A few weeks ago, in my Big Formal Thank You diary, I closed with the following:
Anyway, I’ll have more to say about what I’m going to be doing to combat the Michigan GOP this November in a future diary. For now, I’m just going to ask you to remember how dedicated I’ve been to the ACA Signups project the past 6 months...and think about how much dedication I’m capable of bringing to the 2014 general election.
Below the fold, it's time to explain myself.
It's not any Top Secret Project or anything; it's pretty pedestrian, but this means a lot to me.
Michigan is currently overrun by Republicans due to the Great Red Tide of 2010. They're running everything--the Governor's mansion, a supermajority in the state Senate, a small majority in the state House, control of the state Supreme Court, the Attorney General and Secretary of State. They have ironclad control over everything, and have been going absolutely drunk with power.
This is how we ended up with the cradle of the union movement going Right to Work.
This is how we ended up with 200+ rape victims per year being fined & punished for their "crime".
This is how we ended up with the disastrous "Education Achievement Authority" running roughshod over the entire public school system (with the express long-term intent of destroying it).
This is how we ended up with the utterly undemocratic Emergency Manager Law which allows the Governor to wipe out every legally elected official in entire cities with a thumbs up or down.
This is how we ended up with a grown woman and elected State Representative being chastised and formally censured for daring to utter the word "vagina."
The bottom line is that the past 3 1/2 years have been an utter disaster for Michigan.
Now, we have a great gubernatorial candidate in Mark Schauer (who also had the good sense to pick Lisa Brown--referenced immediately above--as his running mate).
We have an excellent replacement for Carl Levin in the Senate with Gary Peters.
We have a great Attorney General candidate by the name of Mark Totten.
However, that's not what this diary is about.
You see, while control over the state Senate is probably a pipe dream (we're down 12 to 26, and the Dems haven't controlled the Senate in longer than I can remember), we do have a better-than-decent shot at regaining control over the state House of Representatives.
There's 110 House seats in Michigan, and we only need a net gain of 6 seats to regain control (or 5 if Schauer/Brown win the Gov/Lt. Gov races, of course).
Now, one of those GOP-held seats happens to (unfortunately) be the one I live in: MI-HD 40. The 40th House District includes the cities of Birmingham and Bloomfield Hills, as well as Bloomfield Township (where I live) and a portion of West Bloomfield Township.
You may recognize "Bloomfield Hills" as being associated with a guy named Mitt Romney. That's right, I live in Mittens' old stomping ground, right up the street from Cranbrook (aka the place where he bullied and assaulted a fellow student for being gay back in 1965).
But I digress.
As you can imagine, the 40th district is fairly Republican-leaning. In 2012 (a Presidential election year with solid turnout), the Democratic candidate only managed to nab 40.6%. This was actually 8% better than the horrific 2010 election, where the Dem only got 32.6%.
However, here's the thing: The district itself, while certainly red-leaning, isn't that lopsided; it's actually more like 56/44. You see, neither the 2010 or 2012 candidates were running real campaigns. One was a pure "fill a blank spot on the ballot" candidate; the other had no campaign to speak of.
A month or so ago I was at the peak of my media exposure level. NPR, Newsweek, the New York Times, Washington Post, Vox, LA Times, Forbes...I was being interviewed or quoted by everyone and their brother. As it happens, this was also just before the primary filing deadline here in Michigan, which popped up around late April. And by the middle of the month, no one had filed to run at all.
Even though I was exhausted from the ACA Signups project, and even though I was way behind on my own paying client projects, and even though I hate public speaking (not to mention wearing a suit and commuting to work), this just wouldn't do. I couldn't stand the thought of allowing our GOP State Rep, a party-line guy named Mike McCready, of having a completely free ride.
And so, I decided that if no one else was willing to step up to the plate, I'd go for it and run myself. I might not be able to run anything beyond a "fill the ballot" race, but that would still be better than no candidate at all. Two days later, I was hit with a nasty case of shingles, which would have made even that minimal level of commitment iffy (it's been a month and I'm just now starting to work full days, meaning I'm even farther behind).
This brings me to Mary Belden.
Mary stepped up to bat and decided to run right when it looked like we wouldn't have a candidate to speak of...and not only is she running, she's running a real campaign
I know Mary from our work together on the successful One Bloomfield United campaign for our new high school bond proposal a couple of years ago.
Mary has been actively involved in various public education issues for years, and will be a strong voice for public ed in Lansing at a time when Michigan needs it the most.
She's a staunch defender of women's rights, both in terms of reproductive freedom and pay equity. She supports marriage equality and health care reform (in fact, she was one of the 4,000+ folks who made a donation to me here via the dKos fundraiser).
Mary is an all-around good egg, a smart and tough advocate for the common good, and while she got into the race late in the game, I assure you that she's taking this race very, very seriously.
Mary knows that she's got an uphill climb. It's not that McCready is particularly beloved or anything, but he is the incumbent in a GOP-leaning district, in a midterm year. It's not gonna be easy.
However, Mary is gonna give McCready a run for his money. Speaking of which...
Mary's Campaign Website
Mary's Facebook Page
I'm very much aware that the dKos community came through for me personally a month or so ago. I'm incredibly grateful, and realize that it's a bit crass to ask for your help (albeit for someone else) again. Plus, of course, I'm very much aware that there's a gazillion other candidates out there who are equally deserving of support. All I can say is that aside from my personal connection to this race, symbolically it would be huge for a progressive Democrat to take office in Mitt Romney's home town.
It may be presumptive of me to assume that my fellow Kossacks would support me if I were running for office, but I'd like to think that they would. Since I'm unable to do so, I'm asking you to help Mary out instead.