This post is by my good friend (and current webmaster) Charles Gaba who goes by the name “Brainwrap” on Daily Kos. After seeing his awesome Daily Kos summary/update on the clusterfark that is Michigan’s 11th Congressional District (MI-11), I asked him if he’d be willing to guest blog it here. Happily, he agreed. Because Charles is a fine writer and covers part of the state that he knows better than I do, you may see his stuff here from time to time. Please make him feel welcomed.
Thanks, Thad. Allow us to clean up this huge mess you left behind for you.
When last we left the Thad McCotter MI-11 Trainwreck, Republican Kerry “Reindeer Farmer/9-11 Truther” Bentivolio had $300,000 dumped into his pocket by a Ron Paul SuperPAC, while the Michigan GOP desperately tried to save face (and the House seat) by scrambling to run former state Senator Nancy Cassis as a write-in candidate.
Meanwhile, on the Democratic side, Dr. Syed Taj, Canton Township Trustee, former head of medicine at Oakwood hospital and all around good egg, could nary believe his good fortune by seeing his campaign–which was already solidly run and raising some decent money ($200K in the spring quarter)–suddenly go from a longshot against 5-term incumbent McCotter to reasonable odds (if still an underdog) in an unexpectedly open, and very confusing seat.
In spite of this twist of fate, Dr. Taj still had to get past one troubling primary issue of his own–a Lyndon LaRouche “Democrat” on the ballot who carries around pictures of Obama with a Hitler moustache and wants to have the President impeached. Seriously.
At the same time, as you’ll recall, all of this was caused by McCotter and his staff proving to be criminals, incompetent, or criminally incompetent. But more on that later.
Well, there have been three major developments since then:
- First, Michigan’s August primary is now out of the way, and I’m very pleased to report that Dr. Taj defeated the LaRouche nutbag. The good doctor is now our official nominee for the November MI-11 congressional race.
- Second, on the GOP side, Bentivolio also defeated the write-in campaign of Cassis, which means that we now have a true Tea Bagger, Paulite *and* 9-11 Truther all rolled into one. Not sure how that’s possible, but there you have it.
- And finally, four of McCotter’s congressional aides have now been arraigned on election fraud charges for their jaw-droppingly sloppy ballot petition signature forgeries, which involved literally cutting & pasting signatures from old petitions onto new ones.
In fact, their fraud was so amateurishly done that even right-wing GOP Attorney General Bill Schutte…
“described the four as “not simply Keystone Kops running amok … criminal acts were committed.”
He said the petition forgeries and cut-and-paste jobs on the petitions “would make an elementary art teacher cringe.”
Oh, but that’s not all:
Schuette said the McCotter staffers also likely did the same thing in the 2008 elections, using 2006 petition signatures.
Back to the current race…
See, I forgot to mention one other amusing thing: One other bit of fallout from McCotter’s resignation is that we’re *also* having a special election to fill his seat for the balance of the *current* term. A term which will only last about 6 weeks, since it wouldn’t start until after the November election.
And, if you’re gonna have a special election, that means you also have to have a special primary election for it. Which will happen in September. And which will feature both Bentivolio *and* Cassis on the ticket…along with 3 other Republicans. And which, by the way, is going to cost the taxpayers an additional $650,000.
Oh, yeah, and to add to the confusion, the special election is for the *old* 11th district, while the full-term election will be for the *new* 11th district.
And that’s where today’s diary title comes into play: Cassis is refusing to endorse Bentivolio, and is refusing to make good on her promise NOT to run in the special election if she lost to Bentivolio:
Bentivolio also criticizes Cassis for saying that she wouldn’t run in the special election if she lost in the Aug. 7 primary.
Cassis says that’s so, but that changed when three other Republicans jumped into the special primary.
Cassis says Bentivolio needs to do a number of things before she’d drop out of the special election, or even consider endorsing him in a general election.
Among them is acknowledging his support for GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney, disavowing himself from a movie he appeared in that was critical of former President George W. Bush, and declaring his commitment to a strong national defense.
“Until I hear those kind of things, and our party hears those things, I cannot in good conscience endorse him,” Cassis said. “I’m not going to vote for the Democrat and in good conscience, I’m not sure I could vote for Mr. Bentivolio.”
Bear in mind that Cassis is considered the *rational* Republican in this race.
Meanwhile, Dr. Taj has (wisely, in my view) decided not to get involved in the special election at all, focusing his efforts on the full 2-year term alone.
Let’s give him a hand, shall we? This trainwreck of a district is winnable, thanks to a great candidate on our side combined with a bizarre, Rube Goldberg-like series of developments that have fallen into our laps.