Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Event: Walling Gets a Wild Endorsement. Williamson Gets Schooled.

I know I've pointed out that Williamson has (debatably) taken the most influential endorsements in this race, but I am quite unexpectedly proven wrong.

The Flint Journal: Blistering radio ad targets mayor.

The ad doesn't pull any punches:

A new advertisement airing on several local radio stations says violent crime doubled in Flint under Williamson's watch, calls into question Williamson's values while noting he is a convicted felon, says two men in his administration have been accused of violence against women and says Williamson has been accused of sexual harassment and racial discrimination.

"If we live in one of the most violent cities in America, do you really feel confident knowing that your safety depends on Williamson's judgment?" the ad asks.


The advertisement is titled "King Kong" and it ends with the line "King Kong ain't got **** on me," a reference to the movie "Training Day."

The main character, played by Denzel Washington, a corrupt cop, says the line as a show of his power, but the community turns on him, and he is killed shortly thereafter.

But the ad itself isn't what extraordinary. It's that the ad is paid for by the Michigan Democratic Party.

[State Party Chairman] Brewer said the party "very much" wants challenger Dayne Walling elected.

"Dayne Walling is a Democrat. Don Williamson is not," he said.


"Talk is cheap. Actions speak louder than words, and by his actions, he's a Republican," Brewer said.

The Michigan branch is one of the most influential in the nation and in a study conducted following the 2004 Presidential Election, Flint voters came in ninth of over 300 cities by percent of votes cast for Kerry. When I said before that the UAW were the most-coveted endorsement that was, of course, because I assumed that the Democratic Party wouldn't be getting involved in an important non-partisan election.

Ultimately, though, it makes sense. Though Don Williamson has occasionally and conditionally professed to be a Democrat, he donated substantially to the Bush campaign and other Republicans, and his pre-political life was filled with unambiguous conservative endorsements and moments of union-bashing. Perhaps even more to the point, the Democratic Party recognizes a hazard to their viability in Williamson's ability to cripple dozens official municipal positions (all held by Democrats) serving one of their most reliable constituencies.

Let's be honest: the ad is nasty. One could lament that, or make the realpolitik observation that at least this means that weapons are drawn without Wallings having to slop around in the blood himself. Voting fairly reliably Democratic myself, however, I'm just glad to see the party flexing some muscle where a, underfunded fledgling candidate deserves and benefits from it. It's certainly a high stakes move for Michigan Democrats and drives the ball pretty hard into Williamson's court.

A tiny caveat: This could backfire. I'm just superstitious enough not to say how right now. But when the election has "cleared the air," I will. For the moment, though, I'm optimistic.

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