Local talk show host nominated to face Andre Carson

In early May, 31 percent of Republican voters in the 7th Congressional District in Marion County voted to nominate public relations specialist Jennifer Pace to run for Congress against Andre Carson. However, she passed away in March, meaning Marion County Republican precinct committee members met and selected John Schmitz to run in her stead. Schmitz is the owner of Old School Construction, LLC., which primarily does masonry work, and is the host of the Mouthwash Talk Show (Photo Credit: Michelle Pemberton/IndyStar).

Schmitz also co-founded Mars Hill Art Center with his wife, Lisa, who recently ran for City-County Council District 17.

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Running on a platform of accessibility

He emphasized accessibility would be a key issue in his campaign, and talked about his involvement in the local community. 

“My campaign is basically that I’ll be present, I will be in the community like I am now,” said Schmitz. “I’m not just going to sit out in Washington and watch the cars go by.”

Accessibility played a prominent role in the GOP campaign in 2022, as former congressional candidate and financial advisor Angela Grabovsky found that Carson’s office had not been fully open since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic

Grabovsky, however, still lost the election by nearly 37 percent. Schmitz emphasized, however, that this year seemed different for several reasons. 

Will this year be any different?

“The vote count is down. It’ll probably be higher in the presidential, but it’ll be interesting,” he said. “[Carson’s] been in since 2008… [and] basically votes party line with no input from the community. Bottom line, I’ll just outwork him, and I’ll go to the neighborhoods, I’ll go to talk to the unions – I actually have a union company that I’m starting, Local 120 – and, you know, and I’ll be going into the neighborhoods where Republicans won’t and don’t go.”

Schmitz told The Indiana Commons that accessibility seemed to have made a major difference in Micah Beckwith’s campaign to secure the GOP nomination for Lieutenant Governor. He said he invited both Beckwith and fellow candidate Julie Mcguire to come on his talk show, which usually features a panel of a Libertarian, a Democrat, a Republican, and a special guest, but only Beckwith showed up. 

“We had 80 or so viewers, and thousands after the fact, then Julie ended up losing by 80 or so votes,” he said. 

Post-election goals

Schmitz also began to lay out some goals for if he is elected in November.

“I want to bring back more funding to programs that actually directly influence our neighborhoods,” he said. “I’m [also] very concerned about the security of our currency and BRICS, that’s a very big national security item… immigration is also something that needs to be worked on.”

He also emphasized disappointment with Washington D.C. seeming to abandon local communities while spending liberally outside of the U.S. 

“[We should] stop sending our money to other countries when we have flood plains here in our district that our money could go to help fix,” he told The Indiana Commons.  

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