From CQ Politics
Attorney Brian Rooney is filing the paperwork Friday to join the 2010 race for Michigan's 7th Congressional District seat. And he is seeking to join his brother, freshman Florida Republican Tom Rooney, in the House
Brian Rooney, an Iraq War veteran, is bidding to challenge incumbent Mark Schauer, a first-term Democrat. He plans to do a formal campaign launch next week, likely Thursday, in the 7th District city of Jackson, where his campaign will be headquartered. Then the following week, he'll head off on a tour around the southern Michigan district, which also includes the city of Battle Creek and suburbs of Ann Arbor.
But to get to a general election matchup against Schauer, Rooney would have to outrun former one-term Rep. Tim Walberg in the Republican primary. Real estate exec Marvin Carlson is also in the race and Bill Martin, CEO of the Michigan Association of Realtors, has expressed interest in the contest, as well. Walberg lost the 7th District seat to Schauer by 2 percentage points in 2008 and is seeking a rematch.
Outside of my anti-carpetbagging bias, I have nothing at all against Brian Rooney, but I do know a bit about the 7th district. Guys from Wayne County, Canton aka Detroit (in the minds of the district) start off with two strikes. Many people in this district have been there for generations going back to the old railroad days (my family roots in Michigan started in Marshall with the railroads). It is not a good district to be a carpetbagger (the 9th is probably more open for that). It's also a large district stretching from Battle Creek to Salem from West to East, and from Grand Ledge and Eaton County to the stateline from North to South. Outside of the Grand Ledge/Delta Township near Lansing and Scio Township/Dexter and Saline areas near Ann Arbor, most of the people to the district are not newcomers to the area. Even some of the newcomers are going to ask why he isn't running in Canton. I don't see that selling in the key rural areas or small cites/suburbs in the district such as Coldwater, Adrian, Tecumseh, Battle Creek, Eaton Rapids, Spring Arbor, Marshall, Hillsdale, Jonesville, or especially in the very independent Jackson area.
Canton is actually two districts away to the east. It's in the 11th district currently represented by Thad McCotter. To the direct west is Ypsi, represented by John Dingell in the U shape district. It does not become the 7th District until it goes north to Salem or West to Scio Township. I would not be surprised to see Schauer or even Walberg or Carlson have an ad or press release welcoming Rooney from Pittsburgh or Canton to Jackson. The 7th District does not have a large transient population. People settle in the 7th District.
In addition, Canton in Wayne County, is represented by a Democrat state rep in Dian Slavens. It is part of an open seat state senate district where Bruce Patterson, also from Canton, is termed out. Patterson can not run again. Why is Rooney not running for State Rep or State Senate instead until there is redistricting after 2010. Redistricting may change McCotter's district.
Another problem for Rooney. Base. Rooney works for Thomas More Law Center. It's a conservative Catholic organization based in Ann Arbor. It is a counterbalance to the ACLU, particularly on religious issues. It's most known for pro-life support. However, who are the 7th's district litmus test pro-lifers and religious conservatives going to support? Someone from Canton? Or the more well known Tim Walberg from Tipton in Lenawee County. How do you out pro-life Tim Walberg, who's from the district?
CQ Politics already mentioned it:
UPDATE: The Walberg campaign was quick to dub Rooney a "carpetbagger" for only recenty moving to the district. "We do not need a lawyer from Wayne County when we have Tim Walberg," Walberg supporter Mark Behnke, the mayor of Battle Creek, said in a statement released by the campaign.
I disagree, if you take out the 7th District aspect.We do need Brian Rooney. We need Rooney to run against Dian Slavens or run for Bruce Patterson's open district both based in his home of Canton. Carpetbaggers don't sell in the 7th, and he won't get past Walberg, no matter what the NRCC would like.