Schroder drops out of 6th District race (Updated)
State Representative Curt Schroder (R-Chester) withdrew from the contest in the 6th District late Monday, making him the latest Republican whose congressional aspirations were cut short by incumbent Jim Gerlach’s decision to seek reelection.
Schroder had briefly signaled that he might stay in the race even if Gerlach ran again, but a two-sentence statement from his campaign Monday evening ended his candidacy. “Curt Schroder has ended his campaign for the 6th Congressional District,” the campaign said. “He plans to continue serving in the Pennsylvania House and will run for re-election in the 155th District.”
With significant party support, Schroder had been considered a front-runner in the crowded GOP primary to succeed Gerlach. His exit leaves businessman Steven Welch as the only candidate who has yet to make his intentions clear. Welch implied he might still run last week, but left plenty of room for speculation. Howard Cohen also exited the race last week, while geologist Walt Hufford and tea-party activist Patrick Sellers both said they would continue to run.
Schroder was clearly upset by the sudden change of political circumstance, as demonstrated by the terseness of his campaign’s statement and, more revealingly, a message he posted on his Facebook page late Thursday night before Gerlach’s announcement.
“I announced for Congress almost six months ago under assurances from the incumbent that he absolutely would not be running for Congress again,” Schroder wrote then. “Tonight I am reading press and blog reports that he might be considering re-entering the race for Congress. The response from committee people and grass roots supporters to my campaign has been overwhelming and positive. I believe real change is needed in Washington. People want bold new direction and leadership, not more of the same. The 6th District deserves a Congressman who actually wants the job, not one who is merely settling for it.”
With Schroder out, Welch’s ability to self-fund his own candidacy would seem to make him the only Republican left in the race who could realistically challenge Gerlach for the party’s nomination.
UPDATE: Schroder sent the following e-mail to his supporters Monday evening:
I am ending my candidacy for the 6th Congressional District. I know to many of you this will come as a bitter disappointment. It certainly is to me.
For six months we have worked together toward a shared goal of protecting our freedoms and liberties which are under assault by the collectivist policies of a Congress that seeks to expand government control at the expense of our personal freedoms. That fight must and will continue for the sake of our great nation and those who will come after us. I will continue to stand with you in this struggle. One does not need to be in the US Congress to effectuate positive change. Many of you receiving this message are living proof of that.
Our campaign could not have been going any better. I was on the cusp of receiving the endorsement of the Chester County Republican Committee and I had strong support in both Berks and Montgomery Counties. My fundraising was going well. All of that changed without warning late last week.
The sudden and unexpected re-entry into the 6th District race of the current incumbent presented a new and potentially insurmountable obstacle to my effort to be your next Congressman. Since Friday morning when I first learned of it through a Washington, DC on line newspaper, I have spent days and some sleepless nights agonizing over the decision of whether to continue. Let me be clear: Every one of my grassroots supporters have strongly urged me to continue. The vast majority of Republican Committee people in Chester County pledged their continued support for me. I am extremely grateful and humbled by your overwhelming expression of confidence and support. I believe I would have secured a majority of committee votes at the Chester County GOP convention.
The bigger problem though is how to raise the money needed to run against an incumbent Congressman who will have the complete financial resources of the Washington DC establishment behind him. After speaking with many donors and people I highly respect such as Congressman Bob Walker and Pat Toomey, it became clear that the prospect of adequate finances to convey my positions and strong convictions to the public were diminished. While I know for certain that I have the passion, energy, and commitment to do the job, I cannot answer the question of where the resources would come from to win this campaign in light of this development.
Words cannot express my gratitude for your help, support and friendship over these past few months. I believe your help has built a solid foundation for the future should the opportunity arise for me to address the issues facing our nation once again. Deanna and I are forever grateful for your support, encouragement, thoughts and prayers. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.
January 11, 2010 at 7:30 pm