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Wednesday, June 23,2010

Post-Kande options open for local Dems

by Kyle Melinn

Before every Democrat from here to northern Oakland County turns "Kande Ngalamulume" into a dirty word for bailing out of a quixotic bid to unseat U.S. Rep. Mike Rogers, hold tight. The na´ve 31-year-old former East Lansing running back may be willing to do the right thing after all.


Under state law, Ngalamulume’s name cannot be removed from the primary election ballot. If he wins the Democratic primary (which seems likely since it’s the only name on there), there’s only two ways his name can be removed from the Nov. 2 General Election ballot: A) Death. B) Registering to vote out of state.


Obviously, nobody wants to see "A." But it now appears Ngalamulume may be more accommodating to take care of "B." After initially telling Democratic 8th Congressional District Chairwoman Kathy Carney that he would not change his voter registration from Lansing, Kande apparently has changed his mind.


Democratic activist Bob Alexander told me last week Ngalamulume informed him of his decision to register to vote in whatever city he ends up finding a job in, be it Philadelphia, Chicago or anywhere else out of state.


If he follows through ("if " being the operative word, since this guy changes his mind a lot, if you haven’t noticed), a provision in state law allows a committee of local Democratic officials to replace Ngalamulume on the ballot. The committee would consist of the chairman, treasurer and secretary of every county Democratic Party that is included within the 8th Congressional District.


In this case, it would be a 15-member Democratic panel featuring officials from Clinton, Ingham, Livingston, Oakland and Shiawassee counties. One local Democrat told me that a recruitment effort is underway to get retiring Ingham County Circuit Judge James Giddings to put himself forward under this situation.


Giddings is constitutionally mandated to step down from the bench after this year because he’ll hit the magical age of 70. But there’s no age ceiling for Congress. Giddings would give the Democrats a credible, well known name on the ballot, forcing Rogers to stay home and campaign as opposed to lending a hand to the Republican nominee in the neighboring 7th Congressional District or the nearby 9th.


There is another way to make sure Kande "Idontawannalivahereanymore" can get his name scrubbed from the general ballot: A successful write-in campaign during the primary.


This is a complete longshot, but Clinton County Democrat Lance Enderle is willing to take it. Enderle had considered an independent bid in the 33rd Senate District but told the 8th Congressional District Democrats this weekend that he’s filed the necessary paperwork to run as a write-in.


Enderle has his Facebook page up and writes that "after a long dark decade of living in Mr. Rogers Neighborhood the good people of Michigan’s 8th District deserve much better than this. They must have a true choice at the ballot box on November 2 — and that choice is now Lance Enderle. Give Lance a Chance."


The "progressive Democrat" said he believes in small business, agriculture, tax equality and individual freedom. He wrote on his Facebook page that money had "nearly destroyed our political process," so he is not taking any political action committee money or any special interest money.


"I don’t want your money. I want your vote," he wrote.


Alexander said he appreciates the enthusiasm — but that the mountain Enderle will need to climb is significant. A write-in candidate would need at least 2,000 votes to knock off Ngalamulume, who will receive at least that number by being the only name on the Democratic side.


The
secretary of state cannot find record of any case in Michigan election
history in which a write-in candidate was able to defeat a name on the
ballot in a congressional race, regardless of whether the candidate on
the ballot was actively running.


The
challenge is to educate enough people to write the different name on
the ballot. In the past, some candidates have provided voters with
stickers, which is helpful for everybody involved, but costs money.


Maybe
the Enderle drive catches fire. If it does, Alexander can’t help being
a little agitated. An adviser for Nglamulume, Alexander said the
one-time candidate could have used the support when he was passing the
hat around earlier this year.


Lansing Chamber backs Hoekstra, Bernero


Whom do business organizations want as Michigan’s next governor?


Depends on which one you’re asking. Two
weeks after the Michigan Chamber of Commerce came out supporting
Attorney General Mike Cox, the Lansing Regional Chamber said they are
backing U.S. Rep. Pete Hoekstra on the Republican side and Mayor Virg
Bernero on the Democratic side.


The Bernero endorsement was a nobrainer. The mayor and the Lansing Chamber locked arms in the last two mayoral elections.


The
Hoekstra endorsement is interesting considering the Detroit Regional
Chamber is expected to come out in favor of both Oakland County Sheriff
Mike Bouchard and Ann Arbor Businessman Rick Snyder on the Republican
side and House Speaker Andy Dillon on the Democratic side.


For the Detroit Chamber, the tipping point was Dillon’s support for the Detroit River International Crossing, its A1 project.


On
the Republican side, things get a bit more interesting because internal
politics and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan is coming into play,
sources tell me.


Cox
has gone after the Blues as attorney general, fighting them in court on
the Accident Fund’s ability to purchase other insurance companies and
BCBSM’s proposed rate increases.


BCBSM
also is a big player for both the Lansing and Detroit regional
chambers, supplying their organizations with special insurance plans
for their members as well as being big contributors to their events.


Even
though sources tell me Cox gave the best interview at these
organizations’ respective political action committee meetings, neither
Lansing nor the Detroit chamber would support him because BCBSM is
against him.


In
this political environment, every gubernatorial candidate is going to
model himself as "pro-business," but it appears that it depends which
business is "pro you."


(Kyle Melinn is the news editor at MIRSnews.com. Melinn@lansingcitypulse. com.)

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