Benson skips MDP convention for SOS conference

    Michigan Democratic Party convention, Feb. 2, 2019 at Cobo Hall in Detroit | Ken Coleman

    While Democrats gathered on Saturday in Detroit to pick new leadership and look ahead to the 2020 election, a key member of the state’s new executive team wasn’t there.

    Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson, who was elected as part of the 2018 blue wave, was at the National Association of Secretaries of State (NASS) 2019 winter conference in Washington, D.C., her office confirmed. Assistant Secretary of State Heaster Wheeler attended the Michigan Democratic Party spring convention at Cobo Hall.

    At the convention, Democrats elected Michigan Democratic Party Chief Operating Officer Lavora Barnes as chair. Chair Brandon Dillon did not seek re-election. Leaders including Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist and Attorney General Dana Nessel fired up the crowd of almost 3,000 people.

    Susan J. Demas is a 17-year journalism veteran and one of the state’s foremost experts on Michigan politics, appearing on MSNBC, CNN, NPR and WKAR-TV’s “Off the Record.” In addition to serving as Editor-in-Chief, she is the Advance’s chief columnist, writing on women, LGBTQs, the state budget, the economy and more. Most recently, she served as Vice President of Farough & Associates, Michigan’s premier political communications firm. For almost five years, Susan was the Editor and Publisher of Inside Michigan Politics, the most-cited political newsletter in the state. Susan’s award-winning political analysis has run in more than 80 national, international and regional media outlets, including the Guardian U.K., NBC News, the New York Times, the Detroit News and MLive. She is the only Michigan journalist to be named to the Washington Post’s list of “Best Political Reporters,” the Huffington Post’s list of “Best Political Tweeters” and the Washington Post’s list of “Best Political Bloggers.” Susan was the recipient of a prestigious Knight Foundation fellowship in nonprofits and politics. She served as Deputy Editor for MIRS News and helped launch the Michigan Truth Squad, the Center for Michigan’s fact-checking project. She started her journalism career reporting on the Iowa caucuses for The (Cedar Rapids) Gazette. Susan has hiked over 3,000 solo miles across four continents and climbed more than 60 mountains. She also enjoys dragging her husband and two teenagers along, even if no one else wants to sleep in a tent anymore.

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