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Michigan Dems endorse early contest

From NBC's Domenico Montanaro
Michigan Democrats issued a letter, endorsing the proposed early contest date of Jan. 15, which has already passed in the Michigan Senate.

This comes a day before the DNC is set to level heavy sanctions on Florida for moving up its date to Jan. 29. Part of why the DNC wants to take such a hard stance toward Florida is to send a message to other states, to put a halt to the shifting nominating contest calendar. But it will be interesting to see if tomorrow's rules and bylaws meeting has the desired effect.

The letter was signed by 14 Democrats, including Sens. Carl Levin and Debbie Stabenow, Reps. John Dingell, Sander Levin, John Conyers and Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick.

Here is the full text of the letter:

August 24, 2007

The Honorable Jennifer Granholm
State of Michigan

Chairman Mark Brewer
Michigan Democratic Party

Chairman Saul Anuzis
Michigan Republican Party

Dear Governor Granholm, Chairman Brewer and Chairman Anuzis:

We are writing to indicate our preference for a presidential delegate selection process that embraces an inclusive and early primary in Michigan.

There has been much discussion in recent weeks and days as to what the best approach would be for Michigan to take for this Presidential cycle. We believe that it is vital that all Michigan citizens be provided with an opportunity to participate and have their voices heard in this crucial election cycle. A primary election provides the most inclusive process and highest voter participation.

In the 2004 Democratic caucus, only 164,000 people participated in a state of over 10 million people. By contrast, in the 2002 and 2006 Democratic and Republican primaries, 1.6 million voters and 1.1 million voters participated, respectively. It is critical that millions of people have the opportunity to participate in a process that is reliable and inclusive. 

We support efforts to make the overall Presidential nominating process more reflective of the diversity of this country, and strongly believe that manufacturing issues need to be part of the Presidential candidate dialogue. Embracing an early, inclusive contest would ensure that those issues are raised and our Michigan viewpoints are heard. An early, inclusive primary election is the best way to ensure the issues of trade, health care, and manufacturing are in the national limelight.

President Franklin Delano Roosevelt observed that "the constant free flow of communication among us—enabling the free interchange of ideas—forms the very bloodstream of our nation. It keeps the mind and body of our democracy eternally vital, eternally young."  We, in Michigan, have a responsibility to provide a forum where the largest number of people possible are participating in this process, in what, quite frankly will be one of the most important elections of many people's lifetime. Maximum participation should be the first and foremost goal with the goal of keeping this state's future healthy and vital.


Carl Levin, United States Senator; Andy Dillon, Speaker, Michigan House of Representatives; Debbie Stabenow, United State Senator; Mark Schauer, Michigan Senate Democratic Leader; John D. Dingell, Member of Congress; John Conyers, Member of Congress; Sander Levin, Member of Congress; Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick,
Member of Congress; Kwame Kilpatrick, Mayor, City of Detroit; Robert Ficano, Wayne County Executive; Jewel Ware, Wayne County Commission; Debbie Dingell, DNC Committee Member; Michael Tardif, DNC Committee Member; Richard Wiener, DNC Committee Member