Michigan Democrats cancel fundraiser, endorsement convention

Beth LeBlanc
The Detroit News

The Michigan Democratic Party is canceling one of its largest fundraisers, where U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was scheduled to give remarks, to prevent the spread of coronavirus. 

In addition to postponing the annual Legacy Dinner, Michigan Democratic Party chairwoman Lavora Barnes said she will ask the state central committee in a Thursday emergency telephonic meeting to cancel the party’s March 21 endorsement convention. 

Michigan Democratic Party COO Lavora Barnes

“While there have been no reports of a COVID-19 infection among potential attendees to either event, the Michigan Democratic Party takes seriously the concerns of public health professionals and Gov. Gretchen Whitmer who has declared a state of emergency and advised against such gatherings,” Barnes said in a statement. 

Michigan Democrats were supposed to make endorsements for the Michigan Supreme Court, the state Board of Education as well as the boards at the University of Michigan, Michigan State University and Wayne State University at the convention. 

The party is examining ways to endorse candidates for those positions without physically meeting or by meeting at a later date, party spokesman Christian Slater said. 

“We’re trying figure out alternatives,” he said. 

Michigan confirmed Tuesday night its first cases of COVID-19 in Wayne and Oakland counties and has other tests pending at the state lab. 

Nationally, the number of case has risen to 998 in 38 states with 31 deaths, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Robert Redfield said Wednesday morning.

eleblanc@detroitnews.com