Although Lt. Gov. Brian Calley called for a special primary election last week to fill the vacancy left by the abrupt resignation of Thaddeus McCotter from the U.S. House of Representatives, such an election may not be necessary to fill the vacancy for the remained of McCotter’s unexpired term to represent Waterford, White Lake, Highland, Milford, Commerce, Wolverine Lake, Walled Lake, and Wixom in the lakes area.
Former state Sen. Nancy Cassis, a Novi Republican, has said she wouldn’t run in the Sept. 5 special primary election if it would help spare the state and local units of government the $650,000 that officials expect holding a special primary election would cost.
In order avoid holding the special election, one candidate or no candidates from each party would have to file for the special election ballot, according to David Mroz, Cassis’ campaign manager.
“The story seems to be changing day by day,” Mroz said. “We are collecting signatures and will file them Friday (July 20) … There’s so much up in the air that could happen … We are going to spend very little time focused on the special (primary election). We’ll spend a little bit of time assessing the circumstances when we know who may or may not be on the ballot.”
Cassis was tapped unanimously by GOP powerplayers from Wayne and Oakland counties to mount a write-in campaign against Kerry Bentivolio of Milford, who will be the only Republican on the Aug. 7 primary election ballot following McCotter’s failure to turn in the requisite 1,000 signatures to run for re-election to Congress.
Bentivolio has been drumming up an effort on his Facebook page to get the 1,000 petition signatures needed to appear on the Sept. 5 special primary election ballot. A message left with his campaign for comment was not returned prior to press time.
Calley said last week that it was his “obligation under the U.S. Constitution and Michigan law” to call for the special primary election that would winnow the field to two to represent the 600,000 residents of the 11th Congressional District.
“It is extremely disappointing that the district is forced to have a special election that is neither cost-effective nor efficient,” Calley wrote in his announcement on Tuesday, July 10. “Taxpayers deserve better. But the requirement for the governor to call a special election in this situation is clear and we must do so in a way that establishes fair, realistic deadlines for candidates and election officials.”
Snyder’s office issued a statement saying that the timing of McCotter’s resignation made holding a special primary election in conjunction with the Aug. 7 regular primary election “impossible,” since absentee ballots have been mailed and primary election ballots have been printed.
The special general election to fill the remaining weeks of McCotter’s unexpired term would be held in conjunction with the Nov. 6 regular general election.
Natalie Mosher, the campaign manager for Dr. Syed Taj, one of two Democrats running in the Aug. 7 primary election, said the Canton Township trustee would not run in the special primary election.
White Lake Township Clerk Terry Lilley said estimated costs to the township to hold a special primary election “are kind of still up in the air.”
“It’s just a shame that it at least appears that this is going to be a tremendous expense to the taxpayers of Michigan,” he said.
The new 11th Congressional District formed last year following the redistricting processed required after the release of U.S. Census data includes Waterford, West Bloomfield, White Lake, Commerce, Wolverine Lake, Walled Lake, Wixom, Milford, White Lake, and Highland in the lakes area.