Sunday, December 11, 2005

Armed with a war chest: Walberg ready for a fight

The rematch between U.S. Rep. Joe Schwarz and former state Rep. Tim Walberg is already shaping up to be a dog fight.
Club for Growth has already endorsed Walberg's bid to unseat Schwarz, a freshmen Republican congressman from Battle Creek. Walberg is a Republican from Tipton.
The Club has created a website, http://www.joeschwarzisaliberal.com/, aimed at exploiting everything not conservative about Schwarz, a doctor and longtime moderate voice in the state Senate.
"Even though Joe Schwarz is a registered Republican, the real Joe Schwarz is a big government liberal," the website states.
Schwarz's campaign has responded by oddly posting a story from Gongwer News Service and the anti-Schwarz website link on his website, http://www.schwarzforcongress.com/.
Schwarz's campaign tries countering the attack by posting quotes from a Democrat who says Schwarz has marched in "lockstep" with most of the agenda of President George W. Bush.
The 2006 primary campaign will likely not be about rebuilding Michigan's economy or even about the war in Iraq.
For now, Walberg is the lone challenger to Schwarz, which means this election will be about wedge issues: same-sex marriage and benefits, gun rights, abortion, homosexuality and anything else about society that bothers conservatives.
Walberg will exploit everything liberal about Schwarz to no end.
Schwarz beat Walberg and three other conservatives by splitting the August 2004 primary vote. He also attracted many independents and Democrats to switch sides and ensure a conservative wouldn't fill the shoes of the retiring Rep. Nick Smith, R-Addison.
Former Adrian mayor Jim Berryman campaigned on Schwarz's behalf, which irked Walberg's local GOP supporters.

Here is the 2004 vote breakdown:
Clark Bisbee - 14.02% - 10301 votes
Gene DeRossett - 11.41% - 8379 votes
Paul DeWeese - 6.65% - 4886 votes
Joe Schwarz - 27.82% - 20440 votes
Brad Smith - 22.44% - 16488 votes
Tim Walberg - 17.66% - 12978 votes

Walberg thinks Schwarz is vulnerable, The Hill reported Nov. 22. ( www.thehill.com/thehill/export/TheHill/News/Campaign/112205.html)
"Last election, 72 percent of the primary voters voted for someone other than Congressman Schwarz," Walberg told the daily congressional newspaper. "The 28 percent that voted for Congressman Schwarz is a minority. If indeed there was a head-to-head race between a true conservative and Congressman Schwarz … there would be a change in the outcome."
Club for Growth backed Brad Smith, the son of Nick Smith, in 2004. Smith has declined to indicate whether he'd run again.
Walberg, 54, served 16 years as one of Lenawee County's representatives in the state House before being term-limited. Walberg's campaign website is coming soon, according to http://www.michiganliberal.com/.
The biggest blow to Walberg's campaign came when the life-long pro-life advocate was passed over by Michigan Right to Life, who endorsed Clark Bisbee of Jackson.
"How can you out right to life Tim Walberg?" Walberg often said during the campaign.

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