Vice President Pence campaigns in Waterford Township

Final presidential debate Thursday night
Posted at 5:05 PM, Oct 20, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-20 17:05:29-04

OAKLAND COUNTY (WXYZ) — With less than two weeks until Election Day, Vice President Mike Pence is making a stop in Michigan Thursday, just hours before President Donald Trump and the former Vice President Joe Biden go head to head in a prime time debate.

Watch live here at 12:30 p.m.

The "Make America Great Again!" rally will take place at Barnstormers at 12:30 p.m. Doors open at 10:30 a.m.

With 12 days to go, the Great Lake State is at the center of the presidential election with a tight outcome expected yet again.

“Even though Hillary Clinton won the popular vote, the outcome was decided by fewer votes than people who sit in Michigan stadium on a Saturday afternoon,” said U-M research professor Michael Traugott.

In 2016, Michigan was decided by about 10,000 votes. University of Michigan political expert Michael Traugott says turnout was up in rural communities and down in southeast Michigan. This time around, Democrats rallying voters in Detroit, a city still expecting only 50 percent turnout.

"There's a sense in which the Democrats got snuck up upon by the Republicans in 2016, but I don't think they’ll let that happen again in 2020, but turnout is very important," said Traugott.

On Thursday night, the two candidates square off in their second televised debate – this time with muted microphones.

“Whether or not there's a heated debate is not really the primary interest of voters, although it makes for good television," said Traugott.

With 12 days until Election Day, it’s unclear which candidate will walk away with the state's 16 electoral votes, but it is clear both candidates view Michigan as a must-win state.

"There’s a long history of the states in the upper Midwest being critical battleground states in presidential campaigns," said Traugott.

The commission of presidential debates released a list of topics for Thursday night, including COVID-19, race in America and leadership.

Following Pence's 12:30 Waterford stop, the vice president will visit Fort Wayne, Indiana later in the day.

Tickets can be reserved here.