THURSDAY, March 2 — Lansing Mayor Andy Schor announced today he is exploring a run for Congress for the House seat that U.S . Rep. Elissa Slotkin will vacate in order to run for the U.S. Senate.
In doing so, Schor, a Democrat, made it clear he intends to run as a centrist if he officially enters the race for his party's nomination. The primary is scheduled for Aug. 6, 2024, except for the presidential primary, which is Feb. 27.
As a centrist candidate, Schor would follow Slotkin’s path, which helped her win a seat after nearly two decades of Republican representation. Former Republican state Sen. Tom Barrett — who is reportedly considering running again — came within 5% of her in 2022 in the newly shaped 7th District. Slotkin served two previous terms in the old 8th Congressional District.
“The 7th Congressional District needs a consensus-builder who can work with both parties to get things done in Congress,” Schor said in an online announcement. “We don’t need a liberal, and we don’t need someone from the radical right.”
Schor, 47, was elected Lansing’s 52nd mayor in 2017 and reelected in 2021. He also served as an Ingham County commissioner and then a state representative. A native of New York, Schor graduated from the University of Michigan and worked for the Michigan Municipal League as director of state and federal affairs for five years.
A number of Lansing-area Democrats have reportedly expressed interest in running for Slotkin's seat, among them Ingham County Clerk Barb Byrum, state Sens. Sarah Anthony and Sam Singh and state Rep. Julie Brixie. But Schor is the first to form an exploratory committee. Creating such a committee allows Schor to raise some funds but prohibits him from campaigning as a candidate.
In his first interview after posting his announcement, Schor told City Pulse, "A centrist is who I am. I think that’s what the district is looking for."
Asked how much it would cost for a successful primary and general election he noted that Slotkin raised $9 million in the last election cycle. "It is going to take at least that much if I get into the race," he said.
Schor said he has received text messages and calls offering to host fundraisers for him in Los Angeles, Ohio and Chicago. "I have had a lot of people say they would support me, people I have connected with through the U.S. Conference of Mayors."
He will begin hosting "listening sessions" around the 7th Congressional District "soon." The district includes all of Ingham, Clinton, Shiawassee and Livingston counties and portions of Eaton and Oakland counties.
"He said that after those “listening sessions and heard from the voters and looked at the fundraising potential I will decide then if I am going to run. There are 19 months to go and this is hour one of the exploratory committee," he said.
Asked for his view on the war in Ukraine, which is shaping up as a major political issue for the 2024 election, Schor said he supported President Biden’s efforts to arm Ukraine in order to defend itself against Russia.
He added that he was active within the U.S. Conference of Mayors “on support for Ukraine.”
Morever, he said locally that the local retirement boards that oversee pensions for city employees passed a motion he had made to tell their financial consultants and fund owners “that we would like them to divest from Russian funds.”
Schor noted that when U.S. Rep Mike Rogers, R-Brighton, who represented the Lansing area in Congress for 14 years, announced he would not seek reelection, he was approached by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee to run for the seat. He declined at the time, citing his children's age. "That would be a recipe for divorce," he told D.C. officials.
Now, he said, his wife Erin and his two children, a son, 18, and a daughter, 16, "100 percent" supportive.
As for his day job, Schor said, "I plan to continue my work as a full-time mayor. I will just be much busier. and I will have less time in City Hall and more time on the phone or in Zoom meetings.”
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