DETROIT (AP) — Former high school English teacher Kerry Bentivolio beat four other southeastern Michigan Republicans in a special primary Wednesday and will advance to a special general election to fill the final weeks of ex-U.S. Rep. Thaddeus McCotter's congressional term.
With 100 percent of precincts reporting, Bentivolio, a tea party favorite from Milford, received 41.4 percent of the vote to advance to face Belleville Democrat David Curson, a Marine veteran and union activist, in the Nov. 6 special general election for the 11th District seat. The winner serves only from mid-November through year's end.
The losing candidates in Wednesday's GOP primary were former state Sen. Nancy Cassis of Novi, and three Livonia residents: Steve King, Kenneth Crider and Carolyn Kavanagh, who is the daughter of District Judge Sean Kavanagh.
Bentivolio got 10,280 votes, Cassis 8,804 votes, Kavanaugh 2,654, King 1,715 and Crider 1,208.
"We thank the voters for once again honoring me with their confidence," Bentivolio said in a statement early Thursday. He said the health care and tax policies that his Democratic opponent and President Barack Obama share are bad for the state and nation.
"We don't need Washington bureaucrats rationing our health care or telling our businesses how they need to operate," Bentivolio said. "We need more job creators and more jobs."
The 11th District currently covers a swath of Detroit's western and northwestern suburbs and includes a large portion of western Wayne County and a section of southwestern Oakland County. The district's boundaries were redrawn for the term that begins in January.
The Nov. 6 ballot also has a separate contest to decide who will fill the seat in 2013-14. Bentivolio, a former Fowlerville High School teacher who raises reindeer, faces Democratic Canton Township trustee and physician Syed Taj.
McCotter abruptly resigned July 6 during an investigation of irregularities in the nominating petitions that kept the Livonia Republican from seeking re-election.
The conservative-leaning district appeared to be McCotter's to lose until election officials found that he had submitted nominating petitions with too few valid signatures to make it onto the Aug. 7 primary ballot.
Four former McCotter aides are facing state charges on accusations they participated in a scheme to submit false signatures, many of which had been forged or copied from other petitions.