Michigan is moving its primary to March [CORRECTION: January] 15. What key fact may determine the outcome? On the day of the primary a voter can walk in and request a ballot of either party. Therefore, just like in New Hampshire, independents may play a key role. This may especially true in the GOP race. DNC Chairman Howard Dean is pressuring Democratic contenders to take a “don’t campaign in states other than NH, SC, Iowa and Nevada which jumped the line before February 5, 2008” pledge which, if followed, could greatly depress interest and turnout by Democrats in Michigan. Who does this help? Undoubtedly Rudy and McCain who are appealing to moderates and independents. (You recall in 2000 McCain squeaked out a narrow win in NH among GOP voters but took a huge chunk of independents to get a substantial win.) Good luck to the campaigns and their pollsters in figuring out who will vote and in what numbers (the same problem which bedevils them in New Hampshire). Will this offset Romney’s advantage from his family name and from his large and well organized operation in the state? The next big event there is September 21-23 at the Mackinac Republican Leadership Conference at which all the GOP contenders will speak. Although the candidates will be talking at different times and on different days in some cases, this may be the first opportunity for primary voters and press to see how Thompson stacks up against the competition. This may be THE state primary to watch.