Coming Soon to a Ballot Near You, Part I: Comeback Kids

Welcome to a post-2010 election, pre-2012 election miniseries titled "Coming Soon to a Ballot Near You." Part I focuses on which candidates might run for which offices in the near future.

With each election, there are winners and losers. But many people often forget that those who lose one election, often come back to win later on. In fact almost every successful politician has lost at least one election in his or her lifetime:

  • Barack Obama was soundly defeated in a run for Congress in 2000.
  • George W. Bush missed out on the chance to serve in Congress in 1978.
  • Bill Clinton lost a race for Congress in 1972, and lost his re-election bid for Governor of Arkansas in 1980 (before coming back two years later and winning re-election each time until his election as President).
  • Georhe H.W. Bush lost a race for US Senate - to Lloyd Bentsen, the same Lloyd Bentsen who ran for Vice President 18 years later while Bush was running for (and elected) President.
  • Ronald Reagan ran for the Republican presidential nomination in 1976, but lost to sitting President Gerald Ford.
  • Jimmy Carter lost a race for Georgia State Senate in 1962.
  • Also in 1962, Richard Nixon lost his race to be governor of California just two years after his narrow loss to JFK.
  • Lyndon Johnson lost his bid to be the Democratioc presidential nominee in 1960. Of course, JFK picked him to be his running mate, and the rest is history.
  • Franklin Roosevelt was denied the Vice Presidency in 1920, twelve years before being elected President.
Meanwhile, here in Michigan:

  • Five of the last six unsuccessful nominees for Michigan Lieutenant Governor are currently serving in elected office: Olivia Maynard (1990) is a University of Michigan Regent; Debbie Stabenow (1994) is a US Senator; Loren Bennett (2002) is a Wayne County Commissioner; Ruth Johnson (2006) is Oakland County Clerk and will soon be Secretary of State; and Brenda Lawrence (2010) is mayor of Southfield. Note that three of those five have been elected to statewide office.
  • Congressman Gary Peters originally sought to be Governor during the 2002 campaign, but dropped out because he diodn't have nearly enough support. He narrowly lost the race for Attorney General that year - the first Democrat to lose a race for that office in 50 years.
  • Attorney General-elect Bill Schuette lost a race for US Senate against Carl Levin in 1990.
  • State Senator-elect Tom Casperson ran for Congress and got trounced by Bart Stupak in 2008.
  • Tim Walberg is now only 2 for 4 in Congressional elections, losing in 2004 and 2008.
  • Oakland County Sheriff Mike Bouchard was re-elected in 2008 after losing the US Senate race to Debbie Stabenow two years later.
  • Congressman-elect Hansen Clarke finished a distant third in the 2005 race for Mayor of Detroit. Kwame Kilpatrick did much better than him.
Okay, I think I've made my point.

So who are some of the 2010 runners-up who we may see again in 2012, 2014, or beyond? Well, here are some of the people who had good runs in 2010, and where I think they should run in the future:

  • Virg Bernero: A race for Congress against Mike Rogers (if they are still in the same district). There has been a lot of grumbling that Democrats haven't run a striong candidate since Dianne Byrum's narrow loss in 2000.
  • Brenda Lawrence: A run for Gary Peters's Congressional seat if and when Peters steps aside (more on him in a minute). Or perhaps another run for Oakland County Executive -- she'll have better name recognition than she did in 2008.
  • Jocelyn Benson: Another run for Secretary of State in 2014, or perhaps spend some time in the Legislature while another person runs against Johnson in 2014. If Johnson wins in 2014, then Benson could run again in 2018. While I'd be surprised to see a Democrat besides Benson elected Secretary of State in 2014 (at least if office-hopper Johnson runs again), if that does happen again, Benson could run again in 2022, when she'll still be only 45.
  • Mark Schauer: Another run for Congress in whichever Congressional district he finds himself after redistricting.
  • Pat Miles: Another run for Congress in 2012, or State Senate or Attorney General in 2014.
  • David LaGrand: Mayor of Grand Rapids in 2011 (if George Heartwell decides against a third term) or Kent County Prosecutor in 2012.
  • Lupe Ramos-Montigny: Another run for State Board of Education in 2012.

Among those who did win in 2010 - and yes, there are some - I see some bright futures for these fine folks:

  • Gary Peters and Hansen Clarke: Re-election in 2012, then in 2014, one can run for Governor while the other runs for US Senate. (I'd be shocked if Carl Levin ran for another term in 2014.)
  • Gretchen Whitmer (Senate Democratic Leader): Congress in 2012 and/or 2014, or Attorney General in 2014.
  • Glenn Anderson: (Senate Democratic Whip): Congress against Thaddeus McCotter (we almost beat McCotter in 2008) or Governor or Lieutenant Governor in 2014.
  • Richard Hammel (House Democratic Leader): Congress when Dale Kildee retires.
  • Kate Segal (House Democratic Whip): Re-election in 2012, then State Senate against Mike Nofs in 2014.
  • Robert Ficano: Governor in 2014 or Congress against Thaddeus McCotter in 2012 or 2014.

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