Rep. Schwarz Unseated; Walberg Will Face Renier

By: Tony Tagliavia
By: Tony Tagliavia

After a contentious campaign that accused his incumbent opponent of being out of touch with the district he serves, former state legislator Tim Walberg is unseating Republican U.S. Rep. Joe Schwarz (7th).

"It certainly shouldn't send the message to the congressman that there was any disrespect from his district or from me," Walberg said. "It's an issue of voting on a philosophy. It's an issue of clearly representing a district."

Walberg says the primary result does send another message.

"There was another candidate that better represented them on isues of economic growth, issues of immigration, issues of energy, and issues of traditional values," he said.

Apparently on the losing side of those issues: first-term Congressman Schwarz. After all the votes were counted, he came up with 29,349 -- 47 percent of the ballots cast. Walberg ended the day at 53 percent with 33,144 votes.

One thing the two agree on: The vote sends a message, though Schwarz sees a drastically different one.

"One issue politics has pretty much taken over my beloved Republican party. And this, make no mistake about it, was a one issue campaign," Schwarz said.

The congressman says he's disappointed voters didn't recognize the good he says he's done. As for the reason for his loss, Schwarz points to lower voter turnout.

"The race was won by areas known to be conservative. And they came out to vote and the moderates didn't come out to vote," he said.

And as for the future?

"In politics, there's always a tomorrow. Whether there's one for me or not, I don't know. I've had a long run," Schwarz said.

And for Walberg, the race to Washington isn't over. He faces Democrat Sharon Renier on the November ballot. Walberg says although the 7th is a heavily Republican district, he's not taking a general election victory for granted.


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