Michigan Democrats

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.

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.

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.

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. 

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

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

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.    

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."


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.

As we head into the final month of 2015, campaigns in Michigan are already ramping up for Election 2016.

Michigan Democrats pick Brandon Dillon as new leader

Jul 11, 2015

PORT HURON, Mich. (AP) - The Michigan Democratic Party has elected state Rep. Brandon Dillon as its new party chairman to succeed Lon Johnson, who is resigning to run for Congress. 

The State Central Committee met Saturday in Port Huron, where delegates chose the Grand Rapids lawmaker to lead the party.

Johnson last month announced his candidacy for the 1st Congressional District that includes all of the Upper Peninsula and the northern Lower Peninsula. He was party chairman for more than two years.


Michigan Democrats held their party convention in Detroit over the weekend.

Their mission was to choose their top leader and to figure out how to win come Election Day 2016.

The first order of business was easy: Chairman Lon Johnson had no competition for the top leadership spot.

The second order of business, however, was a bit more involved.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

DETROIT (AP) - Michigan Democrats are gathering to conduct party business and to re-elect their leader for another two-year term.

Lon Johnson is expected to be chosen as chairman again at the party's convention Saturday afternoon in Detroit. He took charge in 2013.

  He says the party's infrastructure has improved under his watch, but Democrats have to start winning races.

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

It’s already been a month since Election Day, but Democrats in Michigan are continuing to sort out just what happened.

It’s fair to say it wasn’t all bad for Democrats. 

Gov. Rick Snyder has been elected to a second term.
Wikimedia Commons

This Week in Michigan Politics, Emily Fox and Jack Lessenberry review Election Day in Michigan including voter turnout, victories and disappointments for both parties, and what yesterday’s results could mean for the next four years.

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President Obama told a Detroit crowd Saturday that Democrats can pull off some big victories in Michigan races this Tuesday – if there’s a “sense of urgency” about getting out the vote.

The president rallied an exuberant crowd of more than 6,000 on the Wayne State University campus.

He urged them to sustain that energy over the next three days, and use it to get fellow Democrats to the polls.      

Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

This Week in Review, Jack Lessenberry and Rina Miller discuss who’ll be more hurt by low voter turnout on Tuesday, more Congressional race surprises, and a Detroit developer who dropped $3.1 million on some of the city's worst properties.

Kenny Karpov / via Facebook

With just days to go before the election, the Michigan Governor’s race appears too close to call.

But one thing is for sure: if Democrat Mark Schauer is going to have a shot, voters in heavily-Democratic Detroit need to turn out.

Even though Michigan politics have changed a lot over the years, that one fact has stayed pretty much the same for Democrats in statewide races.

First Lady Michelle Obama headlined a campaign event for Michigan Democrats in Detroit Friday.

The First Lady got a warm, energetic reception from the crowd at the Detroit Music Hall.

She encouraged them to sustain that energy right through election day.

Mrs. Obama praised the Democrats running at the top of the ticket: Mark Schauer for Governor, and Gary Peters for US Senate.  

She told the crowd that Democrats fare better when voter turnout is high—and it’s especially important in Detroit.

My guess is that Jerry Cannon is pretty upset today, and so are Pam Byrnes, Eric Schertzing and Bobby McKenzie.

They are all Democratic candidates for Congress in Michigan. They’ve been working their tails off for months trying to make some headway, three of them against Republican incumbents.

Cannon, a Vietnam veteran and former Kalkaska sheriff, was heavily recruited for the race by Lon Johnson, the new Democratic state chair. McKenzie, an anti-terrorism expert, and gave up a good job with the state department to come back and run.

Some years ago, I was studying some primitive TV campaign ads. One of them featured candidate Dwight D. Eisenhower being asked by a housewife, "Well, the Democrats have made mistakes, but weren't their intentions good?"

Squinting at cue cards, the nearsighted Ike replied woodenly, "Well, if you have a school bus driver who goes off the road, hits a pole and lands in a ditch you don't say his intentions are good. You get a new bus driver." 

Last night I thought it might be a good idea to send that ad to Governor Rick Snyder, with a note: Think about Aramark.

The Michigan Democratic Party is expanding its effort to kickstart the absentee voting process online.

Party officials announced Thursday that voters statewide can now apply for absentee ballots online, through the website miabsentee.com.

The site is designed for mobile internet devices. MDP chair Lon Johnson said this is about merging two trends: more people choosing absentee voting, and the growing use of mobile devices.

Rick Pluta / MPRN

Republicans and Democrats held their state party conventions over the weekend.

The GOP met in the Detroit suburb of Novi. Democrats were in Lansing. Their purpose was to nominate a slate of statewide candidates, and promote party unity going into November, and they succeeded. Partially.

The conventions’ legal purpose is to select candidates for the November ballot, but they’re also a chance to fire up the party faithful. And there’s always a goal of broadcasting the impression of an excited, unified party, and, frankly, to avoid big drama that makes big news.

Both major political parties have their state conventions this week. Republicans are meeting in Novi; Democrats in Lansing.

There’s always an element of the high school reunion about these conventions; people, including the press, look forward to them in part because they get to see old friends.

However, there are also squabbles.

Most of this year’s focus has been on the Republican gathering, where Tea Party insurgents are attempting to throw Lieutenant Governor Brian Calley off the ticket.

Democrats, however, have their own struggle behind the scenes.

In case you are new to this, these conventions actually nominate most of each party’s candidates for statewide office.

Detroit voters will now be able to access, sign and submit absentee ballot applications on their smartphones.

Detroit city clerk Janice Winfrey and Michigan Democratic Party Chair Lon Johnson announced the new initiative Wednesday.

Winfrey said it’s simply a matter of meeting voters where they tend to be these days—online.

“So why not? Why not be able to use their smartphone to request an absentee ballot?” Winfrey asked.

Today marks the 1,000th day that Amir Hekmati has been in an Iranian prison. U.S. Congressman Dan Kildee, D-Flint, joined us to discuss what is being done to free the Michigan Marine. 

And it's morel hunting season in Michigan. A top morel hunter and chef joined us on the program today.

Next, the BBC's Justin Webb went for a test drive in one of Google's driverless cars. 

Then, the Republican's minimum-wage bill cleared the state Senate last week, and could demolish Raise Michigan's petition drive that would set minimum wage even higher. 

T-shirts at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C.
Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

Should the Democratic Party in Michigan be looking for a new ally– one that is traditionally seen as having closer ties with the GOP?

MLive columnist Rick Haglund thinks the answer is yes. He thinks that Democrats in Michigan would be wise to join forces with big business. 

And, Mark Brewer, former chair of the Michigan Democratic Party, agrees. 

They both joined us on Stateside. 

*Listen to the full interview above.