The Republican primary for the newly delineated Michigan 5th Congressional District pits two candidates trying to show they are more conservative than the other.
Incumbent Tim Walberg, 71, faces Berrien County resident Dr. Sherry O’Donnell, 59.
As the incumbent from the current 7th District, Walberg, a Tipton Republican, saw his new district expand from Lake Erie across the southern state border to Lake Michigan.
“As Michigan’s most conservative Congressman, my top priority will be to combat inflation and get Michigan’s economy growing again. Reducing taxes, stopping wasteful spending, making health care affordable, increasing domestic energy production and eliminating bureaucratic red tape are all elements to help grow our economy and help Michigan families,” he said in a prepared statement.
O’Donnell said her goals when elected are “constitutionally-driven decisions, America first; economic stabilization; secure the southern border, balance the budget and fiscal responsibility.”
O’Donnell wants federal term limits and will work to “decrease crime and strengthen safety efforts, including school safety, restore parental rights, educational excellence in the basics, provide affordable pharmaceuticals and health care, and revoke current policies that impede our farmers, ranchers , and energy industry.”
The first-time politician, O’Donnell has support from Michigan’s America First organization. Headed in the state by Meshawn Maddock, co-chair of the Michigan Republican Party, a member of America First, said Maddock “works directly with Donald Trump.”
Walberg’s campaign provided Donald Trump’s endorsement of Walberg last week. “Tim Walberg put ‘America First’ and has my complete and total endorsement for Michigan’s 5th Congressional District!” President Donald Trump said in the press release.
The endorsement said, “Tim is fighting to secure the border, hold big tech accountable, and restore American energy independence. He is working hard to deliver education solutions for our children, support our military and veterans, defend the under-siege second amendment, and stop the trafficking of opioids into our communities. Tim is a strong crime fighter who adores our police.”
O’Donnell graduated from the Oklahoma State University medical school. She is certified by the American Osteopathic Board of Internal Medicine. She is the medical director of Herbie Medical Clinic, housed at Wesley United Methodist Church in Niles.
The doctor claimed the COVID-19 pandemic is a “plandemic.” Regarding vaccinations, the doctor believes the risk of getting a COVID-19 vaccination is greater than the disease itself.
As for masking mandates, O’Donnell said that is a personal choice.
“I think that’s taking some of our constitutional rights away from us, some of our medical freedom away from us,” she said.
Walberg was first elected to Michigan House of Representatives. He served from 1983 to 1998. First elected to the US House in 2006, he lost his 2008 re-election bid to Democrat Mark Schauer. Walberg regained his seat in the 2010 election and has been re-elected since.
Prior to his political career, Walberg was a minister. Walberg attended Moody Bible Institute in Chicago. He earned his Bachelor of Science from Fort Wayne Bible College in 1975 and his Master of Arts from Wheaton College in 1978.
The new 5th District consists of Branch, Cass, Hillsdale, Jackson, Lenawee, Monroe and St. Joseph counties, along with parts of Berrien, Calhoun and Kalamazoo counties.
Bryan Trouten and Elizabeth Ferzst are write-in candidates in the Republican primary.
In November, the winner of the primary faces Democratic attorney Bart Goldberg of New Buffalo. Also on the ballot are Libertarian Norman Peterson, Ethan Hobson of US Taxpayers Party, and independent Ezra Scott.