Skip to comments.Democrat from 5th District (8th District actually, not 5th) runs to represent the 7th
Posted on 07/08/2004 10:57:21 AM PDT by Dan from Michigan
Democrat from 5th District runs to represent the 7th
By DEE-ANN DURBIN
The Associated Press
7/8/2004, 12:38 p.m. ET
WASHINGTON (AP) Douglas Wilson wants to represent Michigan's 7th District in Congress, but when he looks out the windows of his Oakland County home, he doesn't see the 7th district.
That's because it's 70 miles away.
Wilson, a 40-year-old paramedic, is one of three Democrats running for the party's nomination in the Aug. 3 primary and the only one who lives outside the district.
Wilson lives in Oxford, Mich., which is part of U.S. Rep. Dale Kildee's 5th District. But since Kildee isn't stepping down this year, Wilson decided to run for the 7th District seat, which is being vacated by Republican U.S. Rep. Nick Smith.
"I'm smart enough to know that running against an incumbent is a tough job," Wilson said. "This is a great opportunity. It's a district that's been struck down and suffered a lot of problems."
The U.S. Constitution requires congressional candidates to be at least 25, U.S. citizens for at least seven years and residents of the state where they're running. But it doesn't require them to live in the district where they're running.
Still, officials at the Michigan Department of State say they can't remember another race in which a candidate ran for an office in another district.
Wilson, who works for a Detroit-area health care provider, says he'll move to the 7th District, which includes parts of Lenawee, Hillsdale, Jackson, Washtenaw, Eaton, Branch and Calhoun counties, if he wins the election. In the meantime, he says people in the district have been receptive.
"What I'm seeing from the voters on the street is that the majority of our populace is pretty disillusioned with politics," Wilson said. "We've got a lot of self-serving people with their own agendas. People say, 'I'm not concerned with where you're from, I'm concerned with the issues'."
That's not the feeling of James Haadsma, chairman of the Calhoun County Democratic Party.
"To my knowledge, (Wilson) has no connectedness, no roots here," Haadsma said. "I just don't know other than the fact that it's an open seat what his motivation would be."
Sharon Renier, an organic farmer who is running against Wilson for the Democratic nomination, says she holds an edge in the race because she's a longtime resident of the 7th District.
"It makes a huge difference. When I'm traveling down the district I don't need a map," she said. "I've done a lot of volunteer work throughout the district, and people know me here."
Renier calls Drew Walker, the third Democratic candidate in the race, "Drew York" because he recently moved to the 7th District from New York. Walker points out that he grew up in the district and says he decided to move back for family reasons, not to run for Congress.
"I really have what it takes to do this job and I take this area and these people very seriously," Walker said.
On the Republican side, former state Rep. Paul DeWeese also has taken some heat for moving into the district from Ingham County before the race began.
Despite his geography, Wilson says he has the best chance in the conservative district because he is anti-abortion and supports gun rights.
"If you can get the voters out, a Democrat can win this seat. But it's going to have to be a conservative Democrat who understands business and connects with both sides very well," Wilson said.
Wilson also says his background is familiar to the district's middle class voters even if his address isn't.
"A ton of people with similar backgrounds have found themselves 40 years old and spent, unable to find work. All of a sudden, their jobs are gone and there's huge competition between them," Wilson said. "I've been kind of shut out, and I think a lot of other people have also."
Oh, the closest part of the 7th district to him is in Salem. (South of 8 Mile, West of Napier in Washtenaw) That is the Northeast part of that district. North of there is the Southwest Border of Oakland, Lyon Twp. Oxford is the Northern border of Oakland with Lapeer County.
In order to take a drive from Salem to Oxford, you pass through McCotter's 11th district on Napier Rd in oakland's Lyon Twp to get to I-96, then go East through Wixom and Novi into Knollenberg's 9th district on I-696 once you get to Farmington Hills. Take it to Telegraph in Southfield, and go North through the Bloomfields to Pontiac. Then take M-24 to Auburn Hills pass the Pistons home - The Palance. Take that up to Lake Orion into the 8th District's Northeastern end and to Oxford, his home.
I'm also in the 8th(rather large district), but I'm only 20 minutes from either Dexter's border, or Whitmore Lake, also in the district.
Doug, why aren't you taking on Mike Rogers and facing Bob Alexander and Matt Ferguson?
/this is fully loaded with sarcasm of course.
While at first blush someone who is such an obvious carpetbagger would appear to have no chance in the 7th CD, the fact that he's a pro-life, pro-gun Democrat could make him a strong candidate in the general election should pro-abortion, pro-gun-control RINO Joe Schwarz receive the GOP nomination. As I've said before, we need all but one of the conservative Republicans to drop out so that Schwarz doesn't slip in with 25%-30% of the vote. Before, it was because the 7th CD deserves a congressman who matches the district's socially conservative views. That still applies today, bit in addition we've got to worry about a socially conservative Democrat winning the general election against the RINO Schwarz and becoming entrenched, in much the same manner as Bart Stupak has become entrenched in the 1st CD. The $40,000 question is, which conservative candidates should drop out and who should be the conservative standard-bearer?
Wilson will get knocked out in the primary. His views aren't bad for the district, but he'll have almost no organizational support whatsoever to get his name out. He's "D team". Most pro-lifers and pro-gunners will vote in the GOP primary.
And most people there don't know where Oxford is. And if they do, he'll be painted as a Detroiter since it's in Oakland County near Pontiac. That won't sell well in Battle Creek, Jackson City, Albion, and Adrian.
Sort-of the Sam Gejenson(Sp) effect in Connecticutt if I remember right.