Eleveld: Democrat Trevor Thomas Best Positioned to Win in 3rd District
From: Bob Eleveld
To: Interested Parties
Date: June 16, 2012
Re: Democrat Trevor Thomas Best Positioned to Win in 3rd District
My name is Bob Eleveld. I am an attorney in Grand Rapids, and I have been involved in the West Michigan community and in politics in the area over thirty years. As the former Chair of the Kent County Republican Party, I have supported a lot of winning campaigns over the years, and most of the time the winners have been Republicans like me. This year, something different is happening: I am supporting Trevor Thomas, a Democrat. I strongly believe that West Michigan needs to get Justin Amash out of office, and Trevor Thomas is the best positioned candidate to do that.
- First, I know from experience that Republicans and moderates are not going to vote for a candidate whose “strength” comes from union endorsements and the Democratic establishment. Republicans and moderates will only vote for a Democrat who presents a new, different message that goes beyond the traditional constituencies. Trevor Thomas grew up in a union household, and he will be able to connect with the union rank-and-file on election day, but at the same time he is taking independent positions. When Trevor Thomas wins the Democratic primary without widespread interest group support, voters will know that he is not beholden to those interests, and they will appreciate that independence.
- Second, for a Democrat to win in West Michigan that Democrat must be able to appeal to voters across party lines and energize a committed base of voters. Trevor Thomas is a new kind of Democrat – socially progressive and fiscally responsible – who can appeal to people across the political spectrum. He is the only candidate in this election who has endorsements and support from Republicans and Democrats. That is important for a Democrat to be able to win in November.
- Third, Trevor Thomas is successfully appealing to women, something that no other candidate in this race is able to do genuinely. It is clear that the national debate will continue to focus on women’s issues. While both of Trevor Thomas’s opponents have taken distinctly anti-women positions in the past, Trevor Thomas has been adamantly pro-woman. Anecdotally, I can tell you that Republican women in West Michigan are hoping for a candidate they can back who will stand up for them. The poll numbers bear this out – women are going to be a decisive voting bloc in November, and a candidate who cannot gain the enthusiastic support of women will have trouble winning in Michigan’s Third District. As the only candidate with a strong record on women’s issues, Trevor Thomas is the strongest option to defeat the incumbent by taking advantage of the current sentiment among women that cuts across party lines. This was validated by the endorsement of the Progressive Women's Alliance.
- Fourth, the 2010 congressional election showed that West Michigan voters are tired of professional politicians. That sentiment still exists today, but voters have quickly soured on the incumbent as well – he has shown himself to be totally out of touch with our community, matching the out-of-touch of the professional politicians people are sick of. Amash cannot and will not be defeated by a professional politician who voters will see as more of the same. Trevor Thomas has never run for or held political office, and in the general election this year in particular that will be a significant advantage.
- Fifth, the only way for a Democrat to win here in West Michigan is to outwork the Republican opposition. Trevor Thomas is a Democrat who is able to go beyond party labels and present himself to voters as the real deal – someone who has lived and breathed the West Michigan community his entire life, and who will fight for us in Congress. I have already seen Trevor Thomas’s work ethic and commitment firsthand – I wouldn’t be surprised if he manages to meet every darn voter in the Third District before this is over. That spirit and drive is what it will take for any Democrat to win in this District, and Trevor Thomas is the only candidate who brings that energy to the race.
- Finally, I recognize that the Third District is different than it was two years ago – redistricting has removed some of the most conservative areas, and added some more progressive areas. The result: a Tea Party Republican will have trouble holding on to the seat in the new Third District. This vulnerability creates an opportunity, but there will be no Democratic coronation to replace Justin Amash. To win, a Democrat will have to work hard to run a sharp, focused campaign, and will have to connect with voters. The answer is not to turn to the typical old-school Democrat running a typical campaign fueled by institutional Democratic Party endorsements – even with redistricting, that type of candidate cannot and will not win. But Trevor Thomas is a Democrat who can appeal to Republicans and moderates, can win women, and has the energy and profile to win in the current environment here in West Michigan. All of that means that Trevor Thomas has the best opportunity to win.
I want Justin Amash to be defeated in November, and that’s why I am supporting Trevor Thomas and serving as his Campaign Co-Chair. I hope you will join me.