Sunday, August 02, 2009

The Struggle for Sixty

Two candidates have expressed interest in running for the 60th district state house seat being vacated by Robert Jones to run for state senate.

Brian Johnson, Sean McCann may run for House in 60th District
McCann announces candidacy for 60th House seat

Brian Johnson is a Kalamazoo County Commissioner. He began his current stint in office when he was elected in a 2003 special election. The article indicates that he was a legislative staffer for former representatives Mary Brown and Ed LaForge.

Johnson is said to be a bigshot in the local democrat party. He may be able to rack up a lot of endorsements from local party leaders and raise a lot of money. But Johnson is in the odd position of representing only one precinct in the 60th district. The rest of his county commission district is in Kalamazoo and Oshtemo Townships, which are in the 61st district currently represented by Larry DeShazor.

Sean McCann has been elected to five terms on the Kalamazoo City Commission. He has finished as high as third and as low as seventh, with the top seven vote-getters becoming commissioners. McCann is certainly a familiar name to voters in the 60th district, but he has never been overwhelmingly popular, either. McCann has been supported by the local democrat party in at least one past campaign. McCann has announced that he will run for the 60th district in 2010, and he will not run for reelection to the city commission this year.

McCann's claim to fame at Western is having written the constitution of the Western Student Association. That document was widely regarded by WSA leaders as a poorly written document full of strange provisions.

Both Johnson and McCann are plausible candidates, but neither are the strongest possible. Either Kalamazoo Mayor Bobby Hopewell or Vice-Mayor Hannah McKinney would be favored over them if they chose to run. However, the second article indicates that all the other commissioners have endorsed McCann.

The prospect of an actual contested democrat primary in the 60th is interesting, given that the last three times the seat has been open, it was essentially uncontested.

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