Clinton’s significant lead.

One of those supporters was Carolyn Jordan.

“I think that’s a decision that [Bernie Sanders] has to make,” she said.

“But what I found interesting is the fact that he was an independent and then to run this race he decided to be a Democrat. Is he going to work as a Democrat or an independent?”

With nearly 48 hours until polls open in Indiana’s primary on Tuesday, Hoosiers can expect a deluge of campaigning.

Bernie Sanders will be in South Bend at about 5 p.m. today, while Ted Cruz speaks in the Northwest Indiana city of LaPorte, whose Republican mayor, Blair Milo, is one of the youngest mayors in the country at 31 years old.

Meanwhile, Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton return to Indianapolis for rallies on Monday. Volunteers for Trump, Clinton and Sanders have already been out in force in Northwest Indiana, including Illinois U.S. Rep. Jan Schakowsky who went door to door for Hillary in Gary on Saturday.

Republican candidates have had their own political boosts.

A new poll by the Mike Downs Center for Indiana Politics in Fort Wayne gives Cruz a sizeable lead over Donald Trump in Tuesday’s primary, according to a report in the Indianapolis Star.

Cruz received an endorsement last week by Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, who had earlier said he was not going to be endorsing any of the candidates.

Trump’s biggest endorsement came not from a politician, but from, former Indiana University basketball coach Bobby Knight, who endorsed his candidacy last week.

Greta Johnsen contributed to this report.

WBEZ’s Michael Puente. He joined us from our bureau in Crown Point, Indiana. Follow him on Twitter @MikePuenteNews.

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