School Choice Advocate Defeats Incumbent Congressman

Published October 1, 2006

An incumbent congressman from Michigan lost his seat in the U.S. House of Representatives on August 4 in his state’s Republican primary race. Rep. Joe Schwarz was defeated by political unknown Tim Walberg, who received 53 percent of the vote.

Schwarz, a medical doctor from Battle Creek, was elected to Congress in 2004.

Walberg, a former church pastor from Tipton (shown on his Web site clad in jeans and sitting astride a motorcycle), is “strongly pro-life” and “believes the federal government is too large and that taxes are too high because politicians spend too much,” and that educational tax credits or vouchers are every family’s right.

The fact that an unknown could unseat an incumbent congressman in the primary means “the conservative base is tired of big-government Republicans,” John Berthoud, president of the National Taxpayers Union, wrote in an August 9 editorial published by Human Events.

“The key to Walberg’s win lies in the conservative base, which recognized that as poor a record as Schwarz had compiled in his first term, it would only get worse if he beat back the expected primary challenge for his sophomore term. Schwarz’s support for more spending and bigger government would only have grown in succeeding years,” Berthoud wrote.

In November’s election, Walberg will face Sharon Renier, an organic farmer from Munith who defeated three other Democrats with 53 percent of the vote in Michigan’s Democratic primary.

Karla Dial ([email protected]) is managing editor of School Reform News.