Political party activists to elect leaders
By KATHY BARKS HOFFMAN, AP Political Writer
LANSING, Feb. 21, 2009 (AP): Michigan Republicans chose Ron Weiser as their new party chairman Saturday in Lansing while Democrats re-elected Mark Brewer when they met in Detroit at Cobo Hall on Saturday, Feb. 21.
Brewer already has matched Neil Staebler's record as the longest serving Democratic party head in Michigan. Staebler ran the party from 1949-1960.
Brewer was state chairman from 1995 through early 2003 and then served two years as the party's executive chairman in a power-sharing arrangement with Melvin ``Butch'' Hollowell. Brewer, of Macomb County's Clinton Township, has been the party's sole chairman since 2005.
Republicans were expected to vote to replace outgoing Chairman Saul Anuzis of Eaton County's Delta Township with Weiser, a retired Ann Arbor businessman who was a national co-chairman last year of John McCain's unsuccessful presidential campaign.
Weiser has said part of his new job will be to unify the party after a rocky year. In 2008, Michigan Republicans lost the presidential contest, with Barack Obama beating John McCain by 16 percent.
Republicans also saw two of their congressional incumbents lose to Democrats. Democratic candidates also grabbed a state Supreme Court seat and increased their state House majority by nine seats.
Thousands of state GOP activists gathered Friday and Saturday at the Lansing Center to look for a new direction heading into 2010, when the seats now held by Democratic Gov. Jennifer Granholm and Republican Attorney General Mike Cox and Secretary of State Terri Lynn Land will be open because of term limits.
Both Land and Cox plan to run for governor, as does state Sen. Tom George, R-Texas Township. The race for all three spots could grow more crowded in coming months.
Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour, a former Republican National Committee chairman, spoke at the GOP convention Friday night, as did radio talk show host Frank Beckmann of WJR-AM.
Even though Michigan Democrats did well in 2008, it wasn’t smooth sailing when they met at Cobo Hall on Saturday. Factions of the party fought over whether to hold a presidential primary or caucus, and whether it was wise to break national party rules by moving up the primary to mid-January.
There were differing opinions on whether the state should hold a do-over primary, as well as some friction between backers of Sens. Hillary Rodham Clinton and Barack Obama. But most of the infighting disappeared by the Democratic National Convention.
With Granholm stepping down, Lt. Gov. John Cherry is working to be seen as the natural choice for Democrats to back in the 2010 governor's race, although others also are eying a run. Democrats also hope to win back the attorney general and secretary of state seats, win one more spot—and a majority—on the Michigan Supreme Court and gain control of the state Senate for the first time since 1983.
Democrats presented a tribute for U.S. Rep. John Dingell of Dearborn, who on Feb. 11 became the longest-serving member of the U.S. House.
The Michigan Democratic Party’s Hispanic/Latino Caucus (MDPHLC) hosted a membership-meeting at from 10-12 noon, in Room W2-62 of Cobo Hall.
According to MDPHLC Chair Larry C. Arreguin there was a presentation on the Latino Vote in 2008 and what that means in Michigan. If you would like more information, feel free to contact Arreguin by email, at: [email protected]
On the Net: Michigan Republican Party: http://www.migop.org
Michigan Democratic Party: http://www.michigandems.com