Traverse City Record-Eagle


November 10, 2013

Jack Lessenberry: Benson to run hard race for Congress


Some can’t understand why she would want to give up a perch as highly visible major law school dean for — in a best-case scenario— a job as freshman member of Congress, with no seniority and little power, especially since Democrats are likely to remain in the minority.

“She is one of the most driven, smartest and most ambitious women I have ever seen,” a veteran Democratic officeholder said.

“What would be a tragedy is if she is unable to contain that ambition and ends up losing everything as a result.”

Without doubt another defeat would be costly. Not only would Ms. Benson have to give up her position as dean, it may appear that she intends to use any job only as a springboard to higher office.

She also would be instantly transformed from fresh face to two-time loser and chronic campaigner. Last week, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee was calling people and telling them Benson had definitely decided to run for Congress.

They, however, likely have an ulterior motive: She is seen as apt to be a magnet best equipped to pull in campaign money.

On Friday, she said she had not yet made up her mind.

But added, “I know I will have to soon.”

Jack Lessenberry, who teaches journalism at Wayne State University, is Michigan Radio’s senior political analyst, an ombudsman and writing coach for the Toledo Blade and former foreign correspondent for and executive national editor of The Detroit News. He was named Journalist of the Year in 2002 by the Metropolitan Detroit Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists.

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