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5 Dems pull out of Michigan's January primary

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Five Democratic candidates have withdrawn from Michigan's Jan. 15 presidential primary, leaving what amounts to a beauty contest for front-runner Hillary Rodham Clinton and a handful of lesser-knowns.

Barack Obama, John Edwards and Bill Richardson filed paperwork Tuesday, the deadline to withdraw from the ballot, said Kelly Chesney, spokeswoman for the Michigan Secretary of State's Office. Two other candidates, Joe Biden and Dennis Kucinich, said in statements that they also were bypassing the primary.

Although Michigan is a critical Midwest state in presidential voting, it violated Democratic National Committee rules by moving its primary earlier in the process. The candidates are honoring the DNC's wishes in skipping the contest.

Clinton broke with the leading candidates, with her campaign issuing a statement saying the New York senator will remain on the ballot. Chris Dodd also plans to stay on the ballot.