GOP congressman loses in Michigan primary
Jul 21, 2015 at 2:55 PM
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.