Ann Arbor - Early this month, Dean Baker, the 1986 second district Democratic nominee for Congress, laid out a series of guidelines for carrying out the primary campaign. Thee Baker camp says their guidelines are designed to minimize the extent to which the Democratic candidates will be attacking each other, and to maximize their cooperation in the effort to unseat Republican incumbent Carl Pursell in 1988. They believe the guidelines should also increase the likelihood that the candidate with the best chance of defeating Pursell will win the primary.
The main point of the guidelines is a campaign spending limit of $10,000. Baker believes the limit would minimize the amount of resources that the Democrats use against each other leaving the maximum possible amount for the campaign against Pursell. He says the actual limit could be negotiated among the candidates in the race. The amount suggested is three time what Baker used to win the 1986 primary.
The guidelines also call for debates in each county. Baker is proposing that one debate take place in each county in the district in order to ensure that the voters of the district will have the opportunity to hear the candidates stands on the issues. He says this will guarantee that voters in each area will be able to hear the candidates views on issues of important in their counties.
Baker commented, "In the last election over 98% of the Representatives in Congress who sought reelection won. This shows that it is virtually impossible to unseat an incumbent with a conventional big money campaign. In one of the few races where an incumbent was unseated, it was only because Louise Slaughter mobilized 3,800 volunteers to work on her campaign. This is the only way Pursell or any other incumbent can be defeated. It is therefore essential that we nominate someone who has a genuine mass movement behind their campaign if we are to be able to have a shot at unseating Pursell in 1988. These guidelines will eliminate the possibility of someone trying to buy the primary. They will give the voters the chance to hear candidates stands on the issues, and the one with the most grassroots support should win."
On September 22, State Senator Lana Pollack entered the race. When asked in a WUOM interview for her reaction to the proposed guidelines, Pollack said she wasn't going to enter the race "with one hand tied behind my back"