Friday, November 07, 2008

Schauer Victory Speech and What's Next

The Schauer campaign put Congressman-elect Schauer's victory speech on YouTube. The speech was given sometime shortly after 1:00am, Wednesday, November 5.

The quote at the end of the video is a good one, but I just wanted to highlight one other thing he said:
Politics is about competing visions, but governing is about people coming together for a common purpose, and I intend to help govern.
This is one of the reasons I like Mark Schauer-- he sees this distinction. It's what allows him to campaign as a proud Democrat, but still work with, say, Republican Joe Schwarz to save the Battle Creek Air National Guard base. It's what let him set aside the politics of the state budget crisis and make some tough decisions and compromise-- angering both conservatives and the all-important MEA-- in order to keep our state running. It's not about ideology, it's about making government work for people and solving problems.

That's the hard part. That's what's next for Mark Schauer.

Thank you to the kind comments I've received-- including from Walberg supporters. This is by no means the end of Walberg Watch, though its name will probably be changing sometime soon.

We've got a state Senate race coming up soon to replace the vacancy Senator Schauer created, and it's one where Democrats need to hold on.

We've got the state legislators and the county and city governments of this district, whose decisions impact our lives more directly than anything Mark Schauer or Barack Obama will be doing.

And yeah, we've got Congressman-elect Mark Schauer. Just because he's a Democrat doesn't mean he doesn't need to be watched from time to time.

I'm not quite sure how this is going to work yet, but I hope you'll keep coming back.

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Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Schauer Wins - Final Results Thread

All precincts have now reported. Here are the (unofficial) final results, via MLive:

356 of 356 Precincts Reporting - 100%

Name Party Votes Vote %
Schauer , Mark Dem 157,189 49%

Walberg , Tim (i) GOP 149,766 46%

Meadows , Lynn Grn 9,529 3%

Proctor , Ken Lib 5,673 2%

That's a margin of 7,423 votes.

Via CNN, here are the county totals:

Branch (100% reporting)
Walberg - 9,865 - 56%
Schauer - 6,879 - 39%

Calhoun (100% reporting)
Walberg - 23,920 - 40%
Schauer - 33,649 - 56%

Eaton (100% reporting)
Walberg - 24,876 - 45%
Schauer - 27,648 - 49%

Hillsdale (100% reporting)
Walberg - 12,015 - 60%
Schauer - 6,981 - 35%

Jackson (100% reporting)
Walberg - 34,231 - 47%
Schauer - 34,977 - 48%

Lenawee (100% reporting)
Walberg - 22,950 - 49%
Schauer - 22,018 - 47%

Washtenaw (100% reporting)
Walberg - 21,909 - 44%
Schauer - 25,037 - 51%

And now it's all over. Note that Schauer won Calhoun, Eaton, Jackson, and Washtenaw Counties, while Walberg won only Branch, Hillsdale, and Lenawee Counties. It's also worth noting that Lenawee County-- which President-Elect Barack Obama won-- went to Walberg by only 932 votes. That's incredible.

Thank you, Congressman Walberg, for your service. Although I've been very critical, I don't doubt that you acted with the country's best interests at heart. We just have a disagreement on what's best for the country.

Congratulations, Congressman-elect Schauer. Now comes the hard part.

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Walberg Concedes (Almost), Schauer Declares Victory

UPDATE: For final results, click here.

From the Battle Creek Enquirer:
U.S. Rep. Tim Walberg, R-Tipton, all but conceded Michigan’s 7th Congressional District race to Democratic challenger Mark Schauer, who declared victory about 2 a.m. today.


Speaking to staff and reporters in Jackson shortly before 2 a.m. today, Walberg said
“From the counts that we’re seeing right now, it looks very clearly that when the sun breaks tomorrow, it will not go in our favor. We will hold off til then before making any final statement.”

“But I want you to know that we’re living with reality right now, and it looks as if there will be a new U.S. congressman from this district,” Walberg said in Jackson. “That being the case, I will certainly wish Mark Schauer well when given the opportunity to speak to him. But for right now, I just thank you from the bottom of my heart.”

With nearly 93 percent of precincts reporting as of 2 a.m., Schauer led Walberg 142,542 votes to 138,690.
That's good enough for me. I'm done for the night.

The Enquirer has slightly different numbers than I do via the MLive site. Here's where they've got the results as of right now:

324 of 356 Precincts Reporting - 91%

Name Party Votes Vote %

Schauer , Mark Dem 145,388 48%

Walberg , Tim (i) GOP 141,023 47%

Meadows , Lynn Grn 8,878 3%

Proctor , Ken Lib 5,353 2%

That's a margin of 4,365 votes. It's close, but it should hold. By county:

Branch (100% reporting)
Walberg - 9,865 - 56%
Schauer - 6,879 - 39%

Calhoun (100% reporting)
Walberg - 23,920 - 40%
Schauer - 33,649 - 56%

Eaton (70% reporting)
Walberg - 21,571 - 45%
Schauer - 23,209 - 49%

Hillsdale (100% reporting)
Walberg - 12,015 - 60%
Schauer - 6,981 - 35%

Jackson (100% reporting)
Walberg - 34,231 - 47%
Schauer - 34,977 - 48%

Lenawee (83% reporting)
Walberg - 19,361 - 52%
Schauer - 16,627 - 45%

Washtenaw (90% reporting)
Walberg - 20,060 - 44%
Schauer - 23,066 - 51%

The winner or current leader in each county is italicized. We're still waiting on results from three Windsor precincts in Eaton County, the seven precincts covering the entire city of Adrian in Lenawee County (.pdf), and four precincts in Webster Township in Washtenaw County. If they have any meaningful impact, I think it will be Adrian adding to Schauer's margin and making Lenawee County a little bit closer. I don't know enough about the voting patterns of the others to speak intelligently.

(Fun fact for the night: Even without Adrian, Senator Barack Obama actually leads in Lenawee County right now, 49.10 percent to 48.81 percent. Wow!)

Personally, I'm not comfortable calling this, and I'm nervous that I'll wake up tomorrow morning and be disappointed. Maybe that's why I'm just a blogger and not a professional political operative. I'll have a longer write-up sometime when all the results are in.

Until then, congratulations to all of the candidates. It's finally over.

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Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Election Day - Results

UPDATE: For final results, click here.

From MLive, which loads faster than everyone else right now:

1:09am - Schauer's up to a 433-vote lead. This is going to be a precinct-by-precinct thing for a while. (Note: I've moved previous updates below.)

1:18am - Schauer up by about 1,500. But I'm not ready to breathe yet.

1:36am - Finally, another update! Schauer now leads by about 1,700.

1:41am - In that last update, about half of Jackson County came in as one big block. In Jackson County, it went from Walberg 50-45 to Schauer 48-47. Wow.

1:47am - Schauer has a 5,000-vote lead now. But I'm still holding my breath.

1:57am - Schauer's lead dropped a bit, but he's still ahead by about 4,200 votes.

2:05am - It's getting close again... Schauer's lead is under 4,000 votes. Will it last the rest of the night? The good news is, Hillsdale is done.

2:10am - Now about a 3,600-vote lead. Only 33 precincts left.

2:14am - It's down to Eaton, Lenawee, and Washtenaw. Is Walberg strong enough in any of them to push him back over the top? Schauer's back up to a 4,300-vote lead.

2:23am - Just to be clear, the lead is enough to say that probably, probably, this is a Schauer win. But I'm a suspicious person, so while the folks at the Schauer election night party are celebrating, I'm not quite ready to say it's done. That 62-vote lead he had at one point spooked me.

324 of 356 Precincts Reporting - 91%

Name Party Votes Vote %

Schauer , Mark Dem 145,388 48%

Walberg , Tim (i) GOP 141,023 47%

Meadows , Lynn Grn 8,878 3%

Proctor , Ken Lib 5,353 2%

County-By-County Results, via CNN (Note: These will be updated less frequently):

Branch (100% reporting)
Walberg - 9,865 - 56%
Schauer - 6,879 - 39%

Calhoun (100% reporting)
Walberg - 23,920 - 40%
Schauer - 33,649 - 56%

Eaton (70% reporting)
Walberg - 45%
Schauer - 49%

Hillsdale (100% reporting)
Walberg - 12,015 - 60%
Schauer - 6,981 - 35%

Jackson (100% reporting)
Walberg - 34,231 - 47%
Schauer - 34,977 - 48%

Lenawee (83% reporting)
Walberg - 52%
Schauer - 45%

Washtenaw (90% reporting)
Walberg - 44%
Schauer - 51%

11:00pm - CNN: Barack Obama is elected President of the United States

12:15am - For the moment, Schauer seems to have stalled out about 4,000 votes short of Walberg, but there's still a lot left to come. I think, if I'm reading the county clerk websites right, that all of Adrian and all of Delta Township have yet to report. I've got no idea what's happening in Jackson.

12:19am - Chris Gautz at the Citizen Patriot went to bed twenty minutes ago, but I'm still here. I'm taking a short break to stretch my legs, get some caffeine, and grab some non-political stuff to work on while I'm here. I'll be back soon.

12:24am - Walberg widens his lead. Now I'm actually going to go take a break.

12:33am - Schauer cuts the lead to 1,500 votes.

12:36am - What pushed Schauer up just now? Delta Township, in which he won all but three precincts.

12:48am - About 2,000 votes down.

12:51am - Woah! Mark Schauer jumps to a 1,400-vote lead.

12:54am - That was a big chunk of western Washtenaw coming in. Schauer went from a 48-47 lead to a 52-43 lead. Watch for Lenawee County to narrow a bit-- still no Adrian-- but it looks like it'll all come down to Jackson County, which is only 45 percent in.

1:00am - Ah! Schauer leads, but only by 227 votes. That was a chunk of Jackson County.

1:06am - Schauer leads by 62. Ah!

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Update: GO VOTE! Find Your Polling Place

Bumped up. - Fitzy

Tomorrow TODAY is Election Day. Polls in Michigan open at 7:00am and close at 8:00pm.

Not sure where to go? Google has the answer! Follow the link for a special map, where you can type in your address and it will tell you where to go to vote and how to get there.

What do you need when vote? Although not required to vote, some form of photo identification is helpful. If you don't have any, you can still vote, but you'll have to sign an affidavit saying that you don't have any. If you've got a driver's license or a state ID card, just bring that.

For more information on voting or to see a sample ballot, visit the Michigan Secretary of State's website.

You should vote. This is important.

UPDATE: Share your voting stories in the comments, if you'd like.

UPDATE II: Shorter Susan Demas: Walberg is "bought and paid for" by the Club for Growth, and he meant it when he said it. Schauer will win (maybe), and Schauer should win, but she's still somewhat disappointed.

When you're done reading that, GO VOTE!

UPDATE III: Live results, courtesy of Google:

UPDATE IV: Here's an alternate live results map, thanks to our friends at Daily Kos:


Closing Arguments

Bumped. It's Election Day. - Fitzy

From WILX, via YouTube user SeventhDem:

That's the scripted message each candidate wanted to put forward. For a more complete and unfiltered discussion of the issues, you can listen to, watch, or read coverage of three debates from the last month. Many thanks to WKHM 970 AM, which brings us .mp3 audio files of three debates.
They aren't perfect audio files, but they're pretty good. Some time (probably after Election Day), I'll try to get transcripts up. Better late than never, as they say, and I'd like to keep certain resources available, regardless of who wins tomorrow.

In addition, Senator Schauer has been crossing the district for his closing "Everywhere, Everyday, Every Job Counts" tour. If you need a last opportunity to meet Mark Schauer, here's your chance for tomorrow:
Meeting with workers at the Post Plant Gate in Battle Creek
250 Cliff Street, Battle Creek, 6:30 a.m.

Voting at his home precinct in Battle Creek
22116 Bedford Rd. North, Battle Creek, 8:00 a.m.

Meeting with voters at bake sale in Jackson
801 W. Michigan Ave., Jackson, 9:45 a.m.

Visiting campaign HQ and door-to-door canvassing in Grand Ledge
512 S. Clinton, Grand Ledge, 11:00 a.m.

Talking with workers at construction site in Jackson (across from hospital)
205 N. East Ave, Jackson, 12:40 p.m.

Greeting voters outside of a polling location in Jackson
1107 Adrian St., Jackson, 1:00 p.m.

Visit with workers at a plant gate and volunteers at a phone bank in Battle Creek
1006 Raymond Rd. N, Battle Creek, 2:30 p.m.

Greeting voters outside of a polling place in Battle Creek
3142 Capital Ave. SW., Battle Creek, 3:30 p.m.

Greeting voters outside of a polling place in Delta Twp.
5211 W. St. Joseph, Lansing, 5:00 p.m.

Visiting campaign HQ and door-to-door canvassing in Jackson
218 Mechanic St., Jackson, 6:30 p.m.
I've met both men, heard them both speak on the issues, and watched or listened to all three debates. My vote goes to Mark Schauer.

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Election Day - What To Watch For

From 7:00pm to 9:00pm, I'm going to be away from a computer-- and, in fact, away from any televisions, radios, or other devices which report election results. During arguably the most exciting portion of the night, when Virginia may be called for Obama, or when the returns start coming in for the Georgia Senate race, or when our own district begins reporting, I won't be able to be a part of it.

For a political junkie like me, that's like missing the World Series, the Rose Bowl (Go 'Cats! I believe in you!), and the World Cup all at once, which, by the way, are also on Christmas. Tomorrow could be a really amazing day, and I’m disappointed that I’ll be missing a big part of it.

But when I do get to a computer, I’ll be looking for a few things. I don't claim to have a secret formula or know which tiny town will be the bellwether, and I'm definitely not a Grebner-like expert. But I can tell you what I think a Schauer victory might look like, and where I’ll be looking for it.

Turnout in Calhoun, Eaton, and Jackson Counties

With 98 percent of Michigan's voting population registered, there are a lot of people who could show up to vote. That’s got to worry Tim Walberg, whose victory in the 2006 GOP primary was thanks to what former Congressman Joe Schwarz called a "motivated minority" of 7.8 percent in a low-turnout primary. (Schwarz also called them "quasi-theocrats... infiltrating the party power structure"). Granted, a general election is very different from a primary, but a Walberg victory will depend on certain people not showing up, namely in Calhoun County, where Mark Schauer could run up the margin.

But Walberg has someone working against him: Barack Obama. The Obama campaign has done a phenomenal job of registering new voters who are trending Democratic. But they didn't ask prospective voters for a partisan affiliation before they registered them, nor should they have. In a Republican-leaning district, is it possible that the Obama campaign might have just registered a bunch of new Republicans?

Maybe, but judging from where the new voters are coming from, probably not. With help from the Detroit Free Press (who got the data from the Michigan Secretary of State), here's a fun table:

County Reg. Voters New Voters % Change (Jan. - Oct.)

Branch 31,805 683 +2%
Calhoun* 103,707 3,950 +4%
Eaton 80,023 2,781 +4%
Hillsdale 33,327 724 +2%
Jackson 115,357 4,672 +4%
Lenawee 71,552 2,170 +3%
Washtenaw* 273,955 24,962 +10%

Note that both Calhoun and Washtenaw Counties have portions not in the 7th District. This is especially important in Washtenaw County, where Ann Arbor (and the University of Michigan) probably accounts for most of the voters and most of the growth. However, Battle Creek, which is in the district, is the major population center for Calhoun County, and is probably responsible for most of that growth. So for our simplified purposes here, let's ignore Washtenaw County but keep Calhoun County.

As you can see, the most new voters were added in Calhoun, Eaton, and Jackson Counties (both in absolute number of voters and in proportion to their populations). Calhoun County is generally considered safe territory for Mark Schauer, who has represented the voters there in the state House and Senate since 1996 and is generally very popular. Jackson and Eaton Counties, meanwhile, are the major "battlegrounds." Not only are they vote-rich, but they were divided pretty evenly in the 2006 election (Eaton: Renier 50 Walberg 48; Jackson: Walberg 51 Renier 46). Although Schauer currently represents much of Jackson County in the state Senate, I’m expecting it to be a major battleground again. Neglected in the voter registration drives were the Walberg strongholds of Branch and Hillsdale Counties, and to a lesser degree, Lenawee County (more on it in a minute).

I don't have solid data behind me, but I'm going to guess that if they turn out to vote, the new voters in Calhoun, Eaton, and Jackson Counties will break Democratic. If they were registered by the Obama folks, they were probably targeted as students or underrepresented populations, which is probably good news for Mark Schauer. At least, that’s what I'm hoping.

In 2006, Calhoun County had 47.5 percent turnout, Eaton County had 59.9 percent turnout, and Jackson County had 51.8 percent turnout (data here and here). If turnout is higher than that in those three counties (and especially Calhoun County), new voters and Schauer loyalists could run up enough of a margin to offset losses in the southern part of the district. If the turnout is really big in Calhoun County, that might be the whole ball game.

Is that a possibility? Could central-west Michigan see a massive surge in turnout? I don’t know, but it sounds like Kalamazoo County (one west from Calhoun County) is getting ready for one:
KALAMAZOO -- Bracing for a very long and very busy Tuesday, area election officials say they're "as ready as we'll ever be" for the 2008 presidential election.

"We're in good shape," Kalamazoo County Clerk Tim Snow said. "We've been preparing for this all year. We knew this was going to be big."

A surge in voter registrations and predictions of a higher rate of participation means the county could have as many as 144,000 voters this year, compared to the 120,000 who cast ballots four years ago.

The city of Kalamazoo, in particular, has taken steps to avoid long lines Tuesday, putting in a minimum of 14 voting stations at each precinct and substantially increasing the staffing.


On Tuesday, polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. People who are in line at 8 p.m. will be allowed to vote. The forecast calls for sunny skies and a high near 70 degrees.

Lenawee County

This is where Tim Walberg should win. He represented Lenawee County for 16 years in the state House of Representatives, and the mostly rural county is famous (or infamous) for its conservative politics and sometimes frightening tendencies. (Anyone else remember "Radio Free Lenawee"?) This is where I'm from, and I can say that it is a conservative place.

At the same time, though, people don't really like Tim Walberg all that much. Oh, sure, some do. Whenever I was canvassing, I was bound to run into someone who would say, "I plan to vote for Tim, I’ve known him for years" or something like that. But I'd also meet someone who'd say, "Walberg? I can’t believe we keep electing that guy!" The solidly-Republican state House seat Walberg vacated has been in Democratic hands (albeit moderate ones) for ten years. With state Representative Dudley Spade basically guaranteed reelection, it'll stay that way for at least two more years.

Meanwhile, the county is changing. Before the economy got really bad, a lot of people were moving out to Clinton or Tecumseh from Ann Arbor or metro Detroit for the cheaper properties, willing to put up with the couple-hour commute. They don’t have a relationship with Tim Walberg, and some of them are even (gasp) Democrats.

And the Schauer campaign has taken the county seriously, opening an office in downtown Adrian and hiring a full-time field organizer to staff it and coordinate with the Obama and Spade campaigns. Whenever he's in the county, Mark Schauer is certain to mention his great relationship with Doug and Dudley Spade, both of whom carry a lot of weight. (Side note: Their secret to success? They're actually really good representatives. If you go to Dudley Spade with a problem, he'll do everything he can to solve it.) Throw in the Obama organizers, and you've got a real chance for 2008 to be a year of Democratic revival in Lenawee County.

Will Mark Schauer win it? ... No. It just won't happen. But he can keep it close. Governor Jennifer Granholm managed to take 47 percent of the vote in 2006, and if Schauer can get a similar share of the vote and hold Walberg to 51 or 52 percent, it could mean a lot. If Schauer opens up a big lead in Calhoun County and Washtenaw County, then there just aren’t enough voters in Branch and Hillsdale Counties to make up for it. Walberg needs to win Lenawee County convincingly. If Lenawee County is as tight as the other "battlegrounds," it's going to be a rough night for Tim Walberg.

And what if Mark Schauer wins Lenawee County? Then short of something really unexpected happening, Schauer will win the district. But like I said, Schauer won't win Lenawee County. I'm not going to let my hopes get that high.


Barack Obama is going to win the state of Michigan. The only question left is "How big?" Since John McCain pulled out of Michigan, it's started to look pretty big. Here's the chart for Michigan:

That's quite a sight, isn't it? The final Pollster average puts it at Obama +16, which would be a bigger margin than Bill Clinton’s +13 win in 1996. That year, with the help of Ross Perot, Bill Clinton carried four of the counties that currently make up the 7th District: Calhoun, Washtenaw, Lenawee, and Branch. Calhoun and Washtenaw are to be expected, but Lenawee and Branch surprised me when I looked back at them. After all, these are supposed to be the conservative parts of the district.

Supposing Obama has similar success, picking up Calhoun, western Washtenaw, and at least one other county, is there any way Mark Schauer can lose? I'm not sure what the Obama-Walberg voter looks like, and I'd be shocked to see Obama carrying Jackson County by a wide margin but Schauer losing it. Maybe it's possible, but Mark Schauer has done a good job presenting himself as a moderate and a hard-working, dependable public servant. If Obama wins big, I can't imagine any reason for the Obama voter to choose "more of the same" and Tim Walberg.


Upon re-reading all of that, I'm worried that I'm being too optimistic and tempting fate for another disappointing election night. It's possible. Even so, and despite not having any idea of what I'm doing, I think that most of my reasoning has some foundation to it. I think one of the three factors above (if not all of them) could contribute to a Schauer victory.

That's what I'll be looking for, sometime around 9:15pm Eastern Time. It's possible that there will be a clear leader by the time I arrive on the scene. We'll see soon enough if any of this is right.

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7th District Most Targeted For Independent Expenditures

Swing State Project has been doing a phenomenal job of tracking spending across the country by independent groups, in addition to candidate spending. They created a chart showing the total spending and partisan leanings for every contested House race in the country. Here's the explanation:
Note that this does not include direct expenditures by party committees (like we saw the other day from the DCCC in NJ-05 & FL-18) or electioneering communications by 527's like Freedom's Crotch (the FEC's database is all but unnavigable).

We do, however, include spending by many third-party groups, not just the DCCC and NRCC. In fact, we've tracked spending by forty-six different organizations, some of which you've heard of, many of which are obscure. The list includes the Veterans of Foreign Wars, the Safari Club, SEIU, the National Association of Realtors, the Michigan Republican Party and many, many more. (Scroll down to the key at the bottom for the complete list.)

And here's what they found:

District Blue Red Total
MI-07 $2,209,452 $1,788,807 $3,998,259
MN-03 $2,398,106 $1,030,494 $3,428,600
CO-04 $2,450,302 $893,077 $3,343,379

That's right. We were the most-targeted district in the country for independent expenditures. Remember that this doesn't include the candidates' own spending, the DCCC or NRCC, or even many 572 groups. Wow.

And, as evidence of the excitement on the part of Democrats this year, a clear majority of that spending came in support of Mark Schauer or in opposition to Tim Walberg.

After the election, I'd like to take some time to seriously look at where the money came from on both sides. Right now, I'm just shocked by the enormity of it all.

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Walberg Making Fake Robo-Calls?

Via Blogging for Michigan:
Delta Twp.-Delta Township Democrats called on Congressman Tim Walberg and his supporters to immediately stop robo-calls that have gone out to voters that imply local Democratic Eaton County officials support Walberg. Several voters complained about receiving the calls on their home answering machines today.

"These are exactly the kinds of dirty tricks voters are tired of and will reject at the polls tomorrow," said Sherry Freeman, Delta Township Trustee whose name was used in a Walberg robo-call without her permission. "Congressman Walberg is resorting to these underhanded tactics because he and Bush have failed to accomplish anything that would help our economy. He should be ashamed of this last minute attempt to mislead voters."

Congressman Walberg refused to accept Mark Schauer's challenge earlier this year to stop using robo-calls altogether.

If anyone has more information, I'd love to hear more. If true, this strikes me as a desperate move. Walberg should be ashamed of himself.

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In Case You Forgot...

Still trying to make up your mind? Are you a moderate Republican, uncomfortable with Tim Walberg but not quite ready to vote for Mark Schauer? Do you wish Joe Schwarz would come back?

I can't help you with that. But I can give you this, via YouTube user SeventhDem:

And, in case you don't remember what Joe Schwarz went through (thanks to Tim Walberg), here's the piece he wrote for the Washington Post two years ago:
I am the political equivalent of a woolly mammoth, a rarity heading for extinction. Yes, I'm a moderate.


... What did me in was voter apathy, and moral absolutist groups supported by a vitriolic negative-ad campaign funded by organizations on the far right.


After 16 years in the Michigan Senate and service as mayor of Battle Creek, I was elected to Congress in 2004. But my moderate positions on Roe v. Wade (I do not support overturning it, believing that a woman has the right to choose) and embryonic stem cell research (I strongly support it), as well as my general feeling that religion and moral and ethical issues are private matters, did not sit well with those who would mix church and state in a way that is antithetical to the principles of separation on which our country was founded -- in other words, the hard right.

So in the Republican primary, the opposition got its vote out. The effort was funded, probably to the tune of $1 million or so, by the Club for Growth, a Washington outfit supported by plutocrats nationwide who apparently have nothing better to do with their money than give it to an organization that stands for nothing -- though it says it's "anti-tax" -- and likes to play in elections in which it has no logical interest.

I had a great campaign organization, willing volunteers and was well-funded. Key endorsements rolled in: from the Farm Bureau, police and fire organizations, teachers, medical groups, some unions, key GOP officeholders. My supporters thought I couldn't lose -- and as a result, I did. It was a classic example of a motivated minority -- just 7.8 percent of the Republican electorate districtwide -- nominating a congressional candidate. The moderates stayed home in droves, felt horrible the next day, and vowed never to miss another vote. They will. The hard right won't. And fewer and fewer sensible "let's take the broad view" candidates will have any chance of being elected.

But politics needs a middle. Communication across the aisle in Congress and in legislatures is the sine qua non of effective public policy formulation. The reluctance -- at times, the near-total unwillingness -- to consider the other side's position has hamstrung political bodies from coast to coast.

You should really read the whole thing. It's a little dated, but worth it.

And, of course, here's what happened this time around:
Former Republican Rep. Joe Schwarz, who railed against an anti-tax group's role in his unsuccessful 2006 primary, endorsed Democrat Mark Schauer on Tuesday because the organization targeted the congressional challenger.

Schwarz told The Associated Press in an interview that he decided to endorse Schauer over Republican Rep. Tim Walberg in the south-central Michigan congressional district because the anti-tax Club for Growth began running ads critical of Schauer's positions on taxes.
Schwarz, a supporter of John McCain's presidential campaign, said he had hoped to stay neutral in the race but "once they made the decision, the die was cast."

"That to me is the straw that broke the camel's back," Schwarz said. "I object to political dabblers who stand for nothing other than to create havoc and dabble in a congressional race where they truly have no interest."

Schwarz, a former Battle Creek mayor and state senator who is from Schauer's hometown, said he thought "it's appropriate to have someone who knows the area and understands the problems ... I think Mark certainly fits that bill."
Joe Schwarz is a good man, and what Tim Walberg did to him was reprehensible. There are lots of reasons to vote for Mark Schauer, and there are lots of reasons to vote against Tim Walberg. But if you're still looking, I'd encourage you to listen to what former Congressman Joe Schwarz has to say.

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Monday, November 03, 2008

Jackson Cit-Pat Endorses Schauer

Here's my Election Eve prediction: Jackson County is going to decide the outcome of the 7th Congressional District race. As predictions go, that's not too controversial. It's the county with the most people and it's the county that's basically evenly split between Democrats and Republicans. When the county's main daily endorses, it has the potential to be a big deal.

This weekend, the Jackson Citizen Patriot made its decision. You can tell they were a little torn over the decision, in the birthplace of the Republican Party. Nevertheless, I agree with the conclusion they reached. In their Sunday, November 2, 2008 issue, the Citizen Patriot endorsed Mark Schauer:
Voters in the 7th Congressional District might express relief more than anything else at the end of the $6 million-plus campaign between Mark Schauer and Rep. Tim Walberg. Their scorched-earth battle of misinformation and even outright lies has not been worthy of two honorable men or the district they want to represent.


Ideology may well shape many voters' decisions in this high-decibel race, but we offer our endorsement using another standard: Who can better serve this district in Washington? In that respect, Mark Schauer is the better choice.

We do not suggest that voters choose the person they believe can bring home the pork. Whoever is elected goes to a Capitol that needs a fresh start, to cut back on gluttonous Bridges to Nowhere and pet projects that benefit nothing but politicians' chances of re-election.

Even so, this congressional district — and every district — deserves an advocate. It needs someone who can identify priorities and fight to see they are met.

The Jackson area needs money to modernize I-94. Michigan's automakers (and, by extension, their local suppliers) need federal assistance. Economic development projects involving government contracts or regulations need attention from a local lawmaker.

Walberg's record in this regard has been spotty. Schauer's has been exceptional.


Schauer is nothing if not effective, however. He has shown throughout his political career — as a Battle Creek city councilman and spending six years in the state House and six years in the Senate — that he cares about improving people's lives in a personal, tangible way.

He and Walberg share a priority of creating jobs. Schauer has been relentless in delivering results, even if they are compromises. Walberg would sacrifice what his constituents need at the cost of a principled defeat.

Much as we respect Tim Walberg and his two years in Washington, we endorse a better candidate for his seat: Mark Schauer.

The Citizen Patriot has always struck me as a moderate-to-conservative paper, though they've had some very good reporting this election cycle and last time. As Eric B. at Michigan Liberal notes, so close to Election Day, most people have probably made a decision. Even so, it doesn't hurt to add one more newspaper that says Mark Schauer is the right man for the job.

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Pre-Election Round-Up

I think that this is interesting. Compared to this time last year-- when there was no election-- and this time in 2006, traffic to Walberg Watch is down, but not by all that much. Why is this interesting? Well, frankly, because I've fallen down on the job and fallen behind. Life got in the way. And even so, people keep visiting Walberg Watch. Thank you, everyone, and especially to everyone that has e-mailed me over the last few weeks.

Even though I've been a little quieter, I still absolutely believe that Mark Schauer is the right man for the job, and Tim Walberg absolutely has to go.

I've simply run out of time to give everything the time it deserves, but here are some interesting last-minute items:


The Michigan Republican Party put out this advertisement:

What's the problem? The photo of Mark Schauer slowly floating down the screen was stolen from a progressive blogger. According to Chris Gautz at the Citizen Patriot, two more photos were also stolen from the same blogger for use in direct mail pieces.

That's just a low move.


Speaking of Chris Gautz, he'll be holding a liveblog tomorrow night following the results. I don't always agree with the conclusions he reaches, but it's worth checking out. Chris has a fun writing style and tells it as he sees it.

And besides, I'll be away from a computer until about 9:30pm, so there's a chance Walberg Watch won't have anything exciting for a while. You've got to have somewhere to go.


There have been a lot of pre-Election Day "Walberg, Schauer in tight race" stories or "Candidates make final push" stories. If you're at Walberg Watch looking for more information, chances are you've already read one of them or you could write one yourself. Still, here's a small sample:

Schauer talks jobs at local visit - Daily Telegram
Candidates make final push as election nears - Jackson Citizen Patriot
Campaign for Congress down to final moments - Battle Creek Enquirer


Former Congressman Nick Smith-- who served the district from 1993 to 2005-- endorsed Congressman Tim Walberg for reelection. It's not a huge surprise. His son, Brad Smith, had actually gotten the Club for Growth endorsement over Tim Walberg in 2004, and no one has ever said either Smith was anything other than conservative. I think I might also remember having seen Smith contribute to Walberg sometime in the last two years, though I'm not totally sure.

Still, it's a significant endorsement, and worth reporting.


In mid-October, President George W. Bush was in Grand Rapids for a fundraising trip, and Congressman Tim Walberg was a major beneficiary.

George W. Bush was here, helping Tim Walberg.

I've got no further comment.


In case you're one of the many people every day that comes to Walberg Watch following a Google search for polling on the race, has a handy graph that shows the polling trend of the race. Sadly, there's been very little independent, public polling.


Remember to vote. Sure, you have to pay taxes and obey the laws in this country. But your right to vote makes up for all of those mild inconveniences.

Bob Schieffer of CBS News said this at the conclusion of the third presidential debate:
I'll leave you tonight with what my mother always said: Go vote now. It'll make you feel big and strong.
That's right.

If I've missed anything you think is important, leave it in the comments.

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Friday, October 31, 2008

Late-Night Blogging In Review


So, all has not been well in Fitzy-land. I've been busy, I've been caught up in presidential campaign excitement, and, of course, somehow I managed to catch both a cold (a couple of weeks ago) and a "flu-like virus" (this week). Really, there have been some pretty miserable moments. But you don't care about that, you care about beating Tim Walberg!

So I spent the last few days trying to catch up with the campaign-- that can be seen in the dozens of posts below, which I've just uploaded. Most of them are going to sink off of the page pretty quickly (or already have), so I want to give you a table of contents of sort. Here's everything I've been up to today.

By the way, there's more coming tomorrow. This is just part one.

Today's blogging:

As I said above, there's more coming tomorrow, especially in the "Debates" category. That's tomorrow. Honestly, I'm really tired right now.

But I've got one last thing, for all of you progressive Democrats that need some motivating for the last week of the campaign. Watch this:

The U.S. Senate Democratic caucus made that video last year in memory of Senator Paul Wellstone (D-MN), who was killed in a plane crash on October 25, 2002, along with his wife, his staff, and the flight crew. Wellstone was someone who you could count on to fight for you, and I think the video captures that. Regardless of whether you agree with his politics, I think most would agree that if we had more leaders who were that passionate about helping people, we'd be better off.

(By the way, Senator Schauer-- I know that you're fairly moderate and this is a moderate district, but if you win on November 4th, I'll be measuring you against the Wellstone standard.)

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Walberg: Iraq Did Have WMD

Um... Congressman Walberg?

Walberg: Did not Saddam Hussein have the weapons of mass destruction?

Schauer: No!

Walberg: You disagree with even the...

Schauer: Do you contend that he did?

Walberg: Oh absolutely he did. In fact...

Moderator: What evidence has the government found of WMDs in Iraq since we went in?

Walberg: Oh, they didn't find it once they went in, but there's clear evidence that they were shipped other places or maybe still buried in the desert. The Hamilton Commission found that out...

[Moderator?]: Did we find them?

Walberg: No, we didn't find 'em.
Hm. So, Saddam Hussein did have weapons of mass destruction, it's just that they're hidden so well that even after five years, we haven't found any. The Iraqi government was able to hide them quickly, in the midst of preparations for an invasion, without leaving any traces or having any witnesses that were able to give credible accounts to the Americans searching for the weapons.


I'm not an expert on this, but thankfully, there are some people that have spent a lot of time on this. For instance, the Iraq Survey Group, which was convened by coalition governments specifically to search for stockpiles or evidence of stockpiles of weapons of mass destruction, had this to say:
The former Regime had no formal written strategy or plan for the revival of WMD after sanctions. Neither was there an identifiable group of WMD policy makers or planners separate from Saddam. Instead, his lieutenants understood WMD revival was his goal from their long association with Saddam and his infrequent, but firm, verbal comments and directions to them.

and this:
ISG has not found evidence that Saddam Husayn possessed WMD stocks in 2003, but the available evidence from its investigation—including detainee interviews and document exploitation—leaves open the possibility that some weapons existed in Iraq although not of a militarily significant capability. Several senior officers asserted that if Saddam had WMD available when the 2003 war began, he would have used them to avoid being overrun by Coalition forces.


Senior military officers and former Regime officials were uncertain about the existence of WMD during the sanctions period and the lead up to Operation Iraqi Freedom because Saddam sent mixed messages. Early on, Saddam sought to foster the impression with his generals that Iraq could resist a Coalition ground attack using WMD. Then, in a series of meetings in late 2002, Saddam appears to have reversed course and advised various groups of senior officers and officials that Iraq in fact did not have WMD. His admissions persuaded top commanders that they really would have to fight the United States without recourse to WMD. In March 2003, Saddam created further confusion when he implied to his ministers and senior officers that he had some kind of secret weapon.
In other words, Saddam Hussein really, really wanted weapons of mass destruction, liked to brag about them, but didn't actually have any. He was a deluded, aging dictator, not a serious threat.

And what about Tim Walberg's idea that the weapons might have been moved or buried? In an addendum to the final report, it was concluded that it was possible, but very unlikely.

Again, I have to ask, if there were these massive stockpiles, how is it that no one witnessed their movements across the border? I don't know, Congressman Walberg, this is straying into conspiracy-theory land. Next you're going to tell me that black helicopters from the UN are out to get you.

But wait, Congressman Walberg said that the "Hamilton Commission" found out that the weapons were buried in the desert. So he's right... right?

No. He's referring to the Iraq Study Group (not to be confused with the Iraq Survey Group above), which was a bipartisan panel, chaired by Lee Hamilton (a Democrat) and James Baker (a Republican), and which released its final report in December of 2006. Except, they weren't tasked with investigating weapons of mass destruction. They were instead asked to find a path out of the mess we had created in Iraq.

In fact, in their final report, the phrase "weapons of mass destruction" only appears once, in the biography of one of the commission members. As far as I can tell, the report never discusses the truth behind claims about weapons stockpiles, nor does it address what might have happened to those stockpiles, if they had existed.

Frankly, I haven't got any idea what Walberg is referring to. If anyone can enlighten me, I'll gladly post an update.

It's possible-- possible-- that Tim Walberg could be right, and a couple of dozen of Iraqi nuclear bombs are hidden in the desert, or in Syria, or something like that. Maybe, in some crazy, unbelievable way, that all managed to happen without us ever finding any evidence. Hey, anything can happen.

But that's not what Tim Walberg said. He didn't say, "Well, who knows, maybe it's possible that they were there!" No. He was sure that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction. He mocked Mark Schauer for denying that known fact. It was ridiculous to suggest that Saddam Hussein didn't have weapons of mass destruction, and everyone knows that they're just hidden really well.

And yet, there's absolutely no evidence to support that. It's all conjecture and wishful thinking. When presented with evidence that the weapons of mass destruction weren't there, he continues on, living in his fantasy world.

We should be used to that by now. It's the same Walberg fantasy world where Iraq is as safe as Detroit, the Chinese are drilling off of the coast of Florida, Hurricane Katrina didn't cause any damage, Iraq was behind September 11, and global climate change isn't real.

This isn't funny anymore.

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Schauer's Closing Ad

Here's Mark Schauer's "closing argument," as articulated via television advertisement:

They released the ad on October 27, 2008, meaning it'll end up running for at most a week, and will probably be the last Schauer ad they see. I think it accomplishes a lot of things.

First, starting off by panning across a large group of unemployed workers has a certain populist element in a year that I think populism is a catchy message. There's a sense that these people losing their jobs was an injustice, and that Mark Schauer is on their side-- and on your side, if the same thing happens to you.

Second, it repeats the same message Schauer has stuck to for the entire campaign: he'll fight unfair trade agreements and fight for your jobs, while Tim Walberg thinks outsourcing is okay and won't fight for you. He's not trying some last-minute stunt or desperately changing messages. The Schauer campaign is comfortable with where they're at and think that it's working.

Third, everything about the ad, from the phrasing of Schauer's script to the music in the background implies "hope," which, as Barack Obama has shown, is popular this year. Schauer won't just fight the special interests or whatever. He'll "get up every day and work hard to get people back to work." That's a nice message.

And even so, it's couched in a certain degree of pragmatism-- the "I can't promise you that I can turn our economy around overnight" part. This is still a lean-conservative and lean-Republican district, and people won't vote for a Democrat they think is making ridiculously liberal assertions and promising to fix the world. Mark Schauer is promising to work hard, and will help make things better. Not perfect, but better.

I think this is his strongest ad. But then again, I'm a biased observer. What did you think?

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Walberg's Closing Ad

The Walberg campaign released what may be their final television advertisement for the season. For the first time since their first television ad, it's positive.

I don't have much commentary on this one. Maybe people will believe the "It's all lies!" message, but I think people are smart enough to know that he's been running a lot of negative ads, too, and some of those aren't entirely in line with the facts. (Anyone remember the "Schauer will give our children pornography" ad?) It's a little late to play yourself up as the poor, misunderstood guy who's getting attacked from all sides.

I'm also vaguely reminded of this ad, from Governor Michael Dukakis in 1988:

We all remember the stunningly successful Dukakis Administration, right?

My point is, sometimes going on camera and saying, "They're lying about me!" comes across as whining, and doesn't sit well with people. Maybe it'll work for Tim Walberg, but it didn't do anything to help Dukakis as he dropped back in the polls.

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Walberg Ad: They're Lying About Me!

Although it's not on Tim Walberg's rarely-updated YouTube page, on October 20, Chris Gautz brought us one of the Walberg campaign's latest television ads:

Or, the short version: "Mark Schauer is lying!"

I don't know how effective this will be. Rather than countering with actual rebuttals to Schauer's attacks, he's just issuing a blanket "He's lying!" as if that's enough. I don't know if it is.

Of course, Chris Gautz, who's quoted in the ad, notes:

At the end of the short ad, it says Walberg opposes privatizing Social Security, though he told our paper last month he supports giving future workers the option of saving part of their payroll taxes in personal accounts.

At a recent debate in Adrian, Walberg said "I have never taken a position to privatize Social Security."

I guess he decided to take a position-- though, it's not the position he's held before.

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Schauer Ad: Walberg and Outsourcing

On October 19, 2008, the Schauer campaign released this television advertisement:

Following the standard pattern of negative-then-positive, I actually think this is a really good ad. Regardless of the validity of the economics behind outsourcing, almost everyone in Michigan knows someone who has a story about losing a job because the business moved operations elsewhere. And when Walberg said that outsourcing was "necessary and good," it was incredibly tone-deaf.

But by closing on a positive note-- with a hopeful message and a legitimate Mark Schauer success story, Transpharm-- it casts Schauer as the good guy, on "our side." I'm not a big fan of negative advertising, but when you squeeze in some positive messaging, their value (to me, at least) increases.

That's my take, anyway. What did you think?

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Schauer Ad: Walberg "Bought And Paid For"

On October 8th, 2008, the Schauer campaign released this ad:

I'll be honest, I'm not crazy about this one. Using an actor's voice to fill in for Walberg in an attack ad just seems unnecessary to me.

That said, this is an issue I've criticized Walberg on countless times, and rightly so. He's been a reliable voice for the Club for Growth in Congress (to the detriment of his constituents). And, yeah, as Eric at Michigan Liberal notes, it's absolutely fair game to use this quote.

Even so, I'd be surprised if this was the ad that resonated with voters. People care less about who contributed to whom and more about issues that affect them. A million dollars is a lot, but if you don't already know something about the Club for Growth, it's not going to mean much to you.

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Walberg Attacks... Michael Moore?

On October 9th, 2008, the Walberg campaign released this television ad:

Contrasting it to their latest ad on the economy, the Schauer campaign had this to say:
It's an interesting contrast. Schauer is focusing on the economy and how the incumbent's policies and supporters are making things worse, whereas Walberg's ad focuses on... Michael Moore.

With the Congressman trailing by 10-points in our latest internal poll, it now appears that Tim Walberg has officially jumped the shark.
More seriously, though, what about the substance of the ad?

Yes, Michael Moore does support Mark Schauer, and has contributed to him. Lots of people support Schauer, and that in and of itself shouldn't be a bad thing. It's not like Schauer's been flaunting Moore's endorsement.

The tax increase attacks have been common throughout the campaign, and don't need to be addressed in this post. But the thing about giving drivers' licenses to illegal immigrants has been used less. Is there substance to that attack?

Well, it turns out, yes and no. Yes, because Senator Schauer was against a provision that would prevent illegal immigrants from getting drivers' licenses, and no, because on the substance of the issue, Mark Schauer was right.

Chris Gautz brings us the statement of then-state Representative Schauer when he cast his vote:
"Mr. Speaker and members of the House:
While I strongly support efforts to protect Michigan and the United States, I voted no on HB 5497 (H-1) because in a rush to pass necessary anti-terrorism legislation, there will be unintended consequences that could have been avoided by taking more time with this bill. This is a package of 60 bills. This bill represents only a small piece of the overall package and is unlikely to make any positive change to our current licensing system. Furthermore, if passed with the current language, HB 5497 would place a burden on the office of the Secretary of State that they are ill-equipped to handle. In considering my vote on HB 5497, I am compelled by the testimony of the Michigan Catholic Conference and the Diocese of Kalamazoo. They say that this bill will not accomplish its intended purpose. It will not drive undocumented persons out of Michigan. They are persons with homes, jobs, and families and are making substantial contributions to our communities. Depriving them of a drivers license will just make their lives and their children's lives more difficult. It will also result in an increased threat to the safety of all our people and increased auto insurance costs. This bill will also have negative consequences for Michigan's agriculture industry. In the Diocese of Kalamazoo, there are 20,000 migrants working each year in area fields and orchards. Many of these are undocumented immigrants."
In other words, complicated problems require thoughtful solutions, not panicked moves without considering the consequences. It's easy to make bold pronouncements like, "Illegal immigrants shouldn't get drivers' licenses!" It's much harder to think through the tough situation that would create for everyone.

Mark Schauer brings with him a thoughtful point of view. Tim Walberg brings only a rigid, out-of-touch ideology.

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AFSCME Ad: "Walberg For Wall Street"

YouTube user SeventhDem uploaded this advertisement on October 10, 2008. It's from the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees, or AFSCME.

I'm not going to lie, I was cringing all the way through this. It would have been fine if it wasn't for the cartoon Wall Street executives popping up all the time. Seriously, that's as bad as "Sour for Schauer." Come on, guys, you're embarrassing our side!

I think it's got the potential to be a fairly effective attack ad-- Wall Street isn't popular right now-- but it loses everything with the cartoons. Sorry, I just don't think it works.

That's my shallow take on it. What did you think?

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More From the DCCC

YouTube user SeventhDem (a phenomenal resource) uploaded this advertisement from the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee on October 22, 2008:

Ouch. We've talked about the sales tax thing before (though it's good to see them hitting him on it again), but I think this is probably one of the most pointed ads the DCCC has released. Notably, you come away from it remembering two parts.

First, there's the man with the line, "What nut would support that?" I think the DCCC is hiring better writers-- it's certainly more memorable than "Sour on Schauer," and they only had to say it once.

But the part that really leaves a mark is the end. While they phrase it as a question, it's clear what they want you to think: Tim Walberg both doesn't get it AND doesn't care. It paints him as out-of-touch with everyday needs and unconcerned with what you're going through.

And, frankly, while the ad doesn't tell a balanced story on Walberg's sales tax, the closing of the ad is very accurate. Walberg didn't go to Washington to represent us, he went there to push a rigid, ideological agenda. The far-right conservatism he's embraced is one that doesn't have room for compassion or helping those in need-- at least, not when it comes to the federal government. Walberg doesn't realize that people are hurting, and when government is one of the tools in your toolbox, it's irresponsible not to use it.

Use it carefully, sure. But you've got to use it.

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HCAN Increases Ad Buy In Response To Walberg

Do you remember this ad from Health Care America NOW?

On October 20, the Jackson Citizen Patriot reported:
U.S. Rep. Tim Walberg's campaign is demanding that a television advertisement, which they called ``blatantly false,'' be pulled from the airwaves.

The advertisement was sponsored by Health Care for America Now!, an advocacy group that is made up of nonprofit and political organizations.


Walberg's campaign disseminated its attorney's letter Thursday that calls on the group to retract or correct the ad, and threatens potential legal action.
Legal action? I knew it was an effective ad, but apparently it hit a really sour note with the Walberg people.

The short version of their argument is that Walberg doesn't support letting insurance companies make the rules, but instead supports letting inter-state competition. As I said before, this doesn't let the insurance companies make the rules, but it does give them a bunch of options for which they want to follow, including giving them the option of rejecting coverage of pre-existing conditions.

As far as legal action, I'm not quite sure what action they could take and actually expect anyone to take them seriously. But they did get a response out of Health Care for America NOW. From a press release:

LANSING, MI -- Today, Health Care for America Now (HCAN) responded to Congressman Tim Walberg's threat to sue over a television ad by extending its television ad buy in Michigan and running a new print advertisement in the local weekly. HCAN is putting its hard-hitting ad – "Fighter" - back on the air in Congressman Walberg's district for three additional days and has taken out a full-page ad in the Tecumseh Herald asking "What Is Walberg Hiding?"

Last week, the Walberg campaign issued a press release announcing it intended legal action against Health Care for America Now for a television ad running in Michigan's 7th congressional district. The ad points out Congressman Walberg's record on health care – a record that indicates he clearly stands on the side of the insurance industry, rather than on the side of quality, affordable health care for all. The Walberg campaign then released a second notice demanding a retraction.

Contrary to Rep. Walberg's allegations, the television ad is 100% true, and HCAN's new print advertisement running in the October 23rd edition of the Tecumseh Herald spells out the proof once again.

You can see the ad they put in the Tecumseh Herald here.

I'm glad to see that Health Care for America NOW isn't letting up on this. On the substance of issues, Tim Walberg is wrong, and it has the added benefit of being bad politics.

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Ann Arbor News Endorses Schauer

Although Ann Arbor isn't in the 7th District, the Ann Arbor News still serves as the main newspaper for western Washtenaw County, a vote-rich battleground for this year's congressional race. And although Washtenaw County is solidly Democratic, thanks to Ann Arbor, the Ann Arbor News itself is a rather conservative paper. For instance, in 2004, they endorsed President George W. Bush (R), while Senator John Kerry went on to carry the county 63-35.

In 2006, the newspaper chose not to endorse between Renier and Walberg, judging Walberg too radical and Renier too, well, incompetent. Here's what they said about Walberg last time:
Walberg's entrenched conservative stances on virtually every issue, from abortion to Iraq, offer no room for compromise - and that ideological rigidity should have no place in Congress. His unwillingness to engage in the necessary give and take of governance makes him an untenable choice.
This year, it's different. In their October 24, 2008 issue, the Ann Arbor News endorsed state Senator Mark Schauer over Congressman Tim Walberg:

Both candidates are bright, and are hard-working lawmakers who understand the importance of constituent service. Schauer knows how to get things done and is more likely to intervene and seek aid for companies, in part because he is comfortable in that pragamatic role and he doesn't have to jump the free-market hurdle that slows Walberg.

We're uncomfortable with Schauer because of his inability or his unwillingness to admit that tax hikes he typically would support will hurt the very companies he is trying to help in the district, and those are the small- and medium-sized companies that tend to be the best creators of jobs. And, we're unsure if he doesn't get that fact or simply is trying to spin himself as something he isn't.

Nevertheless, we're endorsing Schauer. His pragmatism works, and we think he will do a better job of representing the area of Washtenaw County that is in this district.
You could tell that it hurt them to do that. Even so, the conservative Ann Arbor News endorsed the Democratic nominee in the 7th District race. That's a big deal.

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LSJ Endorses Schauer

The Lansing State Journal is a great resource for news on state government and the Lansing area, including Eaton County. They've watched Mark Schauer in Lansing up-close, and they've watched as Tim Walberg embarrasses his district in Washington. On Saturday, October 25, 2008, the Lansing State Journal endorsed Mark Schauer:
Voters in Michigan's 7th Congressional District have watched one of the nation's highest profile contests between incumbent Republican Tim Walberg and Democrat Mark Schauer.

The contrasts between the two are deep; campaign rhetoric has been deafening.

But a careful review of the issues leads to a clear choice. The LSJ Editorial Board endorses Mark Schauer for the seat.

They also have a fairly decent response to Walberg's attacks on taxes:

The 2007 budget battle in the Michigan Legislature was messy, but Schauer took his leadership responsibility seriously and joined politicians on both sides of the aisle in creating and supporting a compromise.

Walberg now uses that compromise to label Schauer as a tax-and-spend Democrat who has run off Michigan jobs.

Voters should see that shallow partisan rhetoric for what it is. The United States faces a $438 billion spending deficit according to estimates from the Congressional Budget Office earlier this month (a figure that doesn't include the $700 billion authorized to stabilize the nation's financial crisis). It's a budget gap that makes Michigan's $1.75 billion shortfall for fiscal 2008 look like pocket change.

The 7th District will best be served by a level-headed lawmaker who has demonstrated the ability to partner with politicians of both parties to carve out difficult solutions to government's challenges.

You can read the whole piece (and the angry comments) here.

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Battle Creek Enquirer Endorses Schauer

It's not a huge surprise... From what I hear about Battle Creek's relationship with Mark Schauer, there would probably be rioting if they didn't do this. Nevertheless, it's important to note that the Battle Creek Enquirer endorsed state Senator Mark Schauer over Congressman Tim Walberg in the October 24, 2008 issue:
When it comes to the 7th Congressional District race, we endorse Democrat MARK SCHAUER over first-term incumbent Republican U.S. Rep. Tim Walberg.

Schauer has long been a thoughtful, moderate representative of our community, first as a Battle Creek city commissioner, then as a state representative and currently as a state senator. That is why we don't recognize the "scary" and "dangerous" caricature portrayed in anti-Schauer campaign ads. As a lawmaker, Schauer usually has taken the time to listen to both sides of an argument, trying to forge consensus about what is best for constituents.
It's a good endorsement, and you can read the whole thing here.

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