Friday, October 31, 2008

Detroit Free Press Endorses Schauer

Like the Detroit News, the Detroit Free Press isn't a 7th District newspaper and isn't all that widely read in the district, compared to local dailies. But it does help shape opinion in the state, and an endorsement does carry weight-- in particular, with the state and national groups that are looking to handicap races in Michigan. The Free Press tends to be more left-leaning than the conservative News, but it's also the most-read newspaper in Michigan.

In the October 24, 2008, issue, the Free Press discussed the historically low grade of challengers in Michigan's congressional races, and then highlighted and endorsed Mark Schauer and Gary Peters as bucking that trend.
No matter what shape the state is in or how much Michigan voters gripe about Washington, they have a pattern of retaining their representatives in Congress. It's pretty tough to knock off an incumbent on these peninsulas. The result is challengers who are sometimes unqualified, usually underfinanced, and generally unable to offer assets equivalent to the experience and seniority that matter so much in the Washington power structure.

This year, however, two challengers have made the case.

In the 9th District, which spans Oakland County from Farmington Hills north through Pontiac, the Free Press endorses Democrat GARY PETERS of Bloomfield Hills over eight-term incumbent Republican Joe Knollenberg of Bloomfield Township. In the 7th District, which encompasses all or most of seven southern lower Michigan counties, state Sen. MARK SCHAUER, D-Battle Creek, would do a better job than incumbent Republican Tim Walberg of Tipton has managed in his first term.


As for the 7th District contest, Schauer, 47, has been in the state Legislature since 1997, and, unlike archconservative Walberg, believes that government can do more to help and protect people than just cut taxes and get out of their way. He has done considerable ground-level work to bring businesses and jobs to the Battle Creek area and says that securing health care coverage for all Americans is "an economic issue as well as a moral issue."

Schauer would set a "safe timetable" for a U.S. withdrawal from Iraq, while Walberg wants to achieve victory.


Walberg's first term was notable in part for a press release he issued taking credit for a federal grant to build a new runway at Battle Creek's airport -- in a bill that Walberg voted against. He explained that the full bill contained too much pork barrel spending. The League of Conservation Voters made Walberg a member of its 2008 "Dirty Dozen" in Congress for his record on environmental issues.

Walberg has certainly been true to his principles -- the American Conservative Union gave him a 100% rating last year -- but the 7th District would be better served by electing Mark Schauer to Congress on Nov. 4.

You can read the whole endorsement here.

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