Steve Bieda’s mistake in Macomb County politics

Steve Bieda made a big mistake when he decided not to run for Congress, and to run for County Clerk instead.

Steve was running for Congress to fill the seat being vacated by Sander Levin. Virtually without warning, he withdrew from that race to run instead for the County Clerk’s office in Macomb County, a position that recently became available as a result of the erratic — some may say crazy — behavior of Karen Spranger. Apparently, Steve thought he had a better shot at the County Clerk seat than the much higher-profile Congressional seat.

That might have been a mistake. Steve is now desperately trying to survive withering attacks from Fred Miller. Fred has a great name in Macomb County, and he recently ran county-wide — in the last race for Clerk. Steve, on the other hand, has been a state senator representing a significant, but still minority part of Macomb County. As a result, Fred is likely a formidable candidate for this position.

Some may say that Fred was defeated in the last election by the unlikely Karen Spranger. But that defeat was a fluke. Fred lost because he had a D after his name, and he got swept away in the county’s enthusiasm for Trump. Now that we are in a Democratic primary, Fred doesn’t have to worry about that potential.

In contrast, Steve’s Senate district represents a significant portion of the Congressional district. He would have been the only true Macomb County candidate in a race featuring two Oakland County candidates — Ellen Lipton and Andy Levin. Steve could have played off his Macomb County bona fides to defeat the two candidates from the minority county in the district — Oakland County.

This is an example of insider thinking becoming a problem. To an insider, being a State Senator seems more significant than being a former failed candidate for County Clerk. As a result, the Clerk’s race seemed ripe for Steve’s taking. But in fact, this Congressional district, that is mostly in Macomb County, has been represented by an Oakland county person, and will likely be represented by an Oakland county person again. Macomb County voters are very different from Oakland County voters, as was shown in the last Presidential election. This presented an opportunity to Steve, an opportunity he has now missed.

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Mike is an Assistant Professor of Management for Legal and Ethical Studies at Oakland U. Mike combines his scholarship with practical experience in politics.

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