Schwarz: Residence, fundraising and age all factors against run at old U.S. House seat

May 8, 2012

Ford School lecturer and former U.S. Representative Joe Schwarz has decided not to challenge incumbent U.S. Rep. Tim Walberg in the 2012 election, reported last week.

"There are a number of reasons [not to run] which I felt were pretty logical – one of them was not that I didn't think I could win," Schwarz told Friday. "Because I think it's eminently winnable."

Dr. Schwarz lost his seat after one term to the more conservative Walberg in the 2006 Republican primary. He had contemplated running against Walberg as a Democrat.

The redistricting that occurred in 2012 – the redrawn 7th Congressional district no longer includes Schwarz's residence in Battle Creek – proved to be a tougher test of his conscience than his switch in party affiliation.

"The biggest reason I'm not going to do it is I don't live in the district," Schwarz told the Battle Creek Enquirer. "Calhoun County, as you know, is now in the 3rd (District), not in the 7th. That makes it a little more difficult. It's certainly not impossible."

In a commentary for Michigan Radio, Jack Lessenberry said Schwarz, "is a pretty good campaigner, (but) he hates raising money. Even if he could have done so this time, he would have needed millions more two years from now."

Lessenberry added that Schwarz realized he would have minimal policy influence as a second-term Congressman who turns 75 in the fall. While his age would make it difficult to accrue much seniority in Washington, Schwarz did not rule out running for future public office, according to the Enquirer.