The Grand Rapids Press, which rarely endorses Democrats, backs Winnie Brinks

The Grand Rapids Press hardly ever endorses Democrats in competitive races. When they do back a Democrat, it's usually because the race is settled. For instance, Senator Levin got the Press's backing in 2002 and 2008, as have state lawmakers like Brandon Dillon and Michael Sak, who have represented the city's more Democratic district.

How Republican have the Press's endorsements leaned over the years? Even Pete Hoekstra and Mike Bouchard got the Press's nod in their landslide losses to Senator Stabenow.

Before now, I can only recall one other Democrat who received the Press's endorsement in a competitive race: Jocelyn Benson in 2010.

Winnie Brinks just became the second.

But Dejonge has failed to convincingly argue why voters should not send Brinks back to Lansing for a second term. Her political experience is limited to a two-year stint as Grand Rapids city comptroller. Dejonge quit that post in late 2012 after voters rejected her ballot proposal to make the position appointed instead of elected.

Brinks has shown growth as a legislator. She has focused on policy issues that are important to Grand Rapids, including road fixes, education and health care. She boasts the unanimous support of the Grand Rapids Public School Board and is endorsed by three city commissioners and Mayor George Heartwell.

Brinks's seat was expected to be a top target of Republicans; now, their odds of winning the 76th are diminishing, even as they're forced to defend seats they thought were safe.

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