Friday, March 28, 2008

Where are they now? Paul DeWeese

It was a political lifetime ago, but many of you may remember the race for the 2004 Republican nomination in the 7th Congressional District. It was a big deal, and completely overshadowed the Democratic contest, in which Sharon Renier won her first Democratic nomination. Let's play "where are they now" and see what happened to the Republican field.

Here are the results of the 2004 Republican 7th District primary:
Joe Schwarz (R), 28%
Brad Smith (R), 22%
Tim Walberg (R), 18%
Clark Bisbee (R), 14%
Gene DeRossett (R), 11%
Paul DeWeese (R), 7%
Where are they now?

Joe Schwarz, no longer in Congress, is teaching at the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy at the University of Michigan, in addition to serving on any number of commissions at the state and federal level. We already know that he doesn't like Tim Walberg at all.

Clark Bisbee caught everyone's attention when he said, essentially, that he was interested in challenging Walberg in the primary, if anyone was interested in supporting him. Said Bisbee:
"I would love to be in Washington right now," Bisbee told MIRS. "I'll put it that way."

Bisbee said Walberg's "voting record could be better."

"He's kind of split the party here (in Jackson)," Bisbee said. "I don't know that he's endeared himself to everyone."

He does have concerns Walberg's seat won't hold this fall.

"My contention three years ago was that if I didn't win or Joe didn't win, there could be a big fight," Bisbee said. "And we could lose that fight."
So, it's pretty clear that Bisbee isn't a Walberg fan, either.

The MIRS article I quoted continued:
Other names being floated are the two other also-rans in the '04 primary, former Reps. Gene DeROSSETT and Paul DeWEESE.
I haven't heard anything about DeRossett, but it turns out Paul DeWeese might not be an option anymore for Republicans looking for an alternative to Walberg... From MIRS, via Michigan Liberal:
Former Rep. Paul DeWeese of Williamston, a one-time Republican Senate and congressional candidate, said he's changed parties and is now a Democrat.

For a number of years, the emergency room physician said he's watched a growing disconnect between the needs of people and the Republican Party's narrow "bankrupt ideology."

On one hand, Michigan has crumbling, potholed roads, yet the Legislature can't hold a reasonable discussion on investing in infrastructure improvement. The Michigan State Police (MSP) has DNA analysis technology, but so little funding that its multi-year waiting list keeps the innocent needlessly in jail, he said.

Instead of investing in mental health courts, the Republicans seem content to pad the state's region-high prison population rate. Instead of addressing health care, the Republicans' hand-off approach is causing emergency rooms to "burst at the seams."
(Emphasis added.)

Hmm. While he doesn't name Congressman Walberg specifically, the bit about "narrow 'bankrupt ideology'" sounds a lot like Tim.

DeWeese is sort of an odd fit for the Democratic Party, but I'm more than willing to welcome him with open arms. And Dr. Schwarz, too, if he'd like to come all the way and join the party.

So, that's Schwarz and DeWeese driven away from the GOP by the Walbergs of the party. Bisbee is ready to challenge Walberg in a primary, if he can find the support. Has anyone heard anything about Brad Smith or Gene DeRossett?

By the time Tim Walberg leaves office, will the 7th District have any Republicans left?

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People forget that Walberg narrowly beat Schwarz in the 06 primary, mainly because of a VERY low voter turnout. Less than 18 percent went to the polls in August.

Walberg claimed just over 8 percent of the GOP vote, hardly a plurality. Walberg was ironically one of the reasons for the low voter turnout. His character assassinations of Schwarz and receiving more than 85 percent of his funds from out-of-state made many in the GOP blow off the election reasoning he couldn't possibly beat Schwarz. Big mistake by the GOP and Schwarz has every reason to be bitter at the GOP "Leadership."

Walberg, narrowly beat Reiner, an unfunded and unlikely candidate.

So, Walberg now faces a real threat from Dems and it will be interesting to see just how low he sinks and what CFG will do for him.

If Bisbee were to run, I'd support him. But I've lost confidence in the MIGOP.
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