LANSING (WZZM) - Representative Roy Schmidt Wednesday defended his last minute switch to the Republican party Tuesday as he seeks reelection to a third term in the state house.
In an interview with WZZM 13, Schmidt responded to the criticsm from former friends and colleagues, who called the move cowardly. "It's tough. It's tough. It's kind of painful, but I feel a lot better than I did yesterday," Schmidt said.
Schmidt, who represents northwest Grand Rapids and Walker, had someone file his reelection papers ten minutes before Tuesday's 4:00pm deadline. That same unidentified person filed paperwork at 3:42 PM for someone named Matt Mojzak to run as a Democrat for the same 76th district seat.
Schmidt insisted Wednesday he did not know Mojzak. The MIRS News Service reports Mojzak had been registered to vote in Ottawa County until Tuesday. Mojzak's filing affidavit says he's lived in Kent County for 22 years, most recently at 2758 Woodpath, NW in Grand Rapids.
Mojzak answered the door at that address Wednesday but refused to answer questions, saying he would have a statement in a few days. Michigan Democratic Party Chairman Mark Brewer said Mojzak committed the felony of perjury by lying on his affidavit.
"We call for an immediate investigation into this matter by Secretary of State Ruth Johnson, Attorney General Bill Schuette, and the Kent County Prosecutor's office," Brewer said.
Schmidt said he reached his final decision to switch parties Monday night after discussing it for a few weeks with Republican House Speaker Jase Bolger. Schmidt's filing affidavit was notarized on May 3. Schmidt is seeking reelection in newly-aligned district that is more Republican than the one he has represented for the past three and a half years.
Schmidt said he was willing to refund campaign contributions to those that request it. His office number is 517-373-0822. Schmidt's longtime aide, Ed Kettle resigned his position to work for the Michigan Senate Democrats.
The status of Schmidt's other Lansing staffer was unclear late Wednesday.