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.
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.
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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