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MI GOP looks to energize conservatives ahead of election with Rand Paul visit

The Michigan Republican Party is trying to energize its conservative base ahead of next week’s election. On Wednesday, Republicans brought in U.S. Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., to speak with GOP supporters and volunteers in and around Detroit.

During a rally in Livonia, Paul reiterated his belief that conservative principles would turn the city around.

“You want to help Detroit? You want Detroit to grow and be a great and proud city again like it once was? Leave more money in Detroit. It’s as simple as that. Don’t send it to Washington,” he said.

Paul released a plan last year to cut federal taxes in cities with 12 percent or higher unemployment.

He says he believes Republicans can make inroads in traditional Democratic strongholds like Detroit if they embrace more “compassionate” policies, such as softening their stance on drug enforcement.

“If we want to be the party that wins Detroit, we have to be the party that also has compassion and that understands that people live in poverty and that there’s a cycle of poverty to drugs to prison.”

Although Paul was in town to rally conservatives around Gov. Rick Snyder and U.S. Senate nominee Terri Lynn Land, Paul did not mention either candidate during his speech in Livonia.

Snyder spent much of his first term pushing state lawmakers to expand Medicaid in Michigan through the federal health care law. Another top priority has been to fix Michigan’s roads, largely by raising the state’s gas tax.

Paul has been outspoken against Obamacare, Medicaid expansion, and raising taxes.

When asked by Michigan Public Radio after his speech whether those actions by Snyder reflect his own values, Paul said, “I would say, in general, that really Republicans are not out campaigning for higher taxes. I don’t think that probably accurately characterizes the governor.”

Paul is the latest national political heavyweight to visit Michigan to fire up voters ahead of the November 4th election. Republicans have brought in other possible 2016 presidential contenders such as Jeb Bush, Chris Christie, and Mitt Romney.

Hillary Clinton, Bill Clinton, and Michelle Obama have stumped for Democratic candidates in recent weeks. President Barack Obama is scheduled to visit Detroit on Saturday to rally Democrats.