Mark Brewer has an idea:
Brewer told the Free Press he will ask hundreds of top party officials today to call for an “endorsement convention” as a way to give those candidates more months to raise money for their campaigns, and to promote the party’s ticket – whatever that will be.
Those endorsements would virtually assure the candidates’ nomination at the regular state convention during the last weekend of August, Brewer said.
It would be the first time the party has held such a separate convention in an election year to endorse candidates.
This doesn't seem like a bad idea - at first glance. Of course, not knowing the details, we don't know if there's a devil in said details.
Theoretically, the August convention is where delegates to the State Convention (that is, those who are MDP members as of the Convention, usually for at least 30 days beforehand) vote for Democratic nominees for SoS, AG, Education boards, Supreme Court, and (in Presidential years) Electoral College electors. That vote is done on a proportional basis by county and Congressional district; each county gets a certain number of votes, to be divided evenly among the delegates. So, living in Kent County, I might get 1.73 votes, for example, depending on how well Obama did in the county and how many Kentians show up at the convo.
In practice, what usually happens is that there is no contested election for delegates to vote on. There will only be as many candidates as are being nominated, and the Delegates will vote to cast a unanimous ballot for that candidate/those candidates. Whether the field is cleared in a proverbial 'smoke-filled room,' as some suggest, or whether the candidates themselves decide they don't want a 'floor fight,' the August conventions don't usually involve a contested choice for these nominations. (Bowen vs. Williams in 2006 was the last notable one.)
What this 'endorsement convention' idea would do, then, is to ensure that there would almost certainly be no contest at the August convention (except in a special circumstance, i.e. an endorsee dies, gets a serious illness, or - on a much less somber note - goes hiking the Appalachian Trail on Nude Hiking Day).
That makes it more important that the endorsement convention, if it does happen, will be more reflective of what rank-and-file Michigan Democrats want.
Oh, and while I'm thinking about this topic, I'd like to put in a plug for having an MDP convention somewhere outside Detroit and Lansing - in GR, Saginaw, or elsewhere.