The race for Michigan’s comically gerrymandered 11th district is one of the most interesting in the country. The story really started two years ago when Thad McCotter botched his reelection campaign by hiring some idiots who photocopied signatures for his nominating petitions and then proceeded to get busted by elections officials. If McCotter himself wasn’t a big enough oddball, his seat was eventually filled by an even odder man, Republican Kerry Bentivolio who got the seat really because he was the last person standing.
Bentivolio is a classic tea party candidate whose main focus has been Benghazi, Obamacare, the IRS, Benghazi, Obamacare, and Benghazi.
Bentivolio is basically running a non-campaign. He’s spent almost no money compared with other candidates, owes his former campaign manager nearly $100,000, and even took off to Central America last week for a three-day “fact-finding mission”. (By the way, he learned that things are just fine in Central America so the tens of thousands of children arriving on our borders from there are just faking being frightened for their lives by drug lords and other criminals, I guess.) He also recently returned an award he received from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce after they endorsed his Republican primary opponent, David Trott.
Trott is a foreclosure attorney often described as a parasitic leach on the jugular vein of society after making millions from the housing market meltdown at the end of George W. Bush’s time in office. His charming boyish looks belie the fact that he is quite willing to throw elderly people into the streets if they get behind on their mortgages. Trott has a 22-point lead on Bentivolio and attacked him in a recent ad for not being tough enough on the IRS (despite the fact that the IRS “scandal” is one of Bentivolio’s top six issues along with Benghazi, Obamacare, Benghazi, Obamacare, and Benghazi.)
On the Democratic side, the single poll taken in this race, taken in June, has surgeon Dr. Anil Kumar a surprising 12 points ahead of his nearest Democratic primary opponent. Yesterday he picked up endorsements from the Michigan Nurses Association and House member Sam Singh. Given the paucity of his endorsements (full list HERE), I’ll confess that his lead in the June poll is a bit perplexing to me. That said, word on the ground from the 11th District is that he is campaigning hard, getting his name and positions out to the voters effectively, and generating considerable interest.
Nancy Skinner, a former radio talk show host who polled second in June, is running a campaign that is based almost exclusively on negative attacks on her opponents. She sends out absurdly long press releases, complete with grammatical errors, attacking both Kumar and Bobby McKenzie for things like not attacking their Republican opponents viciously enough. Trying to find Skinner on the web is an exercise in futility. Google “Nancy Skinner” or “Skinner for Congress” (the actual phrase used in the URL for her website) and you can go 10 pages deep and not find her website. Her sole endorsement appears to be the Between the Lines newspaper for the LGBT community.
Finally, Bobby McKenzie is the 11th District Democrat with the most impressive list of endorsements. The Detroit Free Press and Detroit News have both endorsed him and he has been endorsed by a variety of labor unions (except the Michigan Nurses Association who endorsed Kumar) as well as Dean of the House John Dingell. (Full endorsement list HERE.) McKenzie is a former Senior Advisor in the Bureau of Counterterrorism at the U.S. Department of State.
There is one other candidate running as a Democrat: Bill Roberts. However, Roberts is a fake Democrat and is actually a LaRouchePAC candidate. LaRouchePAC candidates frequently run as Democrats but their politics are so far right that they meet the extreme left somewhere out in hinterlands of politics. Roberts also ran in 2012 and lost to Syed Taj 59-41%.
The irony of the MI-11 race is that the sole candidate to have actually held public office is Kerry Bentivolio, a man dubbed “the Accidential Congressman” based on how he was elected. Even his own brother describes him as “mentally unbalanced” and someone with “serious mental issues”.
Given all this, I am convinced that this race is one of the most interesting in the country. It is likely to remain interesting all the way through until Election Day.