LANSING, Mich. (WOOD) - Rep. Roy Schmidt, who switched parties from Democrat to Republican on Tuesday, talked exclusively with 24 Hour News 8 about his reasons.
Schmidt, who described himself as someone who had always been a "moderate Democrat" now says he's "a moderate Republican."
In his first interview since the announcement, Schmidt told 24 Hour News 8 he switched parties because "I felt more and more frustrated that the people I represented for 20 years weren't being heard.
"I knew it was going to be tough to make this decision," he said, and added he's been hurt by some of the comments people have made. However, he said, he's also heard many positive remarks.
In his announcement, the two-term state representative in Michigan's 76th District said, "I believe I was sent to Lansing to serve the people of Grand Rapids, not political bosses. The simple truth is, extreme Democrat party bosses like Mark Brewer are unwilling to listen to ideas or accept my positions on issues that matter to me and Grand Rapids."
In a scathing response, Brewer said , "It saddens me that in a desperate, cowardly, opportunistic move at the 11th hour, Roy Schmidt abandoned his constituents and the values by which he was elected for the sole purpose of clinging to office and the perks of the job. Rather than face a tougher district, Schmidt cut a deal with the Republicans so that no one would run against him in an attempt to ensure his reelection."
Schmidt denied there was any bad blood with Brewer. "But I work for the people of Grand Rapids" and not the party boss, he said.
With the new HD-76 50/50 type of district which is much whiter than the old one, this strikes me as very Arlen Specter, Joe Schwarz, John Stewart, Richard Shelby, or Charlie Crist type move, kinda fitting for the 'moderates'. This time the GOP is the benefit of it. I have to admit that I'm suspicious of the timing. I'm shocked though that he didn't get a primary.
I'm also quite curious to see how Schmidt votes, although with Snyder at the governor's spot, is it really going to be much different? Anyway, I'll take the committee vote for a two year term, but I got to admit suspicion with the primary filing timing and lack of primary from the GOP.