Mich. Dems dump longtime chair, elect new leader

Mark Brewer withdrew from the race for party chairman at the state Democratic Party convention in Detroit

DETROIT - For the first time in a decade, the longtime leader of the Michigan Democrats is losing his job.

Mark Brewer on Saturday withdrew from the race for party chairman at the state Democratic Party convention in Detroit. He said he wishes challenger Lon Johnson all the best.

Brewer announced his decision to thousands of delegates rather than continue an uphill climb to retain his seat after unions and Michigan's Democratic congressional delegation got behind Johnson.

Johnson was officially elected the new chairman shortly after Brewer's concession. He is vice president of a private equity firm and a veteran of national political campaigns.

Johnson and his supporters are frustrated that presidential and U.S. Senate candidates win Michigan easily, but Republicans control much of the state government.

Michigan Republican Party Chairman Bobby Schostak was narrowly re-elected Saturday at Republicans' state convention in Lansing.  Schostak fended off a challenge from tea party enthusiast Todd Courser, 52 percent to 48 percent.

Schostak supporters credit him for helping the GOP maintain control of the state House and Supreme Court in 2012 despite President Barack Obama's and U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow's easy wins in Michigan. Schostak detractors say Republicans had a lousy year.

Gov. Rick Snyder supported Schostak's bid for another two-year term.

While Schostak survived as expected, Brewer's situation is a different matter.

Delegates also approved resolutions supporting Michigan's new right-to-work law and legislation to no longer have a winner-take-all system for Electoral College votes.

Copyright 2013 by The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.