According to a report on MLive, Michigan Republicans are demanding that the investigation into Michigan Democratic Party Chairman Mark Brewer’s involvement in a 2010 plot to split the conservative vote in Metro Detroit by running fake Tea Party candidates against establishment Republicans, be reopened.
Here’s a clip:
…Bobby Schostak, chairman of the Michigan Republican Party, today called on his counterpart to step down and is encouraging Oakland County Prosecutor Jessica Cooper to re-open an investigation into the scheme that resulted in two felony convictions.
Mike McGuinness, former chairman of the Oakland County Democratic Party, pleaded no contest to multiple perjury charges for falsifying candidate filing documents and last year was sentenced to probation.
McGuinness — or someone with access to his account — last night posted an explosive comment on the Michigan Liberal blog, accusing Brewer of “cultivating” the scheme and using an “emissary” to request his assistance in the plot.
“I thought I was being a loyal party soldier, doing just what the Republicans would do,” read the post. “I deserve all the scorn I got. I’m not interested in relitigating the past, but I got six felonies and (Brewer) got another term as chair”…
Ostensibly, this is a story about Republicans wanting Brewer’s head for past crimes, but I suspect that the attack, in actuality, is coming from inside the Democratic Party.
I’m not privy to any inside-the-party scuttlebutt, but my sense is that it isn’t just a coincidence that this is happening right now, as we’re fast approaching the February 23 convention of the Michigan Democratic Party, during which members will be electing their next chairperson. Brewer, who is running for his tenth two-year term, has controlled the party since 1995. And, for the first time since 2003, when Jennifer Granholm supported a challenger against him, he’s facing some very real opposition… which shouldn’t really be a surprise to anyone, given the significant ass-kicking Michigan Democrats have suffered these last few years. Not only did he, in the minds of many, completely screw up when he tried to push so many ballot initiatives this last election cycle, instead of just focusing on something like Proposition 2, and making it happen, but he proved to be completely ineffectual against the legislative onslaught of far-right Republicans during the lame duck session, in which 282 Republican bills were forced through the legislature. And it’s really no surprise that, with the passage of right-to-work legislation, his support within the unions is finally starting to crumble.
For years, whenever I’d ask folks why Brewer was still in power, I’d be told that he was untouchable because of his union support. Simply put, I was told that he was the UAW’s man, and, as such, he’d stay right where he was until they found someone else. But, it looks as though change may be on the horizon. The following comes from my friend Chris’s site, Eclectablog.
…Current party Chair Mark Brewer no longer has the support of the UAW, the Teamsters, or of several major Democrats including Congressman Sander Levin. Gongwer and MIRS both report that Bob King of the UAW and James Hoffa of the Teamsters have told Brewer he no longer has their support. Brewer is determined to run anyway.
The battle has already gotten nasty with MIRS reporting that a party insider is calling King’s move “the temper-tantrum school of politics,” saying that he seems “more than happy being in a minority, a shrinking minority, than growing the Democratic Party”…
Not one to give up easily, Brewer is mounting a full-on public relations assault, traveling back and forth across the state, pressing the flesh, and making the case… one would assume… that, despite how shitty things are, he’s the best person we’ve got. (Based on what he says about himself on his website, I think it’s safe to say that he’s confident of his abilities. “Mark Brewer,” the website says, “is the most experienced Michigan Democratic Chair since the 1950′s, and is the most experienced Democratic state party chair in the country.”)
The question, as I see it, isn’t whether or not Brewer should leave, but who should take his place. I’m sure he’s a brilliant guy (I hear he knows more about campaign law than anyone in the state), but I think it’s pretty clear, based on what’s happening all around us, that we need someone who can better articulate a vision, rally an army, develop young leaders across the state, leverage social media, and bring in big money. We need someone who isn’t just thinking about how to put out the next fire, but proactively putting the pieces in place so that we’re moving things in the right direction for the next 50 years. We need someone who has a plan to construct a Democratic answer to the Mackinac Center, and access to donors who can make it happen.
I don’t know the first thing about him, but, according to columnist Jack Lessenberry, the frontrunner in the race against Brewer is a man by the name of Lon Johnson, who Lessenberry calls “a skilled fundraiser with close ties to the Obama Administration.” Granted, I haven’t spent a lot of time looking into Johnson’s qualifications, but, so far, I haven’t found much to demonstrate that he is either a “skilled fundraiser,” or has substantial ties to the Obama administration. All I can find is that he’s a resident of Kalkaska, who ran for the Michigan House in November and narrowly lost to the incumbent Republican, Bruce Rendon. If you know anything more, please leave a comment.
update: Democratic Representative to the Michigan House Jeff Irwin left the following comment on the site today, and I though that I should move it up here, to the front page.
Lon Johnson is a dynamic campaigner and candidate who almost unseated an incumbent Republican in a heavily Republican area. (Lon Johnson gets extra points for running against Rendon, champion of the anti-choice HB 5711 of 2012). If you looked at his campaign finance report you’ll see that he was very successful raising cash for his state house bid from big and small donors.
Johnson also has ties to this area as he successfully ran John Dingell’s 2002 campaign against Lynn Rivers. While I certainly miss Lynn Rivers, there is no question that Lon Johnson ran a great campaign.
Personally, I don’t oppose Brewer. He’s done a lot for the party and his job is an impossible one. He brings quite a lot of expertise and institutional knowledge to the table. Really, nobody should be able to last 18 years in that position and it’s a testament to Brewer’s ability that he has lasted so long. Still, I’m excited to have a viable alternative. Johnson could bring new energy to the party, something we dearly need.
update: Not only has Jeff weighed in, but we’ve also now heard from Mike McGuinness. He left the following this afternoon.
From your post: “I’m not privy to any inside-the-party scuttlebutt, but my sense is that it isn’t just a coincidence that this is happening right now, as we’re fast approaching the February 23 convention of the Michigan Democratic Party, during which members will be electing their next chairperson.”
Yes, I ultimately decided to make my statement prior to the vote, so that Democratic Party members and activists can make an informed judgement. It would be somewhat moot for me to share my two cents on February 24 or after.
I did not make my opinion known earlier as I was the subject of a Grand Jury Investigation, Indictment, Sentencing and Probation. My probation period has just recently ended.
There has been no recruitment or solicitation of my comments. There has been no coordination with any movement for or against any Chair candidate. I am making my statements on my own behalf. In my opinion, further silence was consent to two more years (and counting) of the same.