Associated Press

LANSING (AP) – Lon Johnson, who took the helm of the Michigan Democratic Party two years ago promising that new strategies could win races, said Democrats lost too much in 2014 and must triumph in 2016 and beyond by better explaining their plan to voters.

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“We have to start winning,” Johnson told The Associated Press in an interview this week ahead of the party’s convention on Saturday, when he is expected to be chosen for another two-year term.

He said campaign tactics are important, but “we’ve got to show voters what they will get when they vote for a Democrat. … What we’re going to do going forward is to clearly show the voters of Michigan in great detail what we’re going to do.”

Republicans often accused Democrat Mark Schauer of having no detailed plan in his ultimately unsuccessful bid to topple Gov. Rick Snyder in November. Asked if that criticism was valid, Johnson said: “Going forward, we are not going to be just the party of `We don’t like Snyder, we don’t like the Republicans.”‘

Johnson said Democrats must be “bold” in five areas – education, the economy, infrastructure, natural resources and equality.

Other than Gary Peters’ win to succeed retiring U.S. Sen. Carl Levin, Democrats had a bad year – as they did nationally in the sixth year of Barack Obama’s presidency.

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Attorney General Bill Schuette and Secretary of State Ruth, both Republicans, easily won re-election. Republicans also expanded their majorities in the Legislature.

The Democrats’ plan was to coax a lot more of their sporadic voters to cast ballots. Democrats turn out in bigger numbers for presidential elections but not in midterm years.

Democrats identified 900,000 Democrats who did not vote in 2010. The goal was to get 180,000 to vote and 229,000 did, Johnson said.

Yet overall statewide turnout dropped by 2.5 percent from 2010.

“It wasn’t enough. We achieved the tactical objective but didn’t achieve our goal, which was winning,” Johnson said.

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