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Michigan Democratic Party

Democratic strategist T.J. Bucholz of Vanguard Public Affairs (left) and Republican strategist Matt Marsden with RevSix Data Systems
Photos courtesy of T.J. Bucholz and Matt Marsden

America needs some healing.

The long, hard, bitter campaign left deep divisions and many are wondering what it will take to bring us together as Americans -- to give us a sense of being on the same team.

Is that even possible in 2016?

To make sense of it all, Democratic strategist T.J. Bucholz of Vanguard Public Affairs and Republican strategist Matt Marsden with RevSix Data Systems joined Stateside to break it all down.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

There’s some mystery about who’s trying to rally support for Libertarian Party candidates in two Michigan state House races.

In recent weeks, fliers promoting the Libertarians starting showing up in mail boxes at homes in the 61st (Portage, MI) and 91st (parts of Muskegon County) districts.   The fliers tout the Libertarians conservative credentials.   But the fliers don’t say who’s behind them. 

Suzanna Shkreli, the Democratic Party's candidate for Michigan's 8th Congressional District.
Suzanna Shkreli / Facebook

The race in the 8th Congressional District has been interesting this year.

First, Melissa Gilbert, the former child star of TV’s Little House on the Prairie, became the Democratic challenger to incumbent Republican Mike Bishop. Then, Gilbert dropped out and the Democrats had to pick a new candidate. They chose a Macomb County assistant prosecutor, Suzanna Shkreli.

Shkreli joined Stateside to talk about her campaign and what she hopes to bring to the voters in the 8th District

Postcards like this one were mailed out by the Michigan Democratic Party to urge voters to mail in absentee ballots.
Paul Kanan / Michigan Democratic Party

The Michigan Democratic Party wants to make sure all voters who got absentee ballots turn them in on time. But some recipients have been confused.

Several voters have called their county clerk's office to ask about postcards, which were only sent to absentee voters who have yet to mail their ballots in.

Michigan Democratic Party spokesman Paul Kanan says the postcards were never meant to confuse anybody, but instead, to encourage them to vote on time.

“We just want to make sure that everybody who wants to vote does vote and has their vote counted,” Kanan says.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Campaign spending on 15 pivotal state House seats tops $10 million, according to the Michigan Campaign Finance Network. 

Democrats need to win nine state House seats currently held by Republicans to wrest control of the lower chamber in Lansing. And both sides are spending heavily.

WWW.MICHIGANDEMS.COM/LON

Taking up more than 25,000 square miles, Michigan's 1st Congressional District is the biggest in the state. It makes up the entire Upper Peninsula and much of the upper part of the Lower Peninsula. It represents almost half of the state's total land area, but only represents roughly 700,000 people. 

The congressional race in Michigan's 1st has become a tight one as former Democratic Chairperson Lon Johnson is running against retired three-star U.S. Marine general Jack Bergman. Michigan Radio's Jack Lessenberry called it Michigan's hottest Congressional race.

Johnson brings a wealth of connections from his days as the party's chair, but will face an uphill climb in a district that historically leans Republican. 

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Democrats and Republicans are spending heavily on TV ad buys to sway voters in a handful of state house elections.

Democrats need to win 9 seats currently held by Republicans next month to take control of the state house.    

The Michigan House of Representatives in Lansing.
Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

Michigan's House Democrats are looking to take control of the chamber this November, but that won't be easy.

The Democrats need to win at least 56 of 110 seats to have a House majority. They currently hold 46.

The Associated Press reports that the Democrats do have some advantages that should spur optimism going into the November election. 

More from the Associated Press:

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - Conditions are ideal for Democrats to bolster their ranks in the Michigan Legislature, but capturing a House majority to end Republican control of state government could be elusive.

  Democrats' advantages include higher voter turnout for the presidential election and the departure of dozens of Republicans who cannot run again under term limits. Democrats have gained House seats in every presidential contest since 2004.

michigan.gov / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Michigan Republicans and Democrats held their summer nominating conventions over the weekend. 

Our It's Just Politics team of Zoe Clark and Rick Pluta sat down with us today to break down both conventions.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

The focus is on the November elections with the Republican and Democratic summer nominating conventions wrapped up. Democrats, following their meeting over the weekend in Lansing, are hoping presidential nominee Hillary Clinton will lead them to a string of down-ballot victories if she wins the White House.

“We know in Michigan, that when our voters turn out, we win,” says Michigan Democratic Party Chair Brandon Dillon. “Our voters tend to turn out better in presidential elections, but this is an interesting year.”

State Rep. Brian Banks was arraigned this week on charges of providing false information on a bank loan application in 2010.
Michigan House of Representatives / Public Domain

The Michigan Freedom Fund's website describes the group as supporting political conservatives who beat up bad policy that favors big business, big banks, big Wall Street bailouts and big government.

This week the chairman of the group, Greg McNeilly, wrote an opinion piece in The Detroit News calling some Democrats hypocrites because they have been lecturing Republicans about the need to distance themselves from their presidential nominee, Donald Trump, while making campaign donations to Democratic state Representative Brian Banks. 

Rep. Banks was arraigned this week on charges related to using false pay stubs when trying to obtain a bank loan. He faces three felony charges and one misdemeanor.

Michigan Democrats will be gathering at the Lansing Center on Saturday for their state convention.
Public Domain / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

The Democrats are gathering for their state convention in Lansing tomorrow, and the Republicans are holding their convention in Grand Rapids today and tomorrow.

Ken Sikkema​ and Susan Demas joined us today for our weekly political roundup.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Michigan Democrats will hold their state party convention in Lansing on Saturday.

This weekend’s convention may end up reflecting former presidential candidate’s Bernie Sanders' policies as much as party presidential nominee Hillary Clinton.

Jack Lessenberry
Michigan Radio

This Week in Michigan Politics Jack Lessenberry and Doug Tribou discuss accusations that Republicans are shielding Gov. Snyder from accountability in the Flint water crisis and a set of bills that would legalize doctor-assisted suicide in Michigan. Lessenberry and Tribou also look at the state's plan to warn struggling school districts they might be closed at the end of this school year and a former Michigan governor who was ousted by his own party.  


steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Michigan’s Democratic Party leader is accusing Republicans of “shielding” Gov. Rick Snyder from accountability for the Flint water crisis.

Brandon Dillon is the Michigan Democratic Party chairman. At the first of a series of news conferences today, Dillon spoke in Flint about the need to not let the governor “off the hook.”

“Anybody, whether they were a state employee or a political appointee right up to the governor himself, need to be held accountable,” Dillon said, “And the Republican Legislature has so far has been shielding him at all costs.”

Susan Demas says there was a stark contrast between the DNC (pictured) and the RNC.
Lorie Shaull / Flickr - http://bit.ly/1rFrzRK

The national conventions for the Republicans and Democrats are officially in the books, and the two candidates have been officially chosen. While Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton start to make their final push toward November, there is also a primary election fast approaching here in Michigan.

If you were unaware of the August 2 primary, you're probably not alone as the turnouts for primary elections are usually pretty "dismal," according to Susan Demas of Inside Michigan Politics. But can the recent buzz from the DNC and the RNC boost the turnout? Ken Sikkema, a senior policy fellow at Public Sector Consultants, doesn't believe it will. In fact, if anything, he thinks with the wall-to-wall TV coverage of both conventions, the public may be a little burned out when it comes to politics.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

The head of Michigan’s state Democratic Party says his party is largely unified coming out of this week’s Democratic National Convention.

State chairman Brandon Dillon spent a lot of time during the four-day convention trying to calm and cajole Bernie Sanders delegates and supporters in Michigan’s delegation, not always successfully.

Still, Dillon says the news media has overstated the number of Sanders backers who plan to bolt the Democratic Party.

Congresswoman Debbie Dingell
Atlantic Council / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Are Bernie Sanders supporters ready to back Hillary Clinton as the Democrat’s presidential nominee? The answer seems unclear, as the Democratic National Convention’s opening ceremony had mixed responses coming from the crowd on Monday.

Congresswoman Debbie Dingell welcomed last night’s DNC discourse with open arms because of its unscripted nature.

Gorchow told us that we need to be more skeptical of polls.
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

DETROIT (AP) - A federal judge has blocked Michigan's new ban on straight-party voting, a law that was passed by Republicans but criticized by Democrats as a way to discourage turnout among minorities.

Judge Gershwin Drain signed an injunction Thursday, a week after hearing arguments. He says the law would place a "disproportionate burden" on the rights of blacks to vote in the fall election.

Lawyers say more than 70 percent of ballots in Detroit and Flint have been cast as straight-party - votes that go for all candidates of one party with just a single mark.

A protester holds an anti-Donald Trump sign outside the Republican National Convention in Cleveland on Monday.
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

If you live in Michigan and haven't decided which presidential candidate you'll vote for this November, you're far from alone.

A recent poll conducted by the Lansing-based Marketing Resource Group shows a staggering 32% of Michigan voters have yet to settle on a candidate.

That's bigger than the share of voters supporting the current leader, Hillary Clinton. The presumptive Democratic nominee currently holds an advantage over Republican nominee Donald Trump, as she claimed support from 34% of the 800 likely voters MRG surveyed. Trump registered 29% support. 

Left: SUZANNA SHKRELI FOR CONGRESS/FACEBOOK Right: mikebishop.house.gov / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

This week the Democratic party chose a candidate for the 8th Congressional District. 

29-year-old Suzanna Shkreli is seeking to replace actor Melissa Gilbert, who has unofficially withdrawn for health reasons.

Shkreli has never held political office. She's an assistant prosecutor in Macomb County.

Jewell Jones
Campaign video screen grab

Democratic precinct delegates have selected a new candidate to run for a Detroit-area state House seat.

Inkster City Councilman Jewell Jones will replace the late Rep. Julie Plawecki on the August 2 primary ballot.

Jonathan Kinloch, chair of the 13th Congressional District Democratic Party, says delegates selected Jones based on his active engagement in the party and in his community.

Julie Plawecki
http://housedems.com/

The sudden death of state Rep. Julie Plawecki last weekend left a vacancy on the August Democratic primary ballot. 

Plawecki was running unopposed in the 11th House District, which includes Dearborn Heights, Inkster and Garden City. 

Jonathan Kinloch, chair of the 13th Congressional District Democratic Party, says precinct delegates will meet next week to start the process of finding a new candidate.

Michigan state Rep. Plawecki dies at age 54

Jun 26, 2016
http://housedems.com/

State Rep. Julie Plawecki, D-Dearborn Heights, has died while hiking with a daughter in Oregon. She was 54.

State Sen. David Knezek, a fellow Democrat from Dearborn Heights, announced Plawecki's death late Saturday night on Facebook. House Minority Leader Tim Greimel released a statement Sunday saying the caucus was deeply saddened by her death. A spokeswoman for Greimel, Katie Carey, said Plawecki's family said she died of an apparent heart attack.

user eyspahn / flickr http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

This weekend, Michigan Democrats will select most of the state party’s delegates to this summer’s convention.

State Party Chairman Brandon Dillon expects Saturday’s district meetings will go smoothly and avoid the fights between Sanders and Clinton supporters seen recently in Nevada.

“We don’t anticipate any major problems and are confident that things will go as smoothly as possible,” says Dillon.

Steve Monti is a Bernie Sanders supporter.  He’s running to be an alternate at the Democratic convention in Philadelphia.    

Bernie Sanders speaking in Traverse City, Michigan.
Todd Church / Flickr

He may have won Michigan's Democratic primary in March, but now Sanders’ campaign wants to make sure the delegates he won, actually stick with him.

“We need to ensure delegates committing to Bernie are 100% committed Bernie supporters who will not change their vote during the second or third rounds of voting at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia in July,” an email sent Tuesday from the Michigan for Bernie campaign states.

“We need you to join the Michigan Democratic Party so you can be a member before the April 21st deadline.”

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - Political pressure for seats in the Michigan House is revving up as the candidate filing deadline approaches on Tuesday.

While Republican strategists largely contest the opinion, some Democrats say 2016 could be the best shot they have had to seize back the House from GOP control since 2010, when Republicans scored a landslide 20-seat victory. That was the largest seat swap since 1964.

Ann Arbor Democratic Rep. Adam Zemke, a Democrat campaign leader, says, "Everything is lined up for us in 2016."

Rocky2016.com

If you’re voting in Michigan’s Democratic presidential primary on Tuesday, your choices on the ballot are Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, Martin O’Malley (who suspended his campaign) … and a guy named Roque “Rocky” De La Fuente.

So, who is that last guy?

De La Fuente, according to his campaign website, is a San Diego businessman and car dealership owner.

CNN

Democratic presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders didn’t agree on much during Sunday’s debate in Flint.

But both want Republican Governor Rick Snyder to resign for his administration’s handling of the Flint water crisis.

“His dereliction of duty was irresponsible. He should resign,” Sen. Sanders (D-VT) said from the stage at the Whiting auditorium.  A statement which drew applause from the partisan audience. 

A few minutes later, Hillary Clinton echoed Sanders’s call.

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