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A Harvard, Berkeley grad, Schmookler, 65, concerned with 'elephant in the room'
By Preston Knight -- firstname.lastname@example.org
BASYE -- The Republican Party is a destructive force the likes of which America has never seen, according to a local man who has announced his candidacy for Congress.
Andrew Schmookler, an author, speaker and radio talk show host, plans to run as a Democrat against Sixth District Rep. Bob Goodlatte next year. Goodlatte, a Republican, has represented the district since 1992.
Schmookler, 65, said he began thinking seriously about running for office in January, although his disapproval with the status and direction of the country has gone back a number of years. He maintains a blog, www.nonesoblind.org, that includes pieces he has had published or broadcast.
At the core of Schmookler's beliefs is that the Republican Party has displayed an unprecedented amount of dishonesty, divisiveness and contempt for cooperation, and that other parts that comprise the American political body, including Democrats and the media, have failed to confront that "destructive force."
"It's damaging America in countless ways," he said. "This is not like anything we have ever seen before."
For voters in the district, Schmookler said the same might be said about him. A 1967 Harvard graduate who later earned his doctorate at the University of California-Berkeley, he said his slogan is "Let's Talk About the Elephant in the Room," with that beast being the Republican Party.
"My campaign and my candidacy are not the usual," said Schmookler, who has maintained a residence in Basye since 1992. "I look to the possibility that something unusual can happen."
Given Goodlatte's streak of decisive Election Day victories, it would be something out of the ordinary for the incumbent to lose. Most recently, in 2008, he outlasted a 27-year-old Harrisonburg Democrat who was the youngest congressional candidate anywhere in the nation and, in November, defeated two Roanoke-area political newcomers who tried, unsuccessfully, to overcome a lack of name recognition.
By announcing his candidacy early, and maintaining a busy speaking schedule, Schmookler said he may be able to better raise awareness of his campaign. He spoke at James Madison University on Tuesday night.
"I'm ready to talk about almost every issue this country faces now," Schmookler said.
Goodlatte's position through the years has been to not comment on opponents.