Monday, September 24, 2007

Berryman Drops Out

Ahh, computer problems... I tried forty different ways of doing this last night, but now it works fine...

Last night, I received this in an e-mail:

Berryman withdraws Candidacy
in Michigan’s 7th Congressional District
Former Mayor, Senator Jim Berryman believes the focus should be on defeating Tim Walberg and not campaigning against a fellow Democrat

ADRIAN – Jim Berryman of Adrian announced today that he will not run as a Democratic candidate for Michigan’s seventh congressional district. Berryman, a former Mayor and state Senator, said “now is the time to come together, as a Party and unite behind one candidate. “We need to focus on the real task before us and that is to replace our current congressman” Berryman said.

Berryman said he had made the decision to run for Congress because there was not an announced candidate that had the experience to run an effective and competitive race. “Now there are two candidates’ that have the ability to wage a successful campaign” Berryman said.

Berryman went on to say; “I was not running to make Jim Berryman a congressman. I was running because I wanted to do what was best for the families that live in the 7th District. I believe that this country should refocus its attention on the real issues that face the majority of us every day. That is to invest our capital in American industries, American jobs, our cities and our families.”

Throughout his political career Berryman has always been proud of the support he has received from organized labor. “I would have never been able to accomplish any of my political goals without the hard work of the men and women that make up Michigan’s and this country’s Unions” said Berryman. “This is one of the major reasons that I have decided to withdraw from the 2008 Democratic primary.” Berryman continued to say; “The Democratic candidate is going to need all the resources available, both physical and financial, to replace the current congressman. Having two friends of labor going at each other in a primary, will only be a distraction and lessen our chances of victory in the Fall of 2008” said Berryman.

Berryman, who is employed by the Michigan Education Association said; “Now that we (the Democratic Party) have a candidate that can run a competitive national campaign, I can turn my full attention to the responsibilities of representing my teachers and support staff, here in Lenawee County.” Berryman said; “I am still going to attempt to make a positive difference in the lives of the individuals that I represent, it is only going to be on a more local level.”

The AP already has a story up:

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Former Democratic state Sen. Jim Berryman of Adrian told supporters Sunday that he is withdrawing from the race to challenge Republican U.S. Rep. Tim Walberg in the 2008 election.

Berryman, who works for the Michigan Education Association, said he dropped out because he didn't want to have two candidates splitting the labor endorsement. State Sen. Mark Schauer, D-Battle Creek, announced in late August that he was getting into the race for the 7th District, which includes parts of seven counties in south-central Michigan.

"The Democratic candidate is going to need all the resources available, both physical and financial, to replace the current congressman. Having two friends of labor going at each other in a primary will only be a distraction and lessen our chances of victory in the fall of 2008," Berryman said in a statement to supporters Sunday night.

As with David Nacht, I just want to say I have a great deal of admiration for Jim Berryman. It's tough to run for public office, and he made a great effort over the last few months. Regardless of who our representative in Congress is, it's refreshing to know that we have men and women like Berryman fighting for us at a local level.

This isn't an endorsement of Mark Schauer. However, Schauer is the clear winner coming out of this announcement, now only facing Sharon Renier in the primary (who, as far as I can tell, hasn't yet officially filed as a candidate). Remember, though, that a lot of things can change. Schauer's entry into the race was a great reminder of that fact.

Still, this changes the dynamic of the race. I had expected a vigorous primary between multiple well-funded candidates. That would've been fun for political junkies like me and, I think, good for the candidates, but it would have been a drain of resources, as Berryman says.

Until Joe Schwarz announces his intentions and Sharon Renier puts together a 2008 campaign, we're effectively starting the fall with a Schauer-vs.-Walberg campaign.

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I'm glad that Jim Berryman had the same integrity as David Nacht. Both seem to have been good choices. I have been expecting a Schauer v Walberg race, and now we have it.

I hear folks in Western Washtenaw County are excited by the idea of having someone liberal to reflect their views in Congress.

Voter in Jxn Cty
Schauer is exactly the kind of candidate Walberg needs if he is going to return to DC.

I think people here have totally understimated the political career of Walberg and his stock goes up when you put him next to a liberal Democrat. Remember, this district is not blue. It is a red one, and when voters hear how much Schauer is tied to his party and how much he has done for the democrats, support will begin to gel behind Walberg.

I do not see this as a good development and was really looking forward to either Schwarz or Berryman. I guess I still hold out hope Schwarz will run again.
The 7th Congressional District polls at 47% Democratic, so it's not red. It's purple. Senator Schauer only needs to pull off some of the moderate Republicans to win. Fortunately, there are lots of moderate Republicans.

Voter in Jxn Cty
"I guess I still hold out hope Schwarz will run again."

This guy couldn't win a Republican nomination with George Freakin' Bush endorsing him. What makes you think he can win as a Democrat or even an Independent?

I think Voter in Jxn Cty is right on: "The 7th Congressional District polls at 47% Democratic, so it's not red. It's purple."

Let's not forget that Schauer's Senate district (within the 7th CD) is pretty purple. He clearly knows how to peel off moderate Republican votes.
Great news for the 7th! Primaries don't make sense in Congressional districts with the smaller donor and volunteer bases, yet campaigns that are still very costly.

Hopefully candidates in districts we need to win all across the state realize this and will show the same class.

Congrats to Schauer, and much respect for Nacht and Berryman. The 7th has 3 strong Democratic leaders who are fine examples.
If y'all think Mark Schauer --which apparently the folks in Western Washtenaw County think off as liberal -- has the kind of record to appeal to independents/mod. Repub's then you better have a vat full of the Cool Aid to pass around.

Running in a Senate district that Repub's lightly contest from all standpoints versus running in a Republican district that CFG will spend every conceivable penny in defense of their lap dog are two entirely different things.

Unless Schauer and Co. are ready to start spending money now to define him and highlight all of his moderate accomplishments, he's about to find out the difference in leagues.

Walberg won't ever win the hearts of moderate Republicans, but neither will someone with liberal credentials.
We now have candidates on both extremes. Everyone in the middle loses.

Remember, Walberg is still listed at THE MOST vulnerable member of Congress. His performance has been abysmal, pandering to special interests and voting NO on nearly every issue. The GOP is self-destructing and Dems will rule in the next election. I think moderates were asleep at the switch in 06 and are now wide awake and ready to throw Walberg out.

Expect the bitterest, nastiest campaign in a long as CFG and the Liberal left make the 7th a battlefield. I predict it will be ugly!
Neither Walberg or Schauer has much in the way of real life--private business experience.

Walberg spent years as a pastor (not exactly the kind of job which gives someone hands-on experience with business) and then he spent 16 years as a full-time state rep.

Schauer ran a non-profit for a few years and then spent the rest of his working time in the state house and senate.

Neither has worked in a profit-model job and neither one is equipped to understand the problems our economy is facing right now in Michigan.

Walberg thinks the GOP stonewalling in Michigan is great and Schauer is accomplishing nothing along with all the other senators and reps.

I hope Schwarz or some other sane republican runs against Walberg in that primary and I hope some moderate dem runs against Schauer in that primary.

Failing that, I hope Schwarz runs as an independant. We need common-sense representation which is not under the thumb of our horrible party leaders.

Both the Ds and R's are wholly concerned with power and petty partisan games. Ramming candidates down our throat by clearing the primaries is bad for us and we do not seem to know it.
Calhoun County is not exactly a base Dem county -- neither of its State Rep's are Dems -- but Schauer won EVERY PRECINCT in 2006. And before you point out that his opponent was an ultraconservative nutjob, look at Tim Walberg. Schauer will lay waste to Walberg in the 19th senate district, and that's a significant portion of the 7th. Schauer has an excellent chance, and should not be underestimated.
Native Detroiter Lily Tomlin years ago had a line that sums it up exactly.

“No matter how cynical you get, you can’t keep up.”

That is a quote from Jack Lessenberry's column today about the current situation in Michigan. I think that also sums up the current race in the 7th!

Here's the link to Jack's page.
"Calhoun County is not exactly a base Dem county -- neither of its State Rep's are Dems -- but Schauer won EVERY PRECINCT in 2006. And before you point out that his opponent..."

I would never point out his opponent was a nutjub nor ultra-conservative. She is neither.

She was unknown and in way over her head. She had no support from established sources and ran a pretty poor campaign.

Don't give Schauer too much credit for that win. And, Nofs district is a dem district. Wenke's district is rural calhoun with Kalamazoo county. His is more likely the red district. Nofs win in his district is confounding other than the fact he is pretty moderate.

Calhoun is solidly purple. It should be Schauer's base, but I don't think he will pull the kind of numbers vs Walberg that he did in 06 against the lady who challenged him.
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