Politics & Government
2:49 pm
Fri July 20, 2012

Republican will challenge party-switching State Rep. Roy Schmidt

A Grand Rapids business owner will challenge a party-switching state representative in the Republican primary on August 7th.

Bing Goei made the announcement at the headquarters of his floral business Friday morning.

Goei says he decided to run this week after a report revealed damaging details of a plot by State Representative Roy Schmidt and Speaker of the House Jase Bolger to get Schmidt re-elected as a Republican. Schmidt, a long-time Democrat, has been apologizing for his behavior all week.

The Kent County Prosecutor said in his report Schmidt may have violated campaign finance laws but did nothing criminal. The case has been turned over to the Secretary of State’s Office for review.

Still, Goei says the situation just didn’t sit right him.

"When injustice occurs we, we as citizens of this country, as citizens of this community, have a responsibility to challenge that injustice,” Goei said.

Goei admits his chances as a write-in candidate are not good.

Schmidt’s name will be on the August 7th primary ballot. Goei has only a little more than two weeks to educate enough people that he’s running – and how to spell his “non-traditional” name.

But he told the gathering of supporters he had to challenge what he feels is unjust.

“When I saw that tweet come across that Bing had decided to run I was like “yes!” John Westra said with a big smile. The Ada Township trustee and registered Republican says he’s disgusted by the whole ordeal.

“It’s a stake in the heart to anybody who has that affiliation and goes ‘geez guys – this is not what we should be about.’ This is not the kind of representation that we want to be known for. We want to be known for lean, accountable and transparent and these were none of those things,” Westra said.

Bing Goei is a moderate Republican. He’s an immigrant and long-time business owner (my co-worker Dustin Dwyer just featured him here) who’s never held office. He narrowly lost in his first campaign in 2010 against State Representative Brandon Dillon (D-Grand Rapids).

Goei wants the election to be about real issues; like the state’s economy and improving chances for entrepreneurs. But he's afraid with Schmidt running the focus will be all about ethics and personal character instead of what he says are the issues that affect Schmidt’s constituents most.

Goei says its important voters in the Grand Rapids district have a chance to decide who will represent them, “not to allow Lansing to dictate who that leader ought to be.”