( dpa ) - Polls opened in the Midwestern US state of Michigan Tuesday for the latest presidential primary which will see only Republican candidates battling for their party's nomination owing to a Democrat boycott of the state.
Republican candidate and Michigan native Mitt Romney is seeking to jump-start his bid for the party's nomination after losing out in previous primaries in Iowa and New Hampshire.
Romney, a wealthy businessman, came in a disappointing second in both states behind Baptist preacher and former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee and Arizona Senator John McCain respectively, despite investing millions of dollars into his campaign.
Polls showed Romney and McCain in a close race for Michigan, with Huckabee lying third.
Romney grew up in Michigan, where his father George Romney led the now-defunct auto company AMC and served as governor in the late 1960s. He hopes to translate his home field advantage into a win that would further shake up the unsettled Republican field.In campaign stops Monday, he stressed his business credentials and said he would work to turn around the state's economy, hit hard by the downturn in the US auto industry.
Leading Democratic contenders have shunned Michigan altogether after the state moved its primary forward in the schedule of state- by-state nominating contests.
The Democratic National Committee stripped the state of all its delegates to its August convention, where the party's candidate will be officially named ahead of November 4 general elections.
The top Democrats have not campaigned in Michigan and will instead focus on a debate in Las Vegas Tuesday ahead of the Nevada primary on Saturday.
The Republican National Committee stripped Michigan of just half its delegates to its convention in September.
McCain, a vocal supporter of the Iraq war, came back to win last week's contest in New Hampshire and national polls now show the 71- year-old leading the field after his campaign had been declared dead by analysts over the summer.
Polls meanwhile show Hillary Clinton still ahead of Barack Obama for the Democrat candidature, but with a significantly reduced lead.