GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) - Michigan Democratic Party leaders are calling Rep. Roy Schmidt's party affiliation change "cowardly" and "sneaky."
On Tuesday, Schmidt, who has served two terms as a Democrat, announced he had switched his party affiliation. He said he would seek re-election to represent his west-side Grand Rapids constituents as a Republican.
Michigan Democratic Party Chair Mark Brewer issued a scathing statement on the same day that Schmidt changed his party affiliation.
Schmidt mentioned Brewer by name in a statement explaining his party switch, saying that Democratic leaders had not listened to him or his ideas.
Brewer said that though he hadn't argued with Schmidt and "enjoyed working with him as a Democrat," he was not pleased by Schmidt's move.
"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," Brewer's statement said.
Brewer said that Schmidt had been "deceiving voters for months" because he had likely been planning the switch for some time.
"He chose this sneaky approach in an attempt to guarantee his reelection," the statement said.
Brewer also demanded that Schmidt return money raised from Democrats in the past year.
Brewer went on to blast Schmidt and the Michigan GOP:
"We wish Schmidt well in the anti-women, anti-senior, anti-children Republican Party. He should be ashamed of this desperate, craven deed. Only someone who does not possess the conviction or confidence to face the voters would pull a stunt like this. He'll fit in perfectly with the Republicans."
Rep. Brandon Dillon, a Democrat from Grand Rapids who served alongside Schmidt, called the party switch a "betrayal."
A statement from Dillon reads:
" Roy Schmidt has betrayed the voters of Grand Rapids who sent him to Lansing. He turned his back on every person who has written him a check, knocked a door or hosted an event for him. He decided that it was more important to stay in office by any means necessary instead of upholding the principals that he claimed as his own. Schmidt has now joined Republican legislators that have done more harm to Grand Rapids in the last 10 years than ever before. He is now responsible for the pension tax that has robbed money from our seniors, billion dollar education cuts to our kids and public safety cuts to our cities. The citizens of Grand Rapids deserve better."
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