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Friday, August 04, 2006

Evans-Novak Political Report on our Michigan District 7 race

I post this verbatim:
Michigan-7: In 2004, moderate Rep. Joe Schwarz (R-Mich.) came to the U.S. House by winning just 28 percent over a crowded field of conservatives. Michigan's 7th District, in fact, became the classic case of conservatives' splitting the vote and letting a moderate into a conservative seat. Schwarz ran for governor in 2002 as a moderate, and he is an ally of Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), whom he supported in 2000.

This time, things are different. Just one of Schwarz's conservative opponents -- state Rep. Tim Walberg (R) -- is running against him this time, and the race is extremely close. Schwarz now has the endorsements of all his other former opponents, but he is in serious enough trouble that he is filing FEC complaints against Walberg and has not released any of his own polls. The Republican Main Street Partnership, a liberal Republican group, has come to Schwarz's side with what it estimates will be $1 million in advertising (the real number as of this writing is supposedly closer to $600,000).

Walberg, a former Protestant pastor, has the backing of the Club for Growth, which, as of late June, had raised hundreds of thousands of his $581,000 take. Schwarz had raised $1.2 million this cycle but had spent a million dollars by July 1 on ads and mailers that even his Michigan allies say were not particularly effective. His campaign's anxious posture says a lot right now.

Schwarz finds himself wedged between the pro-immigration Club and the anti-immigration Minutemen, who are both raising money to push Walberg over the top in the last days, but he hasn't figured out how to use this to his advantage. Schwarz's recent votes in favor of bilingual ballots and same-sex marriage could tip the balance in the last two weeks of the campaign. The race is still too close to call, though. Leaning Walberg.

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