Mark Brewer shores up support to retain position as Chair of Michigan Dems, 40 local Dem chairs sign on

Game on!

On the same day the Senators Stabenow and Levin and the entire Democratic Congressional delegation announced their support of Lon Johnson to replace Mark Brewer as the Chair of the Michigan Democratic Party, Chair Brewer released an impressive list of 40 District and County Party Chairs that have lined up to support him.

Additionally, the Michigan Education Association, the largest teachers union in the state, has remained in Brewer’s corner and is hosting a fundraiser for him at at least one of their union offices. The split in union support has some observers concerned that this battle for control over the state Party will result in harmful divisions among Democrats in Michigan.

Here’s the list of District and County Chair Endorsements Brewer has received so far:

• 1st Congressional District – Dorothy Johnson
• 2rd Congressional District – Steve Keglovitz
• Alger – Loretta Herman
• Alpena – Linda Ayers
• Arenac – Gail Schmidt
• Arenac – Michael Snyder
• Bay – Brent Pilarski
• Baraga – Ronald LeClaire
• Berrien – Robert Miller
• Benzie – Marcie Stobie
• Branch – James Bilsborrow
• Calhoun – David Morgan
• Delta – Nancy Winneroski
• Dickinson – Judy Stock
• Eaton – Jacquelyn Tennis
• Emmet – Colleen Ryan
• Houghton – Brian Hoduski
• Houghton – Brian Rendel
• Huron – Jeanne Henry
• Ingham – Sandra Zerkle
• 4th Congressional District – Toni Sessoms
• 9th Congressional District – John Ashcraft
• Ionia – Lynn Mason
• Iosco – Rozanne Curley
• Iron – Ronald Sherwood
• Isabella – Mary Barker
• Leelanau – Elizabeth Johnson
• Livingston – Judith Daubenmier
• Luce – Jill Maki
• Mackinac – Jo Ann Ford
• Macomb – Ed Bruley
• Manistee – Glenn Lottie
• Mason – Christiane Fonnesbeck
• Monroe – Danny Minton
• Newaygo – Dallas Dean
• Oceana – James Cunningham
• Ontonagon – Roger Halquist
• Sanilac – Richard Partlo
• Schoolcraft – Dixie Anderson
• Van Buren – Celinda Gilmore



Finally, Chair Brewer sent out an email laying out his accomplishments, asking for support to remain as chair. Here are the accomplishments he highlights:

• Fiscal Responsibility and Financial Stability
When you first entrusted me as Chair, the MDP was nearly $800,000 in debt. I paid off that debt, and on my watch we’ve maintained a balanced budget, have never been in debt, and achieved solid fundraising goals. Our Party membership is the highest it has been in 25 years at 13,000+ members strong, and our online fundraising is strong and growing. In addition, I have refused personal pay increases and ensured those resources are put toward winning elections.
I have also worked with you to make sure your resources are optimized. The MDP has worked with candidates and Democratic groups to save millions of dollars on printing literature and mailings, and assisted with communications. In addition, I regularly work with Democratic leaders – at no cost from the Party- to ensure complicated campaign finance laws are properly observed, saving candidates and local organizations from expensive fines and political embarrassment.

• Party Building
Under my leadership, the MDP has worked hard to ensure candidates and organizations have what they need to win. I provide a variety of Party trainings covering compliance, fundraising, communications, and field. In the last election cycle alone, the MDP trained 487 Party leaders.

In my time as Chair, we’ve also invested in technology that helps Party organizations grow and succeed. Michigan was one of the first states to utilize the Voter Activation Network (VAN) and provide free access to this valuable resource to all Democratic groups and candidates in general elections.

Party Building has helped the MDP build a solid farm team of both future elected officials and political staff. In the last 3 election cycles alone, we’ve played a direct role in dozens of municipal and county victories. And when you talk about farm team, you need to include people who help our candidates get elected. I’m proud to say the hard-working staff at Hart-Kennedy House has gone on to work in Michigan and around the country for important political figures at every level and at major political organizations. And our strong intern program has provided a path for young people to get involved in the Party.

I’ve also made it a main priority to grow our constituency caucuses to ensure the MDP truly reflects our state. Today we have the largest number of constituency caucuses of any State Party in the country.

• Investment in Social Media and Web Communications
Growing our social media presence has been another focus. In 2012, MDP’s Facebook page added more “likes” than any other Democratic State Party. Our Twitter following increased by 70% last year and now has the 8th largest following of all Democratic State Party organizations. And on YouTube, the MDP received the 2nd most views of any State Party in 2012 for our Supreme Court video, “Can’t Run.”

Our Email and web presence has been significant in recent years. In 2012, MichiganDems.com received 333,866 page visits. We also developed several micro-websites that take on GOP candidates including: TheRealBruceRendon.com; BolgerGate.com; and JudgeColleenOBrien.net.

The MDP has been a leader in email communication, too. We have gathered the largest Email list of any Democratic organization in Michigan – and in 2012 alone we sent out 67 statewide Email blasts.

• Taking the fight to the Republicans
I have always been on the frontlines when it comes to taking on the GOP. In 2012, I worked with Senate and House leadership to expose Republican Leader Jase Bolger’s election rigging scheme. I also took the fight to Pete Hoekstra for his bogus attacks on Sen. Stabenow. In past elections I have gone on the offensive against Dick DeVos and Cliff Taylor. Currently, I am taking on the GOP’s latest scheme – an attempt to rig the Electoral College system. I promise I will continue to do whatever it takes to keep up the fight against extreme Republicans.

• Working Hard and Leading by Example
We ask our candidates to work hard, and I believe the Party Chair must lead by example. I have maintained an around-the-clock work schedule going everywhere in the state to engage Democratic leaders and activists. I have traveled to Party meetings in all 83 counties including regular trips through the Upper Peninsula. I regularly attend church services in Detroit, Flint, Saginaw and Grand Rapids and conduct outreach to religious leaders of all denominations. My schedule also includes a college tour and youth outreach. And I work closely and attend events for Labor, environmental, and progressive groups.

• Winning Elections
Since I became MDP Chair, Michigan has voted for every Democratic Presidential candidate. During that time, we elected Governor Granholm to two terms; Sen. Stabenow to three terms; Sen. Levin to three terms; maintained one of the most-respected and influential Congressional Delegations in the country; won Supreme Court seats; achieved big victories in the State Legislature despite GOP gerrymandering (including majority in the State House in 2006), countless victories up and down the ballot, and many important ballot questions including the right to keep Straight Party Voting on the ballot as well as the ballot measure that allows our Party organizations to maintain BINGO operations – a major source of income for many Democratic groups.

• Moving Forward
I’m proud of the work we have done, but I know we can do better. Moving forward, I believe there is much we can learn from the structure of President Obama’s successful campaigns. I will work to continue to implement many of the technological and organizational practices the President pioneered.

I also believe we need to address the very serious issue of gerrymandered legislative and Congressional Districts. Democratic statewide turnout has not been translating into victories at the Congressional, state legislative and local levels. This warped system designed by the GOP is a major obstacle to securing more victories. If we do not fix this rigged system, our efforts to provide resources and run good candidates will be for naught. It will be one of my top priorities to implement redistricting reform to ensure that Democrats are fairly represented at all levels.

As I mentioned yesterday, I have lined up interviews with both Chair Brewer and with Lon Johnson. I look forward to bring those to you in the coming week. Stay tuned.

[Mark Brewer photo credit: Anne C. Savage, special to Eclectablog]

  • Lauri French

    Eighteen years is long enough in any one position – time for a change in Democratic Party leadership!

  • Mark E. Miller

    Just to provide some context for that impressive list of Chair endorsements — Mr. Brewer had people calling the Chairs to ask for their endorsement just as soon as it became clear there was a race, and before many of the Chairs may have realized there would be one. So, if the first thing a Chair hears about this is “Will you endorse Mark Brewer?” — not knowing who, if anyone, is opposing him — the reaction of some will be, “Well, sure, I guess.” I am not implying that many of the above endorsements are not well considered. I am not saying that there is anything wrong with asking early. On the contrary, it is smart politics. I am just pointing out that it is possible at least a few of the above might feel differently now — but they are already committed. Full disclosure — I know this because I got a call; and I have not as of yet publicly endorsed either candidate. Mark Miller, Sixth District

    • http://eclectablog.com Eclectablog

      If you or anyone else knows of any folks on this list that have changed their minds, do please have them contact me.

  • BillW

    I’m planning on going and not supporting Brewer – I think we would have done better in State races particularly if money had been spent more wisely.

  • Pingback: Mark Brewer & Lon Johnson to speak about their run for Mich Dems Party Chair this Saturday in Ann Arbor | Eclectablog()

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