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Updated Oct. 14, 2010
In the August primary, former Rep. Tim Walberg won a ticket to a rematch against Schauer, who beat him by 3 points in 2008. This seat has changed hands every cycle since Republican Rep. Nick Smith decided not to run again in 2004.
National groups dominate this race. The Service Employees International Union and the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees have already chimed in on Schauer's behalf. The American Future Fund and Americans for Prosperity have aired ads attacking Schauer. Both campaign committees have also aired ads in the south-central Michigan district.
The Club for Growth, which helped Walberg defeat Rep. Joe Schwarz in the 2006 Republican primary, has not endorsed him this cycle.
Schauer, who has climbed the political ladder ever since he was elected as a Battle Creek city commissioner in 1994, will need those retail politics skills to win again this November.
District Profile from Politics in America
The southern Michigan counties that make up the 7th take in small towns, farming communities and a few midsize cities. Kellogg's Tony the Tiger makes his home in Battle Creek, the district's largest city. The cereal giant is the city's largest employer, and its philanthropic arm donates generously to the Battle Creek area.
Kellogg moved into downtown headquarters in 2011 and is funding the conversion of a former museum into a new building for a regional math and sciences center. Auto parts manufacturing still drives many small-town economies here. Some auto workers had been able to return to work after sagging auto sales nationwide forced several years of salary buyouts and layoffs, but uncertainty in the industry remains.
Outside the cities and towns, expansive soybean and corn fields dominate the rest of the 7th, which is the state's leading producer of both crops. Lenawee County is at the forefront for both corn and soybeans and contains the most farms of any county in the state. Farm payments and insurance are key issues, as is the potential for using agricultural products and land for alternative energy.
A Quaker tradition shaped the district's political and social culture. In 1854, Jackson's abolitionists selected anti-slavery candidates in a state convention that has become known as "Under the Oaks" and as the birth of the Republican Party. The farming counties of Eaton, Jackson, Branch, Hillsdale and Lenawee are fertile ground for the GOP, but there is Democratic support in more liberal Battle Creek to the west and the outskirts of heavily Democratic Ann Arbor (in the neighboring 15th) in Washtenaw County to the east. Independent voters can swing the 7th in federal races -- George W. Bush won the district twice while losing the state, Barack Obama took 52 percent of the 7th's presidential vote in 2008, and the U.S. House seat has changed hands four times, and party control three times, in the last four elections.
Agriculture, food processing, auto parts manufacturing, health care
Battle Creek, 52,347; Jackson, 33,534
Sojourner Truth lived in Battle Creek.
|2010||general||Tim Walberg (R)||113,185||50.2%|
|Mark Schauer (D)||102,402||45.4%|
|Scott Aughney (USTAX)||3,705||1.6%|
|Greg Merle (LIBERT)||3,239||1.4%|
|Richard Wunsch (GREEN)||3,117||1.4%|
|2008||general||Mark Schauer (D)||157,213||48.8%|
|Tim Walberg (R)||149,781||46.5%|
|Lynn Meadows (GREEN)||9,528||3%|
|Ken Proctor (LIBERT)||5,675||1.8%|
|2006||general||Tim Walberg (R)||122,348||49.9%|
|Sharon Renier (D)||112,665||46%|
|David Hutchinson (LIBERT)||3,788||1.5%|
|Dave Horn (USTAX)||3,611||1.5%|
|Joe Schwarz (R)||2,614||1.1%|
|2004||general||Joe Schwarz (R)||176,053||58.4%|
|Sharon Renier (D)||109,527||36.3%|
|Dave Horn (USTAX)||9,032||3%|
|Jason Seagraves (GREEN)||3,996||1.3%|
|Ken Proctor (LIBERT)||3,034||1%|
|2002||general||Nick Smith (R)||121,142||59.7%|
|Mike Simpson (D)||78,412||38.6%|
|Ken Proctor (LIBERT)||3,515||1.7%|
|2008||Barack Obama: 52%||John McCain: 46%|
|2004||John Kerry: 45%||George W. Bush: 54%|
|2000||Al Gore: 47%||George W. Bush: 53%|