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The Journal Gazette

Monday, March 20, 2017 10:02 pm

Schrader plans to run for Congress in '18

Brian Francisco | The Journal Gazette

Perennial congressional candidate Tommy Schrader said Monday he intends to run again next year for the northeast Indiana seat in the U.S. House.

Schrader, 54, won last year’s Democratic Party primary election in Indiana’s 3rd District. Although the party organization publicly disavowed his candidacy, the Fort Wayne resident received more than 66,000 votes – or 23 percent of the ballots cast – to finish a distant second in the three-candidate general election.

If he follows through, this would be his sixth bid since 2006 for the House seat won in November by Republican Jim Banks of Columbia City. Schrader’s victory in the Democratic primary last May, when he defeated two largely unknown and unfunded candidates, was the first time he has advanced to the general election.

Madalyn Sade-Bartl, chair­woman of the 3rd District Democrats, said Monday in an email that the party organization "has never, nor will ever endorse Tommy Schrader’s candidacy. We have been in contact with others concerning their intention to run for the seat."

Schrader said in a telephone interview that Democratic leaders "don’t like me. I’ll win the primary anyway." 

Schrader said that unlike in his past attempts, he will try to raise and spend money for the 2018 election and "work harder" by campaigning outside Fort Wayne. The heavily Republican 3rd District consists of 10 counties and parts of two others.

Schrader said Banks and the Republican Party "have bad karma. They don’t care about poor people. They only care about themselves and money." He said Banks turned down his request "for a couple of dollars" when the two crossed paths recently in downtown Fort Wayne.

Matt Lahr, Banks’ chief of staff, said in an email, "As is often the case, the Congressman did not have any cash on him, but he wished Mr. Schrader well."

Schrader said Congress should raise the federal minimum raise from its current rate of $7.25 an hour to as much as $15 an hour.