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Michigan’s 11th – An August 7th Primary to watch

posted at 11:55 am on August 1, 2012 by

Michigan’s 11th – A primary to watch

While spending some time this weekend in Michigan for the Transplant America Games (Olympic Games for Transplant Recipients and their donors), I spent a bit of time looking at the political climate and contests in that great state.

Michigan always seems to have good political theater.  This year is no different.

An interesting primary battle is brewing in Michigan’s 11th district. Nancy Cassis, who has the support of the Michigan GOP establishment, has pledged $200,000 of her own dollars to defeat conservative Kerry Bentivolio. They are vying for the seat due to the somewhat strange, and certainly awkward, retirement of Rep. Thad McCotter

The twist? Cassis is mounting a write-in campaign, while Bentivolio did the hard work of collecting enough signatures to get on the ballot.

We’ve seen this show before.

This isn’t exactly unprecedented in GOP politics. Moderate Senator Lisa Murkowski mounted a successful write-in campaign to defeat conservative Joe Miller. But that was the general election.

But, a write in for a primary?

From what I have gathered, it did seem strange to many in Michigan, however, for the GOP to handpick an opponent to challenge a conservative in a congressional primary as a write-in after their candidate resigned. It appears to some that Cassis was apparently selected based on her willingness to bring her own funds to the table.

To use the words of Nancy Cassis, “Let’s do this honestly and fair.”  I agree. But does she?

She seems surprised that people are looking closely at her record.  It should not be surprising to her that many have been disconcerted to learn about Cassis’ track record. In particular, her support for the Michigan Business Tax, a job killer that was repealed by Governor Rick Snyder, and her broader support for budget increases that go against her talking points and proclaimed viewpoints.

Unfortunately, this is one of the things that many people of this country are so frustrated with… people who run for office one way and vote another.  People who take credit, but don’t expect criticism.

Further, another big problem is that Cassis also makes the claim that she has created “thousands and thousands of jobs.”  Now, I really am confused.  She claims to support free markets and claims to support a limited role for government. But, then claims that under her leadership in government; she has created jobs namely due to government spending programs she spearheaded.

Candidates who argue that they understand government does not create jobs and prosperity (and the private sector does) should not be making the claim that more and more government spending creates additional jobs.  It confuses the issue and does not allow Republicans to draw the important distinctions between the politics of a dependency oriented government driven future brought to you by the Democrats or a growth oriented private sector driven future brought to you by the Republicans.

A candidate cannot have it both ways.

Then we have Cassis’ comment that she cannot support Bentivolio if he wins the primary.  In today’s world, I find comments like that telling.  Effectively, it means that she believes that she knows better than the people who she is asking to vote for her, what is best for them.  Don’t we have too much of that way of thinking in Congress and in the White House already?

In short, what I gather is that Cassis does not appear to be part of the bold and clear solutions that are finally turning Michigan around, but part of the old guard, the faction of the party that played along while Jennifer Granholm and her ilk nearly took the state and the country apart.

For whatever reason, the establishment appears so desperate to defeat Bentivolio they are attempting to auction away the seat and they run the very real risk of defection if they are successful. Has the party learned nothing from 2010? It isn’t money and power voters want. It’s elected officials who will actually reduce the size of government, which Cassis doesn’t have a track record of doing.

It is the voters, and not the GOP establishment, that put Bentivolio on the ballot. It will be interesting to see on August 7th whether those same voters will choose Bentivolio who sought their support or Cassis and the establishment who expects it.

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The party is also trying to make up accusations that aren’t true. They’re going to have a press conference today saying that he’s cheating on his campaign finance forms.

They also sent out mailers saying Kerry is for open borders when in reality he wants troops sent to the border to secure it. The party seems like they’d rather a Democrat win the seat than Bentivolio. I’ve never seen a nastier race than this. It’s crazy.

cpaulus on August 1, 2012 at 12:19 PM

What’s the deal with Bentivolio and the truther accusation? If it’s true, that’s a legitimate reason to oppose him.

DRPrice on August 1, 2012 at 12:21 PM

What’s the deal with Bentivolio and the truther accusation? If it’s true, that’s a legitimate reason to oppose him.

DRPrice on August 1, 2012 at 12:21 PM

He’s not a truther. He had a bit role in a B. movie spoofing truthers.

cpaulus on August 1, 2012 at 12:26 PM

What is it with GOP insiders and their entitlement mentality? The expect the unwashed masses to fall in line and vote for then party nominee, but pick up their dolly dishes and storm off if they lose.

These people need to be kept as far away from politics as possible. Hopefully, after the spanking the establishment received in Texas from Ted Cruz, more ordinary people will be emboldened to get involved and take their local and state parties away from the professional crybabies.

Arms Merchant on August 1, 2012 at 5:30 PM

Add this to the Conyers possible loss, and the unseating of Pete Hoekstra in favor of a real conservative candidate to challenge Debbie Spend-it-now, and this is a barnburner of an election season up here. Pass the popcorn.

waterytart on August 1, 2012 at 5:35 PM

For whatever reason, the establishment appears so desperate to defeat Bentivolio they are attempting to auction away the seat and they run the very real risk of defection if they are successful. Has the party learned nothing from 2010?

Short form answer; they have, but it is the wrong lesson. They have figured out now that the TEA Party/Patriot Movement is still here, is winning, and will displace them. They have decided that their only hope is to fight them at all costs, and in Michigan they will do like in Alaska and functionally ally with the Democrats against us.

If we prevail, and transform the Republican Party; many Institutional Republicans will join with the Democrats. Plan on it.

Subotai Bahadur

Subotai Bahadur on August 2, 2012 at 1:08 AM