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Barb Byrum not running for Congress

by: Eric B.

Tue Apr 08, 2014 at 13:15:57 PM EDT

This is a few hours old, but I trust no one died for lack of this information.

LANSING, MI -- Ingham County Clerk Barb Byrum will not run for Congress.

Byrum, a Democrat who considered a bid to replace U.S. Rep Mike Rogers, R-Brighton, said Tuesday she will stay at her elected position in Mason.

"While partisan gridlock in Congress prevents anything meaningful from being accomplished, my work here in Michigan has a real effect on people’s lives and that’s what drives my commitment to public service," Byrum said in a statement.

“After carefully considering a run for Congress, I have determined that I can best serve the residents of Michigan by continuing my role as Ingham County Clerk,” Bryum added.

Stay tuned.

P.S. This statement implies, at least to me, that she may not be terribly interested in being the Secretary of State nominee, either.

P.P.S. Talked to a couple of people - one who knows Barb and one who knows people in the party. The picture painted for me confirms that I am wise to infer from her statement that she isn't interested in being Secretary of State candidate.

Eric B. :: Barb Byrum not running for Congress
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Who's left?
Everyone must be talking to Grebner and getting scared out of running... But seriously who's left that would make a credible candidate?

This is getting sort of pathetic real quick.

The Ingham County Treasurer.
Eric Schertzing.

Great Lakes, Great Times.

[ Parent ]
Am guessing that when Barb talked to the DCCC
They didn't give her any support.  

[ Parent ]
DCCC support is getting WAY too much credibility
The more I read about them, the more it seems like securing the DCCC's blessing is like a country in financial crisis getting loans from the IMF and World Bank.

The money might be good, but the attached strings -- draconian "austerity-based" spending cuts for nations, embracing Blue Dog-Third Way anti-progressive BS and taking on high-priced consultants for House candidates -- really call into question whether it's all worth it.

If Barb Byrum really wanted to run, she should just do it. Fuck the DCCC. A total shoestring campaign costing just a few thousand dollars up front and surviving on ActBlue and local donors -- one that only reaches the Dem base and ends up with 40% in November -- is STILL beneficial to the statewide races.

The more good candidates there are on a ballot in any community, the more likely left-leaning voters in that community will simply vote Straight Democrat.

"The two most common elements in the universe are hydrogen and stupidity." ~ Harlan Ellison

[ Parent ]
Money, money, money, money
DCCC support = campaign cash.  It's really that simple. The system I observe is that unless DCCC anoints you,  you don't get national money that's essentially a bundling operation involving safe incumbents, their campaign accounts, leadership PACs plus institutional money from affiliated groups.  Without the DCCC blessing,  major in-state donors also are much less likely to prioritize your race.  

It sucks to be a Democrat running for congress.  

[ Parent ]
If all the extra money does is change a 58-42 into a 56-44, was it worth it?
Particularly if the voters you NEEDED to come represent the Dem base that we're so desperately trying to reach to help Schauer, Peters, Totten and our other statewide candidates.

"The two most common elements in the universe are hydrogen and stupidity." ~ Harlan Ellison

[ Parent ]
I wish I could give your comment a rating higher than "Great"
In less than 200 words, you summed up what is wrong with the Democratic Party.

I'd rather give my money to the panhandlers outside Comerica Park--even if I knew they'd spend it on rotgut liquor--than to the DCCC for the very reason you mentioned: it goes to pollsters, consultants, and strategists who care only about their own career, have no understanding of the district their candidate is running in, and have don't give a rat's patoot what the party has traditionally stood for.  

A government that robs Peter to pay Paul can always count on the support of Paul.

[ Parent ]
No! I tell them they SHOULD run.
Running for Congress could be a lot of fun, and a great resume builder.  If done well, it could help the whole ticket, embarrass the Republicans, and help rebuild the Democratic Party.

I just tell them not to put their houses on the market, because they won't be moving to Washington afterwards.  

[ Parent ]
With that approach, YOU should run
The heavy lift is getting the signatures in the next 10-11 days.

But after that, if you don't give a damn about meeting ridiculous fundraising goals and spend your time whipping up the Democratic Base voters, you'd be HELPING, simply by not giving an idiot like Mike Bishop a free ticket to federal office.

Not to mention that we'd finally have SOMEONE who would commit to following your GOTV strategy 100%. A real-world test where theory meets reality could be VERY instructive to future candidates.

"The two most common elements in the universe are hydrogen and stupidity." ~ Harlan Ellison

[ Parent ]
No - not me.
My appeal is pretty much limited to people who get home delivery of the NY Times, and outside Ingham County I wouldn't run much ahead of Wavy Gravy (a '60s reference).

GOTV shouldn't be run at the candidate level anyway; it ought to be the primary (or only) focus of the Democratic Party.

I'm gradually coming around to Howard Dean's "fifty state strategy" - we should make at least a moderate effort EVERYWHERE, because we're abandoning hundreds of thousands of sympathetic voters who happen to live in Republican areas.  If you look at the tallies, you discover something like 25,000 people voted for Obama in Livingston - without any encouragement from local candidates, the Obama campaign, or the MDP.  I bet there were 5000 more we could have found if we looked.  That's not enough to make Livingston Democratic, but we're fools to write them off.

[ Parent ]
"I'm gradually coming around to Howard Dean's 'fifty state strategy'"
"[We} should make at least a moderate effort EVERYWHERE, because we're abandoning hundreds of thousands of sympathetic voters who happen to live in Republican areas."

I'll give you an example where Democrats are failing to do that--Louisiana.  Here's what I wrote about that in Libertarians as the opposition in Louisiana and a Cretaceous coastline in presidential elections.

I'll give you an example of a state in the South where Democrats are not competing as completely as they could--Louisiana. This year [2012], Democrats contested only three of the state's six congressional districts, the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd. They only won the 2nd, which includes New Orleans and Baton Rouge. They could have at least run a candidate in the 5th, which includes three counties along the Mississippi River where majorities voted for Obama.

In contrast, the Republicans contested all six, winning five. So who opposed the Republicans in the remaining districts? The Libertarians, who ran candidates in five districts, the 2nd through 6th. That means that the Libertarians are on their way to becoming the opposition party in the state, flanking the Republicans to their Right on economic issues and their Left on social issues.

About the only good news for Democrats in all this was that Louisiana lost a seat, so two Republican incumbents ran against each other, resulting in one fewer GOP Representative in the U.S. House.

In case the fifth CD of Louisiana sounds familiar, it's because it's represented by Vance McAllister, who was caught smooching with his staffer, a woman married to another man.

Greetings from Detroit, Ground Zero of the post-industrial future!

[ Parent ]
I guess that leaves Schertzing.

If he doesn't run, then I'll have to re-launch my Draft Julie Powers effort.

Powers to the People!

Now on Great Lakes, Great Times, Great Scott: Cotter vs. Jesus and Reagan

I see what you did there.

Great Lakes, Great Times.

[ Parent ]
Howard Dean might have said, "You have the power" - but what he meant was, "You have the Powers!"

Now on Great Lakes, Great Times, Great Scott: Cotter vs. Jesus and Reagan

[ Parent ]
Very funny, guys.
Yeah, no. Not running for political office anytime in the near future. I'd run for Drain Commissioner - maybe. I'm actually vaguely qualified for that. Dog catcher? Getting good at that these days. Besides, I'm way better snarking from the cheap seats. :)

Do stupid people know they are stupid?

[ Parent ]
Come on, Julie. You don't want to beg people for money, sit around in airports, and be cut off from your loved ones, friends and hobbies for years upon years? You'd be CRAZY not to run!

[ Parent ]
True that.
I admire people who want to run - it takes a certain amount of inherent chutzpah/crazy that I just don't have in the kind of quantity necessary to do the road warrior gig. Plus, well, #StupidLupus. (And yes, I just hashtagged a comment on MichLib. Someone get Eric the smelling salts. He's probably collapsed under his kitchen table/blogging vortex command center.) 

So Thomas... you thinking the 8th might look good on you? You already have the political experience and the photogenic fam. :)

Do stupid people know they are stupid?

[ Parent ]
So Thomas... you thinking the 8th might look good on you?

Nah. I too don't want to beg people for money, sit around in airports, and be cut off from my (photogenic) loved ones, friends and hobbies for years upon years.

[ Parent ]
It's things like this
...that make me shake my head at the Democratic party in Michigan. While I'm sure it happens nationwide, it seems that Democrats in Michigan are either 1. too hesitant to run a campaign against the Republican party, 2. too scared to lose an election, or 3. not getting any support from the statewide party.

As we saw with the McCotter fiasco in 2010, anything can happen. There is really no reason why the Democratic Party should not be able to find at least one solid candidate in each race (especially Congressional races!) When it comes to open seats, we have to find solid candidates who are willing to take chances. Dems, especially in a gerrymandered state, will never win some of these districts back until we do.

While I do think Pam Byrnes and Jerry Cannon are pretty good candidates in those races, it looks like Schertzing is going to be our best option in 8, and McKenzie in 11. While I give them both props for running and trying to take the seat back, candidates with more experience and name recognition would be preferred. With 5,9, 12, 13, 14 solidly D, the only chances we have in Michigan are in 1,7,8, and 11.
- Coincidentally, none of the candidates we have running in 1,7,8, or 11 are currently in any elected office, besides for Ingham County Treasurer. (I know Byrnes was quite successful while she was in office, though).  

Better question
A better question to ask than "Why isn't X running?" is "Why should X make the decision to run?"

Please list for me the reasons why you're not getting nominating petitions tomorrow. You will find that the reasons you won't do it are the same as others who've decided not to take the plunge.  

[ Parent ]
McKenzie's an ex-CIA asset in a time when attention is once again being paid to CIA abuses in the Bush era
As soon as the Republicans notice Bobby McKenzie, he'll get banged like a gong on waterboarding, renditions and even (thanks to his five-month resume-washing stint with the State Department) Benghazi.

And Bobby has no defense. He literally CANNOT talk about where he was or what he did between 1999 and early 2013 in any but the most vague terms.

It's DCCC "recruits" like Bobby that make me shake my head.

"The two most common elements in the universe are hydrogen and stupidity." ~ Harlan Ellison

[ Parent ]
Make you wonder if Matt Millen is in charge of candidate recruitment
In addition to the obvious vulnerability you mentioned, there is absolutely nothing McKenzie has done or said that makes me inclined to vote for him.

His website looks like Beltway consultants built it for a generic Democrat, then went out and found a candidate. It says absolutely nothing, even about issues like health care or the minimum wage, which he ought to have a position on.

What made McKenzie so attractive to the national party? The only thing I can think of is that he's a gladhanding virtuoso who knew which doors in Washington to knock on. Unfortunately, Washington isn't the real world anymore.

A government that robs Peter to pay Paul can always count on the support of Paul.

[ Parent ]
There are many candidates like Bobby around the country
I get almost-daily emails from FOUR DCCC recruits in California -- Julia Brownley, Scott Peters, Michael Eggman and Dr. Paul Ruiz -- and like Bobby's, their "Add your Name to this Petition" links go straight to dccc.org, and their Donate now links go to almost-identical ActBlue pages.

It sure looks slick and well-run on the surface. But it's empty, devoid of local connections or content. Some candidates rise above the DCCC spoonfeeding and find their own voice. Others don't.

In our case, when Rep. Steve Israel's hand-picked candidate can't work up crowds with anything (other than the tale of finally making the MSU basketball team as a walk-on in his senior year), needs to be TOLD to reach out to local party leaders and elected officials, and refuses to commit to progressive values even when directly questioned...

...well, can't say I didn't try.

"The two most common elements in the universe are hydrogen and stupidity." ~ Harlan Ellison

[ Parent ]
And, here we go, again.  Like Whitmer and Benson, Byrum is taking herself out of contention when her stock is the highest it might ever be.  Go big or go home, and each of them has chosen to go home.  Whatever.

I see Eric Schertzing being brought up.  I vote for the guy even when he doesn't have an opponent, and he's competent as hell, but this guy is awkward and will incite about zero enthusiasm from even the Democratic base in this district.  He's maybe one step above the current filed candidates in the race if only because he's a county-wide elected official.  

This has gone from being possibly competitive to looking like we'll definitely be sending Orange Man to Congress when he didn't even deserve to be in the Michigan legislature.  And, there the Democratic Party goes again snatching defeat from the jaws of victory.  Jeeze.

Why don't you run?

[ Parent ]
Thomas Morgan for Congress

[ Parent ]
Ok ok ok whoa whoa whoa
All three of the aforementioned women have every intention of being the president someday. They're just smart enough to be playing a much bigger, much longer game.

I don't blame anyone for not wanting to waltz into the slaughter that will be the 8th district congressional race.  

[ Parent ]
If that's how you see it, it's no wonder Democrats don't do nearly as well as they should in this state.  I'm tired of cowardice.

[ Parent ]
Again, run. I will help you get signatures. MiddleGrandGuy 2014!

[ Parent ]
The Game Has Changed
As someone who has followed Michigan politics for over 40 years, one of the major changes over time has been the reduction in candidates seeking office.

I often cite the 1970 Democratic Congressional Primary in Oakland County as an example of an exciting and heated contest to win a worthless nomination. Yet, it was a heated battle royal among three Democrats who fought hard to win on the basis of their issues.

Now years later, up and down the ticket and across the country, we see far fewer candidates for all levels of office, particularly in primaries, which begs the question of why.

I am not a political scientist nor as active today as most posters here. But to me it is all about how the game has changed. Money overdose, Citizens United and that ilk, 24/7 politicking because of 1000 cable channels needing to fill time, Internet blogging, a different sense of how campaigning and the public spotlight effects the family...just to name the few things that I think keep really great potential candidates from taking the plunge.

[ Parent ]
I would agree
Money, obviously - and then there's the idea (to which you seem to have alluded) that if you have even a somewhat spotty history, you might get pounced on it. Forty years ago, it was harder for information about candidates (good or otherwise) to be spread among the electorate.

I also sense that people think politics is a lot nastier these days. I disagree with that - people haven't been hit with canes (like in the 1850s). But with mass media disseminating a lot of information - and, frankly, with some of the media actively advancing a narrative that politics is broken/horrible/chaotic/divisive/etc. - things seem nastier.

You're right, though.

In the 3rd district in 2006, we had a contested primary for Congress on the Democratic side - Jim Rinck, the former Grand Rapids School Board member, defeated Pete Hickey, who had won the 2004 nomination unopposed. They both knew that they'd go on to lose to Vern Ehlers in a landslide - which Rinck did - but we still had two people running. This year, we struggled to get even one candidate in the 3rd - we got a good one, but I only heard about his candidacy a week or two ago.

Then there's the 2nd District. In 2010 - 2010! - two Democrats ran against each other. In 2012, no one even made it onto the primary ballot. (Willie German Jr. was nominated by getting enough write-in votes).

Also, I have not heard about anyone running against Dave Hildenbrand for State Senate in the 29th. Granted, it's a little bit redder than it was in 2010, but back then, it was considered among the lowest-hanging fruit for Democrats to make pick-ups. Had 2010 not been that atrocious, there's a solid chance David LaGrand would've been elected.

Now on Great Lakes, Great Times, Great Scott: Cotter vs. Jesus and Reagan

[ Parent ]

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