(This story was updated to say that Andy Schor said he had garnered endorsements in four counties in the 7th Congressional District, not all.
Andy Schor can pinpoint when he decided against running for Congress.
The Lansing mayor announced an exploratory campaign just two and a half weeks ago. But between then and now, he and his wife, Erin, paid a two-day visit to her twin sister and his in-laws in Indianapolis.
“It dawned on me that for 17 months that I wasn’t going to be able to do this. I wasn’t going to be able to spend quality time with my family — I’d be off in a room on the phone.”
So, Schor told friends and supporters by email this morning that he was shutting down his Exploratory Campaign Committee and returning his focus to the city — and his family.
In an exclusive interview, Schor insisted that his decision was as simple as that. No one talked him out of it. No one scared him out of it.
“It has zero to do with anyone discouraging me,” he said. In fact, no one discouraged him, he said. Some people said they hoped he’d stay as mayor because they liked the job he is doing, not because they thought he could not mount a strong race for Congress, he said.
The daunting goal of raising $10 million — the price tag he put on the race, which at $9 million in the same district last year was the most expensive Democratic race in the country— did not stop him on its own.
“I wasn’t worried about support or raising money,” he said. He estimated he already had $300,000 to $500,000 in commitments and endorsements from Democrats and Republicans in four counties in the 7th Congressional District.
It was just that “I wasn’t going to sacrifice everything for 17 months,” he said.
Everyone with experience to know what he would face had told him he had to be 100% committed, Schor said. U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Lansing, who is retiring, told him. U.S. Rep. Elissa Slotkin, who is running to replace her and whose seat Schor was considering a run for, did too, among others.
Something would have to go. He’d have to rob time from his job or his family. The Schors have a son, 18, and a daughter, 16.
“I wasn’t going to sacrifice the mayor’s job,” he said. That left his family life.
“I decided not to run for my family and for my mental health.”
He said it’s one thing to run for the state House, as he did successfully twice, and for mayor of Lansing, as he has done successfully twice — campaigning as he did on nights and weekends.
It’s another thing to put “every spare moment into campaigning.”
Nor was there much time to ponder a decision.
He said he would have needed to move from exploring it to doing it almost immediately because people would be looking at quarterly campaign committee fundraising reports at the end of June and he needed every one of those 90 days starting April 1 — less than two weeks away — to be raising money.
Then the next eight months would have been all about fundraising and meet and greets until he hit $2 million. That's the threshold, he said, for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee to take him seriously and perhaps support him and help him raise the remaining $8 million.
From there, he’d still have to win the Democratic nomination in August 2024 and then go on to run against his likely opponent, former Republican State Rep. Tom Barrett, in the November general election.
And if he won?
“It’s a 50/50 seat,” he said, referring to the district’s political makeup. “It starts again the day after.”
Why didn’t he figure that all out before he announced he was forming an exploratory committee?
“I needed to say I was going to explore this to decide in my head if I really wanted to do it.”
Now that he is out, he has some advice for other Democrats who are considering it:
“Know you have the capacity to do it — to raise the money and be away from your family or whatever else you like to do.”
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