Time to change quarterbacks?
Mark Brewer has been the chair of the Michigan Democratic Party for the past 18 years. This year, however, the leadership of both the UAW and the Teamsters have pulled their support. Today, in a signal that this power struggle for control of the MDP may have legs, Senators Debbie Stabenow and Carl Levin along with every single Michigan Democratic member of Congress sent out a letter in support of Lon Johnson who has been selected to run against Brewer at the statewide Democratic Party Convention on February 23rd.
The letter was sent out under Stabenow’s letterhead and was signed by her, Senator Levin, and Congressmen John Dingell, John Conyers, Sander Levin, Gary Peters, and Dan Kildee. Here it is in its entirety:
In 2012 we were able to achieve some important victories. Unfortunately, we suffered disappointing State losses and we now face many challenges in Michigan with the actions of the Governor, the State Legislature and the Michigan Supreme Court. We have a lot of work to do together to change this dynamic and win at the state and local levels.
We believe that the combination of challenges and opportunities that dramatically confront Michigan Democrats today have called on us as elected Democrats to urge a new and inclusive chapter in MDP leadership.
There exists around our state an abundance of leaders, committed activists and talented local elected officials and now is the time to send a clarion call to all – those involved in the Party and those not yet involved – that the Party is the place to gather to advance Democratic values. We must build a stronger organization that reaches out to more constituents, conducts more organizing activities, pushes the envelope on technology, communicates a consistent message, builds infrastructure around the state and raises a broad range of resources to accomplish these objectives.
That is why we are excited to support Lon Johnson to be our next State Party Chair. He is a strong leader who represents the future of our Party in Michigan.
For more than 20 years, Lon has served in critical strategic roles for political campaigns and committees, advocacy organizations and businesses, including key positions at the Democratic National Committee, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, and Congressman John Dingell’s 2002 campaign. In 2012, he ran for the Michigan State House of Representatives in the 103rd District, and received more than 47% of the vote in a Republican district. Lon grew up in the Downriver community of Rockwood. He currently lives in northern Michigan with his wife, Julianna Smoot, who served as Deputy Campaign Manager for President Obama’s re-election campaign in 2012.
We believe Lon is the right leader and will bring to the Party vision, energy and a commitment to collaboration.
As a Democratic family, we have worked hard together on so many issues important to our state. We respect the hard work and long service of our current State Chair, the MDP staff, volunteers, and organizations throughout the state. This is about uniting for the future of our Party. We invite you to join us.
This is a striking turn of events, to be sure, and one I had not anticipated. I will not be endorsing either Chair Brewer or Mr. Johnson, though I will be voting at the Convention. I have invited both candidates to sit down for interviews so that Democrats who will be voting in this election will have some feel for both their accomplishments and the goals both men have for the MDP.
This Convention is turning out to be one of the more interesting ones in quite some time, without question.
[Mark Brewer photo credit: Anne C. Savage, special to Eclectablog]