10 names appear on Michigan presidential primary ballots — but only half are still running

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Update: A few hours after polls opened in Michigan on Tuesday, Feb. 27, presidential candidate Ryan Binkley also suspended his campaign.

Voters in Michigan will have their option of candidates to choose from when they take to the polls for the state's presidential primary on Tuesday, although some of those options are no longer asking for their vote.

Given that Michigan now has a number of ways to vote ahead of Election Day itself, either through absentee voting or early, in-person voting, and that ballots had to be printed by a certain date — and for military and overseas voters, distributed 45 days before an election — it's no surprise that candidates who initially sought a party's nomination have dropped out of the race, for whatever reason.

Running for any office is no small task, especially if the office you seek is president of the United States. A campaign could run out of cash, a candidate could see they lack the support to continue in the race, or any other reason could lead them to drop out of the race or suspend their campaign. So, on Michigan's presidential primary ballot, voters will see candidates who have suspended their campaigns, on either the Democratic or Republican ballot.

Who's on the ballot?

Here are the candidates voters will see on the Republican primary ballot:

  • Ryan L. Binkley

  • Chris Christie

  • Ron DeSantis

  • Nikki Haley

  • Asa Hutchinson

  • Vivek Ramaswamy

  • Donald J. Trump

And here's who they'll see on the Democratic ballot:

  • Joseph R. Biden Jr.

  • Dean Phillips

  • Marianne Williamson

Voters also have the option of voting "uncommitted" on either ballot. For a presidential primary, voters have to choose one party's ballot, different from the August primary where a single ballot is issued featuring both party's primary races.

Among the Republicans, a litany of candidates have dropped out of the race — Christie, DeSantis, Hutchinson and Ramaswamy have all either suspended their campaigns or dropped out of the race entirely. Those mean the same thing, effectively, a candidate is no longer running. But a candidate sometimes will choose to say they're "suspending" their campaign and will monitor if the dynamics of the race change to a situation where it's feasible for them to get back in it, which rarely ever happens. (Ross Perot is a rare exception, in July 1992 he announced he'd end his presidential campaign as an independent candidate, only to reenter the race that October, ultimately receiving the third-most votes.)

On the Democratic side, self-help author Marianne Williamson announced she would suspend her campaign earlier in February.

Of course, as the voter, you can choose to cast your ballot for whichever candidate you like, regardless of whether they remain in the race. Traditionally, candidates who drop out of a race still tend to garner a portion of votes. For example, in 2020, former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg got 4.6% of votes in Michigan's Democratic presidential primary despite dropping out of the race almost a week earlier.

Which candidates on the ballot are still running?

For both the Democratic and Republican presidential primaries, voters will see candidates on the ballot who have ended their campaigns. But on the Republican side, there are still multiple campaigns vying for votes: Former President Trump has won the primaries he has been on the ballot for so far, including a 20-point win in South Carolina on Saturday. Despite that win, former South Carolina Gov. and U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley remains in the race. She held an event in Troy on Sunday evening and was scheduled to appear in Grand Rapids on Monday as well.

Ryan Binkley, a pastor and businessman from Texas, is also on the ballot and is still in the race, although he remains a relative underdog to both Trump and Haley, who are well-established in Republican politics.

President Biden headlines the Democratic ballot. Nationally, party figures have largely backed him to seek a second term, and he has made no indication he won't seek one. However, U.S. Rep. Phillips, D-Minn., is challenging Biden for the nomination.

And notably in Michigan, there's a coordinated effort to have voters in the Democratic primary vote "uncommitted" on their ballots, as a form of protest of Biden not calling for a cease-fire in Gaza, where 29,000 Palestinians, mostly women and children, have been killed since Israel launched a military campaign after a terrorist attack in Israel by Hamas on Oct. 7. The movement has backing from notable party figures like U.S. Rep. Rashida Tlaib, D-Dearborn, state Rep. Abraham Aiyash, D-Hamtramck, and Dearborn Mayor Abdullah Hammoud.

Voters in both primaries also have the option to vote "uncommitted."

Looking for more on Michigan’s elections this year? Check out our voter guide, subscribe to our elections newsletter and always feel free to share your thoughts in a letter to the editor.

Contact Arpan Lobo: alobo@freepress.com. Follow him on X (Twitter) @arpanlobo.

This article originally appeared on Detroit Free Press: Michigan presidential primary: Who is on ballot, who is still running