Michigan Dems look to replace party-leader Brewer

Lon Johnson of Kalkaska is rumored to be one of the candidates to become the new Michigan Democratic Party chair.

Michigan's Democratic congressional delegation wants to replace the long-time chairman of the state Democratic Party.

Sens. Carl Levin, Debbie Stabenow and five members of the U.S. House wrote an open letter to Democrats Tuesday backing Lon Johnson, of Kalkaska, over incumbent Mark Brewer. Brewer has served as party chairman for 18 years and is hoping to be re-elected later this month.

But support from some heavy-hitters is growing for Johnson, who lost a state House election in northern Michigan in 2012. His wife was deputy campaign manager for President Barack Obama's re-election campaign.

Obama and Stabenow won in Michigan, but Republicans kept control of state government. Congressional Democrats aren't happy about losses at state and local levels. Brewer has been under fire for recent "Democratic losses" in Lansing, including the passage of right-to-work legislation and the failed attempt to write collective bargaining into the state constitution.

"We believe that the combination of challenges and opportunities that dramatically confront Michigan Democrats today have called on us as elected Democrats to urge a new and inclusive chapter in MDP leadership," reads the letter, signed by Sens. Levin and Stabenow, along with other Democratic leaders.

The letter goes on to say that the the DNP must build a stronger organization that reaches out to more constituents to accomplish their goals.

"That is why we are excited to support Lon Johnson to be our next State Party Chair," the letter said. "He is a strong leader who represents the future of our Party in Michigan." reports that a source familiar with the situation said high-ranking party members met last month to discuss a possible change in leadership. says reports also suggest that the United Auto Workers union has been leading the search to replace Brewer.

The Michigan Democratic Party Convention is scheduled for February 22-23 at the Cobo Center in Detroit. Delegates will vote for the party chairman at the convention.

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