Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Blue America-Backed Fred Johnson Scores A Solid Win In Michigan Primary


We were pretty certain Fred would win, and he won convincingly: around 60% of the Democratic primary voters went for him in Michigan's Second Congressional District, between the western suburbs of Grand Rapids and Lake Michigan and stretching from Allegan County all the way up to Benzie County. I spoke with him late last night, and he was feeling more than ready to take on either ex-state Rep. Bill Huizenga or local Family Research Council kook Jay Riemersma between now and November, whichever one winds up winning their neck and neck primary that is probably headed for a recount.
I'm delighted, first of all, with the great show of unity in tonight's results. It shows that folks remember me in a positive light from 2008. That's been the idea all along-- to build on our respectable showing against Pete Hoekstra in 2008. It's great to be able to head into the fall campaign knowing that Democrats are solidly behind my candidacy.

Having said that, the road ahead is bumpier. You're well aware of the history of the district-- been red since Moses was a baby, and all that. So, while it's challenging, it's not impossible to turn a district like this one. We take great heart in the fact that Senator Levin won here in '08, and the President only missed winning by less than two thousand votes. There is great movement taking place here. Look at what they call the "surge" voters-- the ones who voted for the first time in '08, and heavily for Obama. We have forty four thousand of them here in the second district-- one of the highest numbers in the country. If we can get them energized and out to vote again, we've got a real, real shot at this thing.

And that's really why I'm in this again. With the seat opening up because of Pete's [failed] gubernatorial run, we can get this done. And it's extremely important that we do. Look at the direction of the Republican party nationally, and here on the Lakeshore. There's just this incredibly partisan, win-at-all-costs mentality. It's like they just can't bear being out of power. So, they put roadblocks in front of everything. I mean everything. Name the last bill that didn't get filibustered in the Senate, or that they didn't try some procedural stuff with in the House. Even this bill for the 9/11 responders. I mean, are they serious about all this rubbish? They're willing to cross their own professed "values" just to stop the White House from winning on anything. It's utterly ridiculous.

And that's reflected very strongly in tonight's result in our district. If nominating the Midwest Regional Director of the Family Research Council-- which looks likely at this moment-- doesn't tell you all you need to know about the direction they're taking, then you're just not paying attention. And they'll try to make a "rock star" out of him, undoubtedly. That's what's so alarming about tonight's likely result on their side. This is a guy who made millions in the NFL, then slid into this job at the FRC. No experience at doing much of anything in the political world. There's really nothing to him, other than the radical rhetoric. So, while I'm a bit disheartened that voters here would actually nominate Jay, I'm also fired up about taking him on. There won't be any guessing necessary on the part of the voters. They'll know what kind of a choice they have.

And the netroots are starting to become more aware of this race, too-- thanks in large part to your work, and the Blue America endorsement. We've been really impressed with the support we've received via your Act Blue page. And we're going to need the netroots even more going forward. My campaign staff really expect to see an outpouring of money from the Family Research Council membership, now that Jay is nominated. So, there you go-- it's game on between the progressives and the social conservatives. That's a flag I'm proud to fly, and I'll tell it like it is, you can be sure of that. It's going to be very interesting, I think, to see what happens when you pit a strong, progressive candidate against a die-hard Christian right candidate. This district is used to kind of milque-toast type candidates-- although Pete Hoekstra is obviously way more extreme than he's perceived around here. So, again, it really is game on... we'll see whose grassroots are stronger.

Even if times are tough, if you can please consider even $5.00 or $10.00 for Fred's general election campaign.

UPDATE: 660 Vote Margin On The Far, Far, Far Right

With 100% of precincts now reporting, Bill Huizenga-- former District Chief of Staff to Pete Hoekstra-- is being declared the victor by local press. He has a 660 vote margin over Jay Riemersma, who is waiting on the 48 hour verification of ballots in Ottawa County before deciding whether to concede or pursue a recount. If Huizenga does become the nominee, as seems likely now, it does little to change the dynamic of this race. It becomes Pete Hoekstra redux, complete with all the ties to the sleazy DeVos and VanAndel families (Amway-- pollution of the Thornapple River, and the pyramid-like business model), and the Prince family (er...Blackwater, anyone?). A doctrinaire social and economic conservative, Huizenga would continue the Hoekstra legacy of bending with whichever way the partisan winds are blowing, currently, very extremist.

Riemersma won't be pursuing a recount after all and some say he lost because he was caught trying to steal the eelction, illegally coordinating negative campaign strategy-- and large expenditures-- with a shady religious right group, a tactic Republicans normally just use against Democrats.

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