Many of us in Michigan have grown increasingly frustrated and disappointed with the lack of leadership, innovation, and passion displayed by the current Michigan Democratic Party chair, Mark Brewer. He was not terribly effective in rallying local Dems in 2010, and in 2012 a few seats that might have been winnable for us on the state level went to the other party instead. Discontent on the grassroots level has been high for even longer ago than that, while it appeared that the bigwigs in the party were content with Brewer's performance. But the MI GOP shenanigans of 2011 and 2012--including the Emergency Manager Act, the draconian restrictions on abortion providers, the ongoing efforts to gut public education across the state, and the passage of "Right to Work (for Less)" legislation by the lame duck session at the end of 2012--appear to have provided the tipping point for the major Democratic players in the state.
I just received an email from Sen. Debbie Stabenow's office announcing a new candidate for the MI Democratic Party chair: Lon Johnson. Here is the bio for Johnson provided by Stabenow's message:
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.(The last sentence contains information that is not irrelevant for the party on the state as well as national level.)
This email announcement was co-signed by Sen. Carl Levin and Reps. John D. Dingell, John Conyers, Sander Levin, Gary Peters, and Dan Kildee.
If I were Mark Brewer, I'd resign right about now. Since I'm not, I'm looking forward instead to attending the MI Democratic Party Convention on Saturday, February 23rd, and casting my vote for Lon Johnson to be the next MDP Chair.
UPDATE: Alas, I did not realize that memiller had already posted a diary about this promising development, including the full text of Stabenow's email. This is definitely a topic worth covering from multiple angles, so I suspect more diaries are yet to come.
UPDATE #2: The comment from gregsullmich below alerted me to check my own email inbox--where there is indeed a LONG message from Mark Brewer on his own behalf. Clearly, game on. This could be VERY interesting, which may or may not be a good thing for the MDP as a whole.
UPDATE #3: A few minutes ago (about 5:30 PM ET) I received yet another email from my own US Rep, John Dingell, reiterating his support of Lon Johnson. Here's Dingell's key paragraph:
However, over the years, I have grown more and more concerned that the energy and enthusiasm of these grassroots leaders is not reflected in our State Party leadership. Now more than ever, we must have a State Party that is willing to adapt and grow in a changing political scene. We need a State Party that is willing to accept new voices, new opinions and new technologies to give Democrats the fighting edge in elections across Michigan while at the same time keeping seasoned Members involved and part of the team.He's also included his local office phone number to get a handle, I would guess, on his constituents' reaction to this contested party position. I intend to call tomorrow and give his staff an earful. I suppose I should also reply to Brewer's email at length with my strong opposition to his continuation in the position of party chair.