This election cycle, Michigan’s 11th district might prove to be the biggest gift to conservatives. This oddly shaped district, which covers parts of Oakland and Wayne counties in eastern Michigan, was represented by the quirky, pro-labor Thad McCotter for the past decade. Nobody paid attention to this district, assuming that this Republican Main Street Partnership member would easily coast to reelection. But his political career met an untimely demise when he failed to garner the requisite signatures to get on the ballot for the primary in August. Last week, McCotter announced his resignation from Congress altogether.
When we say that nobody paid attention to this district, we mean everyone except for Kerry Bentivolio. Long before anyone ever envisioned McCotter’s untimely political demise, Kerry embarked on the arduous task of challenging an entrenched, moderate Republican from the right. Kerry is the archetypical Tea Party candidate. He was never elected to political office, yet he always had a deep understanding of the Constitution and an encompassing view of conservatism and free markets.
One would think that Kerry would have the nomination all to himself following the resignation of Thad McCotter. After all, he’s the only one on the ballot. Bentivolio also has a huge ground operation that is ready for a general election. Unfortunately, local party bosses could not handle a conservative outsider and rancher like Bentivolio. They decided to have tax-hiking state Sen. Nancy Cassis run as a write-in candidate with the backing of McCotter.
Now the saga has become even more bizarre. After the August 7 general election to fill the seat in the 113th Congress, voters will go to the polls to fill the seat for the remainder of the term. The special election primary will be held on September 5 and the general election will be held in November along with the national election. The state will spend millions of dollars to seat a new member for the lame duck session – a session conservatives should seek to block in the first place. Moreover, the special election to fill the current term, which will be held after the election for the next term, will be held within the old district lines. Nancy Cassis will be on the ballot for the special election.
There is an easy way to put an end to this mess and easily transition this seat to an unvarnished conservative. Let’s ensure that Bentivolio blows this out on August 7 and becomes the heavy favorite for both elections.
Bentivolio is a former soldier, teacher, actor, and scholar. He served in Vietnam as an infantryman and remained in the Michigan Army National Guard through both Iraq wars until he was well into his 50s. His experience in the military has inculcated him with an America-first sense of foreign policy. His experience as an English teacher has taught him that we need to abolish the federal government’s foothold in education. His experience as a farmer has taught him the virtues of the free market and the vices of government intervention in agriculture. Kerry is not one who will go along to get along; he will fight the big-government crowd in both parties.
Let’s help Kerry Bentivolio win the special election on August 7 and prevent the establishment from gaining a foothold in the special election in September. This one is worth fighting for.