Lon Johnson

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Lon Johnson
Lon Johnson
Chairman of the Michigan Democratic Party
In office
February 23, 2013 – July 11, 2015
Preceded byMark Brewer
Succeeded byBrandon Dillon
Personal details
Born
Lonnie Barton Johnson

Rockwood, Michigan
Political partyDemocratic
Spouse(s)Julianna Smoot
ResidenceDetroit, Michigan
Websitehttp://www.lonjohnson.com/
[1][2]

Lonnie Barton "Lon" Johnson is an American politician. He is the former chairperson of the Michigan Democratic Party,[3][4] having served in that position from 2013 through 2015.[1][5] He was an unsuccessful candidate in the 2012 election for the 103rd district in the Michigan House of Representatives.[6] He was the Democratic nominee for Michigan's 1st congressional district in the 2016 election, losing to Republican Jack Bergman in the general election by well over 50,000 votes.[7]

Personal life[edit]

Johnson was born in Rockwood, Michigan. His father is a retired machinist and his grandfather was a steelworker. He graduated from Arizona State University. He is a son of Vivian L. Pluff of Onsted, Michigan, and Gary S. Johnson of Richland, Pennsylvania.[8] Lon has an identical twin brother, Lance Johnson.

On October 22, 2011, Johnson married Julianna Smoot,[8] a fundraiser for Democrats. She was a Deputy Manager of Barack Obama's 2012 presidential reelection campaign,[9] having previously served as White House Social Secretary, Deputy Assistant to the President,[10] and Chief of Staff to United States Trade Representative Ron Kirk. His wife's employment in the Obama reelection effort was a campaign issue.[11]

Career[edit]

Johnson has worked for the Democratic National Committee, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee,[12] and Congressman John Dingell's 2002 campaign.[1][12] Johnson also worked for a non-profit called the National Democratic Institute. During his time there he traveled to Iraq to help with the installation of a political system based on democratic governance.[13] He was formerly vice president of a private equity firm in Tennessee, TVV Capital,[14] a private fund in Nashville that invests in small and midsize manufacturers and other companies, chiefly in the Southeast.[8]

Political campaigns[edit]

2012 Michigan House of Representatives campaign[edit]

Johnson made an unsuccessful bid in the 2012 elections to unseat incumbent Republican Representative Bruce Rendon in the 103rd district of the Michigan House of Representatives.[2][6]

During the election, his opponent made the employment of his wife, Julianna Smoot, in the Obama reelection effort a campaign issue.[11]

His endorsements included the Mackinac Sierra Club Chapter, Michigan League of Conservation Voters, Planned Parenthood Advocates of Michigan, and PrideSource.[15]

Johnson's campaign raised a total of $347,637 during the 2012 election cycle.[16]

2013 Michigan Democratic Party Chairperson election[edit]

On February 5, 2013, Johnson announced his intentions to become Michigan Democratic Party Chairperson.[14][17] The two-year position was voted on during the Michigan Democratic Party Convention at Cobo Hall in Detroit on February 23, 2013.[18] Johnson's main opponent was Mark Brewer. Brewer was the longest-serving Democratic Party chairperson in the US, having first been elected to the position in 1995.[5][14][19]

All seven Democrats in Michigan’s congressional delegation signed a letter sent to party members on February 5, 2013 which announced their collective endorsement of Johnson for the chair of the state party.[14][17][18] He also received the support of the United Auto Workers,[5][18] while his opponent, Mark Brewer, had the support of the Michigan Education Association.[5][20]

Johnson said he intended to hire an executive director to oversee day-to-day operations of the state headquarters while he focused on campaign and outreach efforts.[20]

On the day of the election, February 23, 2013, Mark Brewer withdrew from the race. Brewer announced his decision to thousands of delegates to withdraw rather than continue a floor election. Johnson was elected chairperson shortly after Brewer's announcement.[3][4]

2016 U.S. House campaign[edit]

On June 25, 2015, Johnson announced his intentions to step down as Chair of the Michigan Democratic Party and run for Michigan's 1st congressional district.[7] His tenure as Chair officially ended on July 11, 2015, when a new Chair was selected by the state party's executive committee.[7] Republican incumbent Dan Benishek is retiring.[21]

Johnson won the Democratic primary in August 2016. He faced Republican nominee Jack Bergman in the November 2016 general election.[22] Bergman won 55% of the vote to Johnson's 40%.[23][24]

Electoral history[edit]

Michigan's 103rd state House of Representatives District General Election, 2012[25]
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Bruce Rendon (I) 23,308 52.8
Democratic Lon Johnson 20,832 47.2
Republican hold

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Clark, Zoe; Pluta, Rick (February 3, 2013). "Electoral College reform, 2014 Gov race, and Democratic infighting (Oh my!)". Michigan Radio. Retrieved February 5, 2013.
  2. ^ a b Oosting, Jonathan (February 1, 2013). "Michigan Democratic leader Mark Brewer denies convict's accusation of concocting fake Tea Party scheme; Republican leader calls for resignation". MLive. Retrieved February 5, 2013.
  3. ^ a b Gautz, Chris (February 23, 2013). "Longtime chair Mark Brewer is out; state Dems elect Lon Johnson". Crain's Detroit Business. Associated Press. Retrieved February 23, 2013.
  4. ^ a b Gray, Kathleen (February 23, 2013). "Mark Brewer exits race for party chair after tense day at Michigan Democratic convention". Detroit Free Press. Retrieved February 23, 2013.
  5. ^ a b c d Eggert, David (February 5, 2013). "Key Democrats back challenger to party chairman". WWJ-TV. Associated Press. Retrieved February 5, 2013.
  6. ^ a b "Michigan House of Representatives results". Detroit News. Associated Press. December 31, 2012. Archived from the original on August 6, 2014. Retrieved January 1, 2013.
  7. ^ a b c Todd Spangler and Kathleen Gray (June 25, 2015). "Dem party chair Lon Johnson to challenge U.S. Rep. Dan Benishek". Detroit Free Press. Retrieved June 25, 2015.
  8. ^ a b c "Julianna Smoot and Lon Johnson". New York Times. October 23, 2011. Retrieved February 5, 2013.
  9. ^ "Factbox: Key players in Obama's re-election campaign". Reuters. Retrieved April 13, 2012.
  10. ^ "Obama taps Washington insider as social secretary". Blnz.com. Archived from the original on February 20, 2012. Retrieved April 13, 2012.
  11. ^ a b Clark, Zoe; Rick Pluta (August 31, 2012). "It's Just Politics". Michigan Radio. Retrieved January 2, 2013. Representative Rendon sent out a fundraising letter that calls attention to the fact that Johnson’s wife … "mis one of the people running President Obama’s reelection campaign, and a superstar of Democratic politics. ...Johnson released a letter that calls on his Republican opponent to lay off his wife.
  12. ^ a b "About Lon". Retrieved February 5, 2013.
  13. ^ Phillips, Chad (April 23, 2012). "103rd Democratic Candidate Lon Johnson is Northern Michigan's Prince Fielder". Michigan Populist Blog. Retrieved February 6, 2013.
  14. ^ a b c d Gautz, Chris (February 5, 2013). "Key Democrats back challenger to state party Chairman Mark Brewer". Crain's Detroit Business. Retrieved February 5, 2013.
  15. ^ "Lon Johnson's Special Interest Group Ratings". Project Vote Smart. Retrieved February 5, 2013.
  16. ^ "Johnson, Lon". Follow The Money. National Institute on Money in State Politics. Retrieved February 5, 2013.
  17. ^ a b Gray, Kathleen (February 5, 2013). "Congressional Democrats throw support behind Johnson for state party chair". Detroit Free Press. Retrieved February 5, 2013.
  18. ^ a b c Oosting, Jonathan (February 5, 2013). "Michigan Congressional Democrats back Lon Johnson to replace Mark Brewer as party leader". MLive. Retrieved February 5, 2013.
  19. ^ "Lessenberry: 'Mark Brewer Is In Trouble' In Bid To Stay State Democratic Chairman". Deadline Detroit. January 28, 2013. Retrieved February 5, 2013.
  20. ^ a b Livengood, Chad; Shepardson, David (February 5, 2013). "Mich. leaders seek ouster of 18-year Democrat chairman Mark Brewer". Detroit News. Archived from the original on April 8, 2013. Retrieved February 5, 2013.
  21. ^ Cahn, Emily (September 15, 2015). "Dan Benishek to Retire in 2016 (Updated)". Roll Call. Retrieved February 11, 2016.
  22. ^ Gibbons, Lauren (August 2, 2016). "Lon Johnson wins 1st Congressional District Democratic primary". MLive. Retrieved 3 August 2016.
  23. ^ "Michigan U.S. House 1st District Results: Jack Bergman Wins". The New York Times. November 15, 2016. Retrieved 15 November 2016.
  24. ^ Bennett, John (November 9, 2016). "New Member: GOP's Jack Bergman Claims Michigan's 1st District". Roll Call. Retrieved 15 November 2016.
  25. ^ "2012 Michigan Election Results 103rd District Representative in State Legislature 2 Year Term (1) Position". Michigan Secretary of State. February 22, 2016. Retrieved June 28, 2016.

External links[edit]