GOP congressman loses in Michigan primary

A tea party-inspired congressman was defeated in Michigan's primary Tuesday while a second House conservative fended off a challenge as voters began a changing of the guard in the state's congressional delegation that also included choosing nominees in four open seats.
AP Wire
Aug 6, 2014


Suburban Detroit lawyer David Trott easily defeated one-term Rep. Kerry Bentivolio, who many considered to be an "accidental" representative after winning in 2012 when a Republican incumbent was knocked off the ballot due to fraudulent petition signatures.

"I live in his district and never see him," said Ralph Martin, 76, of Livonia, who voted for Trott over Bentivolio. "I couldn't even form an opinion of him."

Trott, 53, spent $2.4 million on the race and secured backing from business groups and others, while Bentivolio — a former auto designer, teacher and reindeer farmer — struggled. Trott will face the winner of a four-way Democratic primary in the GOP-leaning 11th District in November.

Two-term Republican Rep. Justin Amash in the Grand Rapids area won a hard fought battle with business-backed investment adviser Brian Ellis in the 3rd District.

Paul Ranville, 55, of Marshall, said he voted for Amash because the Libertarian-leaning congressman bases his decisions on the Constitution and explains all of his votes online.

"We have $7 trillion in debt. ... Somebody has to put a stop to this and I like the things Justin Amash has been doing," he said, questioning why business interests sought Amash's defeat.

The Michigan ballot also had scores of legislative races and a lone statewide proposal — by which voters approved a mechanism to ensure local governments lose no money in a business tax cut — but no showdowns in races for governor and U.S. Senate. Republican Gov. Rick Snyder will face Democratic challenger Mark Schauer in November, while the GOP's Terri Lynn Land will square off against Democratic U.S. Rep. Gary Peters for a Senate seat.

Bentivolio was only the third U.S. House incumbent to lose a primary this year, following Texas Rep. Ralph Hall and former House Majority Leader Eric Cantor in Virginia. In his concession speech, Bentivolio accused state Republican Party leaders of embracing "money over ideas and cronyism over principles."

"The revolution in the Republican Party is going to continue, and it's not going to be based on hating the other guys worse. It's going to be founded on loving the country more," he said.

Voters also began the process of filling four seats that incumbents will leave at year's end.

Rep. John Dingell, a Dearborn Democrat who has been in Congress for a record 58 years, will retire along with Republicans Reps. Dave Camp of Midland and Mike Rogers of Howell. A fourth House seat is opening up because Peters of Bloomfield Township is running for the Senate seat held by retiring Democrat Carl Levin.

It is the most open seats since 1992, when redistricting, retirements and a primary upset ushered out seven of 18 House members.

Four Democrats, including former Rep. Hansen Clarke, Southfield Mayor Brenda Lawrence and state Rep. Rudy Hobbs, were locked in a tight race to replace Peters.

Businessman Paul Mitchell loaned or gave his campaign $5 million to run against state Sen. John Moolenaar and Peter Konetchy in the GOP primary for Camp's Republican-leaning 4th District in central Michigan. But Moolenaar was leading.

In the Republican primary in Rogers' GOP-leaning 8th District, which stretches from Lansing to the northern Detroit suburbs, former state Senate Majority Leader Mike Bishop beat state Rep. Tom McMillin.

Republican Reps. Fred Upton and Tim Walberg in southern Michigan defeated primary challengers. So did GOP Rep. Dan Benishek in northern Michigan, and Democratic Rep. John Conyers of Detroit.

With a win in his Democratic-heavy district, Conyers is well on his way to succeeding Dingell as the longest-serving member of the House in the new Congress.

And Dingell's wife, Debbie, was expected to extend the Dingell family dynasty beyond its 81-year run after she won the Democratic nomination for a district that covers Ann Arbor and the "Downriver" working-class Detroit suburbs. Before John Dingell held the seat, his father John Dingell Sr. represented the district for 22 ½ years.

Voters approved a proposal written by the Legislature designed to ensure local governments and schools are fully reimbursed as taxes are gradually slashed on businesses' personal property such as machines. The plan — which would not raise taxes — received broad bipartisan support from lawmakers, Snyder, the business community and groups representing counties, cities and townships.




Mystic Michael

So long, Congressman Bentivolio! See ya. Wouldn't want to be ya.

(I couldn't stand to be in the same room with him.)


Ha! Well said, MM.....I could hardly stand being in the same state with him. Apparently, neither could the majority of the constituents in his district.

Barry Soetoro

He does bear an eerie resemblance to Dick Cheney. Is that why you can't stand him?


A very astute observation! Why yes, now that you mention it. And also because I am not fond of people who speak words of disrespectful, racist negativity while hiding behind the American Flag and Bible. And who hold public office that requires they take an oath to serve all Americans.

Harry Kovaire

You spend a lot of time in the same room of a representative who is not in your party and in a district on the other side of the state?

Drama much?


I understood immediately MM was speaking in a hypothetical sense.

Nuance much?

Harry Kovaire

I'm sure you did. The descriptive phrase "tea party-inspired" no doubt triggered your mutual Vulcan Mind Meld.

Immediately followed by your uncontrolled whooping:


Was this a futile attempt to show your mastery of nuance, or are you just really "ill"? Or have a pathological urge to have the last word?


Post a Comment

Log in to your account to post comments here and on other stories, galleries and polls. Share your thoughts and reply to comments posted by others. Don't have an account on Create a new account today to get started.