FLINT, MI – With less than a week until Michigan’s Aug. 7 primary election, Democratic candidate for governor Shri Thanedar made his final stop in Flint for a town hall Thursday.

“We have a scientist running for governor who will have a special cabinet officer dealing with Flint, Michigan,” Thanedar said at the event, reiterating campaign promises that he made at a prior town hall.

“We will watch the healthcare and health numbers of every Flint resident that got exposed to lead by the state,” he continued. “We need to take care of the children; we need to watch for any learning disabilities the children may have, and if they do then we need to give them a special curriculum so that they can overcome the problems and the effects of toxic lead.”

Thanedar emphasized that the theme of his candidacy is compassion, adding that “Michigan is one big family, and we’ve got to take care of everyone in the family.”

This compassion, Thanedar says, is a result of his experiences growing up in poverty.

“When I talk about helping people out of poverty, this is not a speech that some speechwriter wrote that I memorized,” he said. “This is the life that I’ve lived, I’ve learned it from my life. When I walk in places like Flint and places like Benton Harbor, I’ve seen the pain, I’ve seen the hurting.”

Following the conclusion of the town hall, Thanedar walked around downtown Flint to talk to potential voters, stopping at local businesses like Table & Tap.

Thanedar entered the race polling at just 2%. Following a series of large ad purchases, however, Thanedar is now in second place in the Democratic primary for governor with 19%, an EPIC-MRA poll conducted Jul. 21 and Jul. 22 shows. He trails former Senate Minority Leader Gretchen Whitmer, who is at 42%, and is ahead of former director of the Detroit Health Department Abdul El-Sayed, who is at 15%.

One of four Republican candidates for governor will go on to face the Democratic nominee in the general election. Attorney General Bill Schuette is considered the front-runner in that primary at 33%. He is followed by Lieutenant Governor Brian Calley at 18%, state Senator Patrick Colbeck at 10%, and Dr. Jim Hines at 6%.

In a hypothetical general election matchup with Schuette, Thanedar is able to narrowly edge out his Republican opponent 38% to 35%, a poll from Emerson College shows. Should Republicans nominate Calley, however, then Thanedar loses the hypothetical race 38% to 36%. Both results are within the poll’s 4.3% margin of error.

Michigan will hold its primary election Aug. 7, followed by the general election on Nov. 6.

Andrew Roth is a reporter and photographer covering politics and policy in Michigan, as well technology, culture and their convergence. Andrew is a journalism student at Michigan State University and first...