Skip to comments.Blanchard says Kerry state director to be named soon
Posted on 06/01/2004 7:09:15 PM PDT by Dan from Michigan
Blanchard says Kerry state director to be named soon
By KATHY BARKS HOFFMAN
The Associated Press
6/1/2004, 6:50 p.m. ET
LANSING, Mich. (AP) Likely Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry has tentatively scheduled another Michigan bus tour for June 16-17 and on Tuesday unveiled new ads to run in Michigan and other key states. But he has yet to name a state director to run his campaign here.
Former Gov. James Blanchard, a Kerry campaign adviser in Michigan, said an announcement should come in the next two or three days. He has been pushing for someone to be named for the past month.
"I actually had somebody yesterday tell me three names and say it's going to be one of those. That's how close they are," Blanchard said Tuesday in an interview with The Associated Press. He declined to name the three candidates.
"On one hand, we're way ahead of the normal election cycle. On the other hand, we're way behind what we wanted to do," he said. "We're ready to roll, but we don't have an official state director."
Kerry spokeswoman Kathy Roeder wouldn't confirm Blanchard's timetable for the state director announcement, but did say "it's possible it could be this week."
Blanchard met with Gov. Jennifer Granholm, labor officials and other prominent Democrats last Wednesday in Southfield to plan a $1,000-a-plate June 17 fund-raiser with Kerry at the Marriott Renaissance Center in downtown Detroit. The fund-raiser would be part of a possible two-day campaign bus tour through Michigan for the Massachusetts senator, Blanchard said.
Kerry last campaigned in Michigan during an April 29 bus tour that included a stop at Washtenaw Community College and an Ann Arbor deli. He plans to speak at Bedford High School's commencement Sunday. The Monroe County school is holding its graduation ceremony at the University of Toledo.
Other key battleground states have had Kerry campaign directors named in recent months. A Kerry state director has been in place in Wisconsin since early March, and in Ohio and Minnesota since mid-April. One for West Virginia was announced May 12.
Blanchard said he was told someone for Michigan had been chosen weeks ago, but that choice didn't work out.
Roeder has said the campaign is looking for a high-level senior staff member to fill the post because Michigan is so important to Kerry's chances of winning the White House.
"It's really just a process of making sure it's done right, rather than making sure it's done on someone else's timeline," she said. "We want to find the right people, so we're not rushing through it."
One of the reasons for the delay compared to other battleground states could be the concern over having to pull the various factions of the Michigan Democratic Party together.
The state party essentially has two directors, Chairman Melvin "Butch" Hollowell a close friend of Granholm and Executive Chairman Mark Brewer, who was chairman until Granholm became governor in 2003 and is backed by the United Auto Workers and other unions.
A certain amount of friction also exists between Granholm and Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick, another party powerhouse.
Blanchard and Dan Mulhern, Granholm's husband and another key Kerry Michigan adviser, say differences do exist. But they insist the party is solidly behind Kerry.
"You can find a lot of smaller issues that are the kinds of things people argue and fight about," Mulhern said. "But on this, I just don't think that's the case. People want to win more than I can remember. And that's going to get the small, ego agendas out of the way."