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Fighting Times For Michigan's Party Chairmen: Mark Brewer, Bobby Schostak

By Carol Cain
CBS 62

He may be the longest serving state political party chairman in the nation but after 18 years Michigan Democratic Chair Mark Brewer is fighting for survival against upstart candidate Lon Johnson.

Brewer said during a taping of "Michigan Matters" he will take his fight to retain his job to the grassroots of the party when they gather Saturday, Feb. 23 at Cobo Center to vote.

The  statewide convention will be held where party members, elected officials and delegates will gather.  In all, nearly 20,000 people are eligible to participate, but Brewer said he expects a few thousand to actually show up.

"I serve a lot of constituents, party members, grass roots members, elected officials. You have to balance those factors," Brewer said of his bid."This is a grass root delegate decision and that is who I am campaigning to."

In Brewer's corner is the powerful Michigan Education Association, Macomb County political player Ed Bruley, and others. Brewer's support among some of the state's highest profile Democrats is shrinking.

Michigan's Democratic Congressional delegation, many leading Macomb County Democrats including County Executive Mark Hackel, UAW President Bob King and others have recently come out with strong support for Johnson.

Johnson lost his race for the state house in November. He's been around other campaigns as well. He's  married to Julianna Smoot, head fundraiser for President Barack Obama's 2008 and 2012 elections.

Meanwhile, Michigan GOP Party Chair Bobby Schostak, who also appeared on "Michigan Matters,"  talked about his battle to retain his position against challenger Todd Courser.

Michigan's  GOP will holds its convention Feb 22-23 in Lansing.

"I have worked very hard and very diligently with the grass roots," said Schostak.  "We kept our state house majority which was our top goal. We sent nine congressman back to Washington, we defeated union backed proposals and we were successful in getting freedom to work done."

You can hear what Schostak also had to say about Brewer's effectiveness as chairman, and what Brewer had to say about Schostak.

Watch Michigan Matters 11:30 a.m. Sunday on CBS 62.

Carol Cain is the Emmy winning Senior Producer and Host of "Michigan Matters" airing 11:30 am Sundays on CBS 62. She writes about politics and business in Sunday's Detroit Free Press. She can be reached at

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