The Michigan Federation of College Democrats Urges Voters to Reject Shri Thanedar

Lansing, Michigan – July 20, 2018 – The Michigan Federation of College Democrats hereby issues an “anti-endorsement” of gubernatorial candidate Shri Thanedar. As a voice for college students, we have taken it upon ourselves to act as an endorsing group in our state, having issued endorsements for many candidates at different levels of government and from cities and counties across our state.

It is well-known to all that Michigan’s gubernatorial race is critical to our state, and it’s incredibly important that we, as Democrats, select a strong candidate that represents our values, will win in the general election, and will push our state in a progressive direction. Fortunately, we as Michigan Democrats have a choice between two strong, bold, innovative, and inspiring candidates vying for our nomination, and seeing that they would both serve our state and our party well, we will not be endorsing one over the other. Thanedar, however has lost the trust of many journalists, activists, and we as the executive board of the MFCD.

We, the executive board of the MFCD present the following as reasons that we believe our membership, and anyone that looks to our group for guidance, should not support Shri Thanedar for governor: it has been documented from multiple different sources that Thanedar, when exploring his run for governor, spoke to consultants on whether he should run as a Democrat or a Republican[1]. As a Democratic organization, we choose to support candidates that firmly identify themselves as Democrats. Thanedar was unsure of his political affiliation as recently as early 2017.

Evidencing this are financial records of Thanedar having donated to, and appearing in support of, Republican candidates. In the 2008 presidential election, Thanedar gave the maximum-amount donation of $2,300 to Republican-nominee John McCain. Footage has also surfaced of Thanedar in attendance of a Marco Rubio rally in 2016, including him clapping when Rubio stated that Hillary Clinton was “not qualified” to be president and “cannot be the commander-in-chief of the United States.”[2]

There is also extensive documentation of questionable practices from Thanedar’s time as a businessman and entrepreneur. A lawsuit against Thanedar claims that he fraudulently inflated the value of his company before its purchase for $20 million.[3] Additionally, a story from 2010 has surfaced, recounting an animal testing company that was owned by Thanedar. When the company went bankrupt under Thanedar’s ownership, the over 100 animals including dogs and monkeys were left trapped in the building without proper care. Those animals remained there for over a month until they were rescued by two animal rights groups.[4] As Democrats, when we are evaluating candidates, we expect ethical behavior and transparency, especially from those that have spent a significant amount of time in the private sector.

The aforementioned rationale only scratches the surface of the reasons why, we, as an organization, believe Thanedar to be unqualified for our nomination for governor. We encourage all other endorsing organizations, Democratic clubs, and activists across the state to take Thanedar’s candidacy seriously, and if they agree that he is uniquely and seriously unqualified to be our nominee, to echo this statement. Our combined voices can make a serious impact on the Democratic electorate of our state.

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About: The Michigan Federation of College Democrats is dedicated to organizing students on campuses across Michigan to ensure a progressive and inclusive future. The Michigan Federation of College Democrats is a chartered state federation with the College Democrats of America and is the official college caucus under the Michigan Democratic Party.

[1] Zaid Jilani, "A Bernie-Branded Millionaire Is Leading the Democratic Race for Governor. He Almost Ran as a Republican, Consultants Say," The Intercept, April 6, 2018.

[2] Jonathan Oosting, "Dem Shri Thanedar: No 'Crime' in Attending Republican Rally," The Detroit News, May 24, 2018.

[3] Lauren Gibbons, "Gubernatorial Candidate Shri Thanedar Sued over Fraud Claims," MLive, November 15, 2017.

[4] Daniel Marans, "Over 100 Dogs And Monkeys Were Rescued From Michigan Democrat’s Shuttered Company," Huffington Post, April 25, 2018.