In case you missed it, tea party candidate Kerry Bentivolio, the eccentric
reindeer rancher and part-time Santa, won the 11th Congressional
District race but lost the separate election to fill the seat for the final six weeks of
In other words, voters in Oakland and Wayne counties elected
Bentivolio by default but, when they were offered a decent alternative, those
same voters did not trust the 11th District office to Bentivolio for
even six weeks.
Here’s an explanation of this sad situation: incumbent Rep.
Thad McCotter resigned in July, forcing a special election to choose a
replacement for the remainder of his term; in a bizarre twist, that election
was decided by voters on Tuesday, on the same ballot that included a full 2-year
term for the 11th District post; Bentivolio
was running in both elections but he faced two different Democratic opponents.
Though Bentivolio, a Milford Republican, has a checkered past,
apparently his big break came when Dr. Syed Taj emerged as his Democratic
opponent for the full term. Taj, a Canton Township board member, was clearly a
weak candidate who was hampered by an unusual name, a heavy accent, and a smear
campaign that tried to link him to a terrorist group.
But Bentivolio’s Democratic opponent for the short term,
which ends Dec. 31, was David Curson of Belleville, a longtime international
representative for the UAW. Curson won the election and got his wish: a chance
to play a part in the congressional fix of the impending “fiscal cliff.”
And I suppose Bentivolio, who has admitted he sometimes
believes he really is Santa Claus, got his wish too: Time off at Christmas so
he can deliver toys to all the good girls and boys.