Monday, May 05, 2008

Time Running Out for GOP Primary Challengers

In the Adrian Daily Telegram, there was an article about Congressman Walberg's appearance at the Lenawee County Republicans' Lincoln Day Dinner. It's a pretty standard article, letting Walberg repeat his regular talking points:
“It is our duty as Americans, as Republicans and as patriots to live up to the ideals of our party,” Walberg said. “People respond to leadership, but it mustn’t flow from airy slogans of hope and change.”
That there was a swipe at Senator Barack Obama, and a subtle suggestion that if you vote for a Democrat, you don't love America.
“It’s as bad as you read about. It is broken,” he said. “The Democrats are working on a strategy of defeat in Iraq.”
That's just a lie, plain and simple. Democrats are not working on a "strategy of defeat," and Congressman Walberg knows it.
He criticized the Democrats for favoring entitlements and working to roll back the tax cuts of 2001 and 2003. He vowed to continue the fight.
That's heavy spin.
“It has been a privilege to serve, and my second term will be even better,” Walberg said.
... And that's wishful thinking.

As fun as that was, the part that caught my attention was this:
The congressman, who is seeking a second term in Washington, D.C., this year, is unopposed in the Republican primary at this time. The Democratic side is led by state Sen. Mark Schauer, who is opposed by Sharon Renier in the primary. State Sen. Cameron Brown, R-Fawn River Twp., urged the party faithful to support Walberg.
(Emphasis added.)

It might not seem like much, but just a few words in that paragraph say a lot. David Frownfelder, the reporter for the Telegram, has covered the local GOP a lot over the last few years, and I think he knew exactly what he was doing when he added "at this time" to the end of that sentence. I don't know if he knows of anyone that's getting ready to run, but it's clear that he knows there's a lot of dissent in the 7th District Republican Party right now. The fact that Cameron Brown had to urge his party to stay loyal to Walberg says a lot.

I'll admit, I have partisan reasons for wanting to see a primary challenger. If Walberg has to defend himself, then that means he has to spend money attacking someone other than Democrats. If he has to defend himself, he will be weakened in November and, once again, will be the candidate of a divided party. And if he has to defend himself, it's much less likely that he will send his supporters to vote in the Democratic Party to cause mayhem, as Republicans seem to like doing lately.

But it's not just partisanship. It's pretty clear that I run a left-leaning blog here, and I mostly seem to attract Democratic readers. Even so, I've heard from a lot of dissatisfied Republicans in the comments and in e-mails, who can't stand Democrats like me, but prefer people like me to the guy they accidentally nominated in 2006. As I've written about before, Congressman Walberg has split the 7th District Republican Party. Republicans in the district deserve a real choice and a real chance to save their party.

There's just one problem for would-be challengers: Your time is running out. The filing deadline is May 13, which is just eight days away.

With that in mind, I have a challenge and an offer to any member of the Republican Party that is thinking about challenging Tim Walberg in the primary: come to me for help. I can publicize your name, I can put you in touch with local media, I can help you get support from the many moderate Republicans that read this blog, and I'll expect nothing in exchange. All I want is for you to publicly speak out and say that you're willing to take on Congressman Walberg, and then work as hard as you can to get on the ballot. (Clark Bisbee, I'm knocking on your door... But I'll take anyone else, too!)

The Republican Party has a proud history and has helped this country grow and develop in countless ways. It was born in Jackson, Michigan way back in 1854. Don't let it die with Tim Walberg in 2008.

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