Voters in several west Oakland County communities will head to the polls on Wednesday, Sept. 5 to decide who should be the Republican nominee in a special primary election held in the wake of former U.S. Rep. Thaddeus McCotter’s resignation from Congress.
Squaring off in the special GOP primary election are Milford Republican Kerry Bentivolio; former state Sen. Nancy Cassis of Novi; and Kenneth Crider, Carolyn Kavanagh, and Steve King, all of Livonia.
David A. Curson of Belleville is the lone Democrat who filed to run for the current 11th Congressional District seat that McCotter vacated in July following a petition signature scandal that earlier this month resulted in felony and misdemeanor charges being filed against four former members of his Livonia office staff.
The five Republicans are running for the right to take on Curson in the Nov. 6 special general election — held in conjunction with the regular general election — that will determine who serves the remaining weeks of McCotter’s unexpired two-year term.
In the Aug. 7 primary election, Bentivolio — the only Republican whose name appeared on the ballot in that contest — handily dismissed a write-in challenge by Cassis, the former chairwoman of the state Senate Republican Caucus tapped by GOP kingmakers in Oakland and Wayne counties to run against Bentivolio, a former teacher and war veteran whose policy stances in some areas left bad tastes in the mouths of the Republican establishment.
Cassis last week said she would not actively campaign for the GOP nomination to be decided during the special primary election.
“The voters will go to the polls, see the names that are on the ballot, and our democratic process will work itself out as it has done for over 200 years in our great nation,” Cassis stated in an e-mail. “It’s time to lay our differences aside and work to get our Republican ticket elected in November starting with Mitt Romney.”
Bentivolio, three weeks removed from a convincing primary election victory, has been trumpeting the support he’s received since then from GOP leadership after many had publicly supported Cassis.
Among the endorsements Bentivolio has notched in recent weeks include Gov. Rick Snyder, Lieutenant Gov. Brian Calley, Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson, U.S. Rep. Ron Paul, state Rep. Chuck Moss (R-Orchard Lake), and Oakland County Commissioners John Scott (R-Waterford, West Bloomfield) and Bob Hoffman (R-Highland), among others.
Next week’s special primary election, which is expected to cost the state and local units of government $650,000, was necessitated after McCotter abruptly stepped down following a campaign petition signature scandal that resulted in charges against Don Yowchuang, his former deputy district director; Paul Seewald, his former district director; Mary Melissa Turnbull, his former district representative; and Lorainne O’Brady, his former scheduler.
It was revealed that of the approximately 1,800 petition signatures submitted earlier this year to the Michigan Secretary of State’s Office as part of McCotter’s candidate paperwork filing process, only a few hundred were legitimate.
The investigator’s report into the petition signature scandal that effectively destroyed McCotter’s political career states that “evidence indicates similar fraudulent petition schemes were used in prior elections,” not just in 2012.
Members of Congress serve two-year terms and are paid $174,000 annually.
The current 11th Congressional District represents White Lake, Highland, Milford, Commerce, Wolverine Lake, Walled Lake, Wixom, and the northwestern corner of Waterford, plus others in Wayne and Oakland counties.