I swear on all that is sacred to any of you that what I'm about to write is true. I have to say that up front because even in the bizarro world that is politics, this story is still right out of outer space.
Let's say there was a district in Michigan where a Republican (Mike Rogers) barely won his seat in a special election back in 2000 when Senator Debbie Stabenow won her seat. Like, he won by 111 votes or so. And let's say that the same Republican has won every election since largely because no candidate has really stepped up to challenge in a meaningful way.
In this story, said district (MI-08) is an interesting mix of progressive and militia types, but overall, the district went 2-1 for Obama in 2008.
In 2010, you'd think it might be worth trying to target said district and Mike Rogers for a Democratic win. Here's how it plays, via Swing State Project:
Earlier this year, a young guy named Kande Ngalamulume (he was born in Zaire, now known as the Congo) decided to take a shot. No political experience, he'd lived outside of Michigan since 2002. His biggest claim to fame was having been a track star at Michigan State.
Then it turns weird:
Unfortunately, after finding a lack of financial support (he had only raised a total of around $25,000 or so, I believe), he dropped out of the race on June 2--and not only did so in a very public manner (via email press release), but did so several weeks after the filing deadline...and then left the state.
They forgot to mention that he was a health-care analyst for Blue Cross Blue Shield before leaving to head back to Philly. He also insisted on leaving his voter registration valid in East Lansing so his name could not be removed from the ballot. I'm not saying this was set up or anything, but it does leave a wide-open question. After all...he tosses his name in the hat for the primary, and when he doesn't get funding or much help (and that's another story entirely), he leaves and goes back to Philadelphia? Further, he had the backing of John Conyers before he didn't, and that seems quite strange too.
If you're still following this story, it has to feel weirder than Alvin Greene on a whole bunch of different levels, but stay with me.
The only way to put a Democrat on the ticket to run against Mike Rogers in November is via write-in campaign. As it happens, there is a candidate running in the Democratic primary as a write-in candidate - Lance Enderle.
Not only is Enderle a Democrat, he's a Progressive Democrat with some pretty strong opinions. He did work for Bart Stupak's campaign back in the '90s, but until the health care reform/abortion debacle, Stupak had been solid on core Democratic issues, and Michigan is a mixed constituency. His work on the Stupak campaign at least gives him a clear understanding of what campaigns and politics are all about. Right now he's got some worn-out shoes and a big job ahead -- the primary is August 3rd, and he needs at least 2,000 write-in votes to get his name on the ballot for November.
Meanwhile, BlueCross Blue Shield of Michigan has endorsed Mike Rogers, as has the Chamber of Commerce and other business organizations, and Rogers can sit on his $800,000+ bank balance without spending a dime. Unless Enderle's write-in campaign works.
"I couldn't let Mr. Rogers have the possibility of running unopposed," he said, adding, "It's not part of our democratic process that we call America."
Enderle, who lives in East Lansing, said there is nobody fighting for our rights and he decided to step forward. He had been running as an independent Democratic candidate for the 33rd state Senate District position. When no one stepped forward to fill Ngalamulume's shoes, he filled [sic] the paperwork to run as a write-in candidate.
The single parent of two children and one grandchild said there are three issues: education, the economy and the environment.
"We need jobs," he said. "Our schools are falling apart, and after the disaster in the Gulf of Mexico, we need someone to protect our Great Lakes."
He said Rogers represents "big money, big business."
Enderle used to run the alternative education program at Leslie Public Schools, between Lansing and Jackson, when he was laid off as part of budget cuts in 2009. He taught government and social studies.
He's working on getting his master's degree in special education.
Before I go further, a disclaimer: Lance Enderle has NOT -- I repeat, NOT -- been endorsed as a BlueAmerica candidate, nor am I asking for donations to his effort.
What I am asking for is word of mouth. If you live in Michigan, have family who live in Michigan, or know people who live in Michigan, particularly in the East Lansing area, please get the word out to them to write in Lance Enderle on their ballot Tuesday. Share it on Facebook, Twitter, your blogs, wherever you can. They don't have to vote for him in the general if they truly want a different candidate, but not having a candidate on the ballot is not democracy. It's just entitlements for Republicans.
The primary is August 3rd. There isn't much time, and people need to know that there's an option besides the usual Republican cardboard cutout. Will you help spread the word? If there's anything I dislike more than Republicans, it's a Republican who thinks he can skate into another term without having to work for it.
Some other links for Lance Enderle: