Sunday, February 25, 2007

2008: David Nacht?

Yesterday was the Michigan Democratic Party convention in Detroit, where the 7th Congressional District received plenty of love and attention from the state party. The Associated Press (through the Detroit News) brings us this:

Some GOP lawmakers who won their congressional districts faced tougher-than-expected challenges that underscored a tough climate for Republicans nationally. That got the attention of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, which is targeting districts won by GOP Reps. Tim Walberg of Tipton and Joe Knollenberg of Oakland County's Bloomfield Township, Brewer said.

"The Democrats in those two districts demonstrated without any national help that those two districts are winnable," Brewer said.

I couldn't make the convention, nor could any other Walberg Watch contributors, unfortunately. [UPDATE: Apparently, Doug was at the convention. My mistake.] If any readers were there (and attended the 7th District caucus), I'd love to hear your thoughts on how it went.

Perhaps more important, though, is that a new Democratic candidate emerged: David Nacht.

In south-central Michigan's 7th District, potential candidates include state Reps. Mike Simpson and Martin Griffin in Jackson County, former Rep. Doug Spade in Lenawee County and organic farmer Sharon Renier, who lost to Walberg in November.

Though many Democrats attending the convention didn't say whether they're considering a run, one did: David Nacht, an attorney and township trustee outside Ann Arbor, said he will run in the 7th District.

"The district is in play for Democrats," said Nacht, who called himself a moderate Democrat. "I'm someone who will fight for workers' jobs."

This is the first time I've heard his name as a candidate. He's got an impressive biography, from his law firm's website:

David Nacht, the firm founder, holds degrees from Harvard College ('87) and The University of Michigan Law School ('92), where he served as an editor of the Law Review. Prior to attending law school, Mr. Nacht served as a staff member to former U.S. Senator John Glenn on the Senate Governmental Affairs Committee, where he organized committee hearings and assisted the Senator in negotiating the passage of multiple pieces of legislation.

Mr. Nacht started the firm in January 1996 in Ann Arbor, after previously practicing law at Miller, Canfield, Paddock and Stone, P.L.C. - Michigan's largest law firm. Nacht also clerked for a federal district judge, Stewart Newblatt, in the Eastern District of Michigan. Mr. Nacht has published articles on employment law and a book chapter on ethics in government. He often speaks locally on legal and ethical issues, and speaks regularly as a guest lecturer at the University of Michigan Law School. He has served as faculty for the American Bar Association Health Law section and formerly chaired the Washtenaw County Bar Association Employment Law section.

Currently Mr. Nacht serves on the board of the Ann Arbor Transportation Authority, the boards of several non-profit organizations and community groups, and is an elected Scio Township Trustee.

Nacht is a member of the State Bar of Michigan and is admitted to practice before federal district courts in Michigan, the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals and the US Supreme Court. He is also member of the American Bar Association, Federal Bar Association, American Trial Lawyers Association, Michigan Bar Association, and the National and Michigan Employment Lawyers' Associations. David specializes in Employment Law, Sexual Harassment, ERISA, Commercial Litigation, Education Law, Constitutional Law, and Land Use disputes.

(Emphasis added.)

Nacht was elected as a Scio Township Trustee in 2004 with 4,891 votes-- the second-highest total for the four elected trustees. Fellow Scio Township Trustee Chuck Ream ran for the Democratic nomination in 2006. In 2002, he was a candidate for the Democratic nomination for the Michigan House, 52nd District, losing to Pam Byrnes by less than 1,200 votes. Byrnes lost in the fall of 2002, but won in 2004.

On January 16, 2007, a David Nacht joined the Jackson Democratic Party Meetup group, a group which also includes 2006 candidates Sharon Renier, Fred Strack, and Daryl Campbell. He has done work with the ACLU and Planned Parenthood in the past, and the FindLaw lawyer directory lists Civil Rights, Constitutional Law, and Labor Law among his areas of practice.

That, plus his history of campaign contributions, is what 15 minutes of Google searches could find. He looks like a good person and could be a strong candidate. If you know more about him, please feel free to share in the comments.

UPDATE: The Battle Creek Enquirer now has an article about David Nacht up. Also, thanks to everyone in the comments and especially those of you that contacted me via e-mail with your thoughts on his candidacy.

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Sorry you couldn't make it. Several people asked if anyone from your site was there, so you were definitely missed.

Sharon Renier and David Nacht both spoke briefly at the Bloggers' Caucus. To be honest, I don't feel totally comfortable sharing my thoughts about either of them right now. I would be more than willing to discuss this with people off the record, but I don't want to say anything that could sway any of your readers' opinions since it's still so early in the process.
I was there and indroduced myself at the bloggers caucus. Fred Strack was also there.
Sorry, Doug, I had been under the impression that none of us would be there (and have changed the post above). I'd love to hear your thoughts on the convention.
A trial lawyer.... My trial lawyer friends laughed when I told them he was he only announced candidate against Walberg. "Exactly the kind of candidate who could manage to lose."

We must come up with a better candidate. Period. The only thing worse than this guy would be running Renier again.
It looks like Mr. Nacht gave $500 to Joe Schwarz in September of 05. Why did he want a Republican to represent him?
When I reread my post about the "trial lawyer" criticism, I realize it might seem harsh. I don't mean to attack a certain profession, but his candidacy would be trying, and I think the criticism the party would take for trying to send "another lawyer" to DC to represent the liberal special interests is too much. We have some really good prospects, and I would hate to see people jump on a bandwagon too early.

Walberg is ripe for the picking. He is not going to accomplish anything of value (as long as he keeps doing what he always has) and he is already backtracking on his campaign pledges. The opportunity will arrive soon enough, but I fear any early announcements might keep better candidates out of the race. I just don't see people (independants, moderate repubs) voting for a personal injury lawyer from Ann Arbor.
Easy answer to the question above, there wasn't a viable democratic candidate to donate too, nor did one appear. He has described himself as a moderate, and this just proves it.
ABW: Anyone But Walberg!
David Nacht seems like a great candidate in general (like myself he's donated money to Schwarz AND Howard Dean) but as someone with six generations of family buried in Lenawee County, the ACLU and Planned Parenthood link might not be the most...marketable (and I'm again, members of both groups). I'm still guessing Schwarz might switch parties...
Joe Schwarz has been approached by the DCCC. There are strings attached, from what I have learned. The DCCC would only support Joe if he his willing to support the Democratic ticket. That means Carl Levin, our choice for president, even against McCain, and Democrats who run for the State House. I can not see Joe doing this. He is going to support McCain and there are some Republicans in Calhoun who have given a great deal of money to Joe who are looking to run in their House district.

As for Nacht supporting Schwarz I was troubled to read this. It is fine when you do not like the Dem. who is running. The problem is he gave to Joe 13 months before the election. We had no idea who was going to run. Why didn't he run in 04? In September of 03 I was looking to see who we could get to run against Mr. voted with the president 85% of the time.
Inside Michigan Politics recently printed that Schauer was the inside favorite to get the 7th.
Inside MI politics should have talked to Schauer. He has committed to stay on as majority leader for 4 years.
Commitments do have a tendency to become nonexistent if the right circumstances appear.

Don't discount or overlook him from this picture yet.
I personally like the fact that David Nacht has put himself out there to run. From following this site, it seems like several other people might run or are thinking about running, but they aren't showing a commitment to running at least as of yet. Walberg appears to be ripe for the taking, but keep in mind there was a lot of anti-Republican sentiment in this past election and this one is going to take more skill and commitment, which in my opinion rules out Reneir as serious competition. Someone who wants to run seriously is going to have to have serious fundraising capabilities, political backing, and grassroots support. By announcing his intentions at the convention, David Nacht is at the very least showing his commitment to helping the Dems win the 7th and more importantly is putting himself into position to be able to get serious work done in all of these areas. Like the post said, I think that he has quite an impressive resume, and looking up Scio township on which he is a board member, it seems like it is the exact type of small town that typifies many of the places that make up the 7th. If he was able to make it on the board there, I think that shows that he could have what it takes to win. I agree with Doug that if those are the stipulations that Schwarz must agree to in order to have support from the DCCC, he will not switch. The 7th is ripe for the picking, and regarding Nacht, as that is whom the post was about, definitely don't count him out.
I don't believe for one minute that Joe Schwarz will come over to the dark side. In his heart of hearts he's a true Republican who is extremely frustrated with with the peabrains running the party at present. I believe at best he will run as an independent and won't have to deal with party politics--from either side nor will he have to deal with the lunacy of another primary. The GOP has lost it's way and he knows that. The Dems have shown little promise beyond the fact that they aren't Republican's.
Schwarz has never been one to advocate for a straight ticket vote, so the dem demand, if true, for him to toe the line is a serious miscalculation of the man. He does not toe the line for the sake of the party and that might be one reason he is Dr. Schwarz and not Rep. Schwarz anymore. I for one love that fact about him and respect him for it. If dems can't back a good candidate without imposing strong partisan tactics, they don't deserve his candidacy either. He should run as an independant. The dems are at least as clueless as the repubs and Nancy Pelosi as leader will illustrate my claim in the coming months. She is the polar opposite of Tom Delay.
As a college classmate of David's, I'd love to see him get in the race. He'd be terrific! (I only wish I lived in the district so I could vote for him.)
David gave to Joe in 2005, prior to anyone, including himself, got into the race. As for Scio Township ask how badly that tax increase David pushed lost by.
Perhaps David Nacht donated to Schwarz because he wanted to avoid any chance of Walberg getting nominated for Congress by the Republicans. (I am just guessing)
I am a Democrat who once voted for McCain in the 2000 Republican primary, not because I wanted him over Al Gore in 2000, but because I wanted to try to stop Bush from any chance of getting the nomination.
David Nacht is a brilliant man of great character who is not afraid to speak his mind and stir up the pot. He is extremely well-educated and well-read in history and politics, and is the kind of person you know immediately is a leader. He will keep his opponents on his toes and raise the race to a higher level.
For the record, Nacht is a civil rights and labor-side employment law attorney. He's not a personal injury attorney or ambulance chaser. Sending an attorney to draft and vote on new laws is not a bad idea, contrary to popular belief. The fact that he's liberal makes him a real threat to the right, and frankly, we could use more like him. Berryman might be a softer sell, though, for those who are too uncomfortable with the lawyer connection.
Nacht is now famous for representing the kid who ran down ducklings in a McD parking lot with his Hummer. Good guy or "injury attorney ambulance chaser" seems to be up for grabs at this point. Is he also the attorney that got charges against the same kid dropped after he was caught on video bashing the back window of a police car and pooping on the hood?
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