Wednesday, April 04, 2007

News Roundup - Berryman and Power Rankings

Later today, I'll write a post on last night's town hall. Turnout was more than I expected, but the event was kind of disappointing... I didn't get a chance to ask any questions, for one, and Walberg definitely took advantage of the friendly audience. I'm guessing a town hall in Battle Creek or Jackson would have gone a little differently.

Today, the Battle Creek Enquirer brings us two articles of interest.

Congressman Walberg is, apparently, one of the least powerful members of the House of Representatives, according to

U.S. Rep. Tim Walberg has almost nowhere to go but up in Congress, based on the “power rankings” of a nonpartisan Web site.

Walberg, R-Tipton, tied for 423 with U.S. Rep. Bill Sali, R-Idaho, out of the 435 House members on the list compiled by Among the 52 freshman representatives, the two tied at 40.

That's to be expected, of course, since Walberg is a freshman. The full rankings are here, and Walberg's page on is here.

Bill Sali, who is tied with Walberg, is an interesting character himself. He was another Club for Growth candidate, winning the primary and the general election with their help. His politics are very similar to Walberg's.

I don't want to change the focus of this from a Walberg blog to a Sali blog, but there are a few things worth sharing. For instance, this is what the Republican Speaker of the House in the Idaho state legislature had to say about Bill Sali:
"That idiot is just an absolute idiot. He doesn't have one ounce of empathy in his whole fricking body. And you can put that in the paper."
The Club for Growth knows how to pick its candidates, eh?

Now, from that to a more hopeful article. Former mayor of Adrian and former member of the state Senate Jim Berryman is in the news once again, discussing a possible campaign in 2008.

ADRIAN — An old Democratic foe of U.S. Rep. Tim Walberg is considering a 2008 run against him for Congress.

Former state Sen. Jim Berryman of Adrian said he has begun talking with supporters to see if he can raise the $2 million to $3 million necessary to challenge the freshman lawmaker.

(Emphasis added.)

If Berryman can raise that kind of money, that'll definitely make this the race to watch. I don't think that much money would be absolutely necessary to win-- after all, Sharon Renier almost won on $60,000-- but that's the kind of money I'd love to see a Democrat raise (especially if it were from in-state sources, unlike Walberg's $1.2 million last time).

Can Jim Berryman raise that much? We'll just have to see.

The article continues:

Berryman, 60, who lost a 1988 state House race to Walberg, said a basic philosophical difference separates the two men.

"Tim will tell you less government, less government, less government," Berryman said. "... I don't believe in abuse and waste, but I do believe there's a role for government."

Asked about Berryman's possible run, Walberg spokesman Matt Lahr said his boss has other concerns, such as tax relief, Great Lakes restoration and education reform.

"We're all focused totally on 2007," Lahr said.

(Emphasis added.)

"Focused totally on 2007"? Then why did Tim Walberg himself say that first quarter fundraising was important to try to scare off Joe Schwarz? I think maybe they're a little more worried about 2008 than they let on.

UPDATE: The Adrian Daily Telegram has a front-page article on Jim Berryman in today's issue, alongside their coverage of last night's town hall. Unfortunately, the Telegram has the worst website for a daily newspaper I've ever seen, and the article probably won't be available online until tomorrow.

That said, it's a fairly good read, which is surprising, given the soft coverage they've given to Walberg.

UPDATE II (8:12 PM): Perhaps my criticism of the Telegram was a little harsh, but I still think an article ought to be available online by the time people are reading it in print. But that's just me. Here's their piece on Berryman.

Some excerpts:
ADRIAN — Former state senator and Adrian mayor Jim Berryman says he will decide in two or three weeks whether to run in 2008 against U.S. Rep. Tim Walberg, R-Tipton — the man who defeated him in a 1988 bid for the Michigan House.

“I’m looking very seriously at it,” Berryman said Tuesday. “I look forward to that. Tim and I have a long political history and we are at opposite ends of the political spectrum.”

Berryman served as Adrian’s mayor from 1985 to 1990, before being elected to the state Senate for eight years. He defeated incumbent Sen. Norm Shinkle, R-Monroe, for the seat and served in the Senate while Walberg was representing Lenawee County in the state House.
“It would really be a genuine debate between two political philosophies,” Berryman added. “I just don’t think his views reflect the majority of people in the district. Tim is trying to take us too far to the right.”
Also, there are a couple factual inaccuracies elsewhere in the article. Walberg is beginning his fourth month as a member of Congress, not completing his fourth month. Also, Nick Smith represented the 7th District up through the first days of January, 2005-- while he might have announced his retirement in 2003, he didn't actually retire in 2003.

But now I think I'm just being picky. The Telegram is a fine paper for what it is, despite the occasional error and a little conservative bias.

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Greetings from Idaho, where Bill Sali'e election insured that we are now the state with the least effective delegation in Congress - lower than Guam and American Samoa.

I've name-checked your site. Let's keep tabs on these guys!
Welcome to the club, the "Unrepresented in Congress" club, that is, Julie in Boise!

Signed--An unhappy constituent of Tim Walberg.....

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