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Bentivolio to run as write-in candidate in 11th District

Tracy Samilton

Michigan Congressman Kerry Bentivolio is flying back to Michigan from D.C. to file with the Secretary of State as a write-in candidate.

Bentivolio lost the Republican primary to businessman David Trott in August.

Bentivolio says he's not running because he thinks he'll win. He's running to help out a friend – Republican Terri Lynn Land.

Land is behind in the polls against Democrat Gary Peters in the U.S. Senate race.

Bentivolio says many constituents have told him they don't like Trott, so they'll sit out the race rather than vote.

And those are votes that could help Land get elected.

"And I'm going to do everything I can to help support her, so if that means doing a write-in, and getting people to go and at least do a protest vote, while they're there, they'll vote for Terri Lynn Land," Bentivolio told Michigan Radio. 

Bentivolio says he will also encourage people to look beyond the radio and TV ads and glossy mailings to find out what candidates really stand for.

Credit Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio
David Trott, Republican candidate for 11th Congressional District, at a campaign event October 2nd, 2014

Although the 11th District is majority Republican, one political analyst says it's possible that Bentivolio's decision to run could influence the outcome of the election.

"It potentially could, and I think all indications would be that this would be a negative for David Trott, who is the Republican nominee," says Susan Demas of Inside Michigan Politics.

Bentivolio says he knows he'll be blamed if Democrat Bobby McKenzie wins. But he says he owes the Michigan Republican party nothing.

Credit Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio
Bobby McKenzie, Democratic candidate for Michigan's 11th Congressional District, campaigning on October 2, 2014

"They (Republicans) didn't offer any assistance; instead the opposite was true. Shucks, I got better treatment from some Democrats than I did from the local Republican establishment," Bentivolio says.

Meanwhile, Bobby McKenzie held a major campaign rally on Thursday, with U.S. Senators Carl Levin and Debbie Stabenow and U.S. Representatives Sander Levin and Dan Kildee in attendance.

People at the event cheered when it was announced that Bentivolio would mount a write-in campaign. 

Tracy Samilton covers energy and transportation, including the auto industry and the business response to climate change for Michigan Public. She began her career at Michigan Public as an intern, where she was promptly “bitten by the radio bug,” and never recovered.