Advance Notice: Briefs

All Michigan congressional Dems endorse Barnes for party chair

By: - January 30, 2019 11:12 am

Lavora Barnes at MDP’s Best of the West, Sept. 19, 2018 | Paul Kanan

All nine Democratic members of Michigan’s congressional delegation are swinging their support to Lavora Barnes as the next Michigan Democratic Party chair.

The last time this happened in a contested MDP race was in the heated 2013 battle when Lon Johnson earned the entire Democratic congressional delegation’s support, helping him oust then-Chair Mark Brewer.

Debbie Stabenow

Democrats will meet on Saturday at Cobo Hall in Detroit to pick their next leader. Current MDP Chair Brandon Dillon is not running for re-election and is supporting Barnes, along with Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist II, Attorney General Dana Nessel, the UAW and the AFL-CIO.

The other candidates running are: MD Alam, chair of Muslims for [Bernie] Sanders; Patrick Biange, a former gubernatorial and congressional candidate; Greg Bowens, a precinct delegate and 14th Congressional District executive committee member; and Lisa DiRado, a member of both Northville Indivisible and the 11th District Democrats.

On Tuesday, some Democratic activists told the Advance they received a call urging them to support DiRado at the “Democratic National Convention” this weekend.

In a letter signed on Monday obtained by the Michigan Advance, members of Congress wrote that Barnes, who is MDP chief operating officer, has the “vision, experience and commitment to the grassroots” needed to run the party during the 2020 cycle.

Rashida Tlaib

They cited her experience leading former President Barack Obama’s Michigan 2012 campaign and spearheading the “Project 83” organizing effort in every Michigan county during the Dems’ 2018 cycle.

“Every step of the way, Lavora has been committed to growing the grassroots of our party,” they wrote. “She understands that leadership doesn’t just come from ‘the top’ — it’s about ensuring that party leaders, committed volunteers and our activist partners have a voice in what the Party does because they truly know their communities and neighbors best.”

The letter was signed by U.S. Sens. Debbie Stabenow (D-Lansing) and Gary Peters (D-Bloomfield Twp.), as well as U.S. Reps. Dan Kildee (D-Flint), Brenda Lawrence (D-Southfield), Haley Stevens (D-Rochester Hills), Elissa Slotkin (D-Holly), Debbie Dingell (D-Dearborn), Andy Levin (D-Bloomfield Twp.) and Rashida Tlaib (D-Detroit).

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Susan J. Demas

Susan J. Demas is a 21-year journalism veteran and one of the state’s foremost experts on Michigan politics, appearing on MSNBC, CNN, NPR and WKAR-TV’s “Off the Record.” In addition to serving as Editor-in-Chief, she is the Advance’s chief columnist, writing on women, LGBTQs, the state budget, the economy and more. Most recently, she served as Vice President of Farough & Associates, Michigan’s premier political communications firm. For almost five years, Susan was the Editor and Publisher of Inside Michigan Politics, the most-cited political newsletter in the state. Susan’s award-winning political analysis has run in more than 80 national, international and regional media outlets, including the Guardian U.K., NBC News, the New York Times, the Detroit News and MLive. She is the only Michigan journalist to be named to the Washington Post’s list of “Best Political Reporters,” the Huffington Post’s list of “Best Political Tweeters” and the Washington Post’s list of “Best Political Bloggers.” Susan was the recipient of a prestigious Knight Foundation fellowship in nonprofits and politics. She served as Deputy Editor for MIRS News and helped launch the Michigan Truth Squad, the Center for Michigan’s fact-checking project. She started her journalism career reporting on the Iowa caucuses for The (Cedar Rapids) Gazette. Susan has hiked over 4,000 solo miles across four continents and climbed more than 70 mountains. She also enjoys dragging her husband and two teenagers along, even if no one else wants to sleep in a tent anymore.