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Yup, it is time for another edition of Taking Back The House.  I have made some casual tweaks to the system and instead of just listing all the editions here, I have one big recap of all the seats we have highlighted thus far.

So, if you are curious about updates on some of the major races; please click here.

That being said, we are approaching our eighth chapter in our Taking Back The House series and we will soon be approaching some seats that will be harder to win.  In order for a seat to be highlighted here we look at a combination of factors such as the incumbent, the demographics of an area and the prospects that could tilt the race either way.

While we will be approaching some “likely Republican” seats fairly soon, we are not quite there yet.  Before we start, I really hope some of you guys continue to share the series on social media.  The more exposure to some of these candidates, the better our odds are for winning.  Please continue emailing and sharing your favorite series on Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr.  Thank you!

But enough with the promoting, let’s get back to the reason why you are reading this and that’s to find out why Democrats can win this next seat.  A good nickname for this congressman could very well be “the accidental congressman” or “the guy who lucked into one”; he’s a personal favorite of mine considering he replaced another personal favorite of mine so I will have some fun with sharing this post with you.

So without further adu, let’s go to Michigan’s 11th congressional district and meet Rep. Kerry Bentivolio.

Kerry_Bentivolio,_official_portrait,_113th_CongressKerry Bentivolio is one interesting dude.  A Vietnam veteran, Bentivolio won this seat in a rather peculiar fashion; which perfectly fits the peculiar congressman he replaced.

In 2011, the former Rep. Thaddeus McCotter announced he was about to run a quixotic bid for the Presidency.  Some time later, McCotter dropped out to as much news coverage as he did when he got in the race, and began planting the seeds for another re-election campaign.  Somehow though, McCotter didn’t end up with enough valid signatures to earn a spot on the ballot for the Republican nomination and also received allegations of fraud.  McCotter, who might be more famous for his “sitcom pilot” (please read that link), would later resign as opposed to retire and his seat was vacated.

Enter Bentivolio.  With such short notice following the gaffes of McCotter, Bentivolio suddenly became the favorite to win the Republican nomination.  An establishment choice pick ran a write-in campaign but it was not enough as Bentivolio won the Republican nomination.

Then we started to kind of get a picture of who Kerry Bentivolio is.  Yes, he’s a veteran and he runs a reindeer farm that gives away reindeer for Santa Claus villages.  He is a part-time actor whose credits include playing a doctor in a film that suggested that the September 11th attacks were an inside job.  Then, right before the November 7th election, his brother claimed he was “mentally unstable” in which Kerry replied that his brother was unstable as well.

But Bentivolio sort of won the general election.  I say sort of because since McCotter resigned his seat, there was a special election (on the same day as the general) to fill it.  Bentivolio lost to perennial candidate David Curson in the special election BUT won the general against Democrat Syed Taj.

So now that I told you that tale of McCotter and Bentivolio, let’s take a look at why this seat is winnable.

Legislation & Notable Votes:

  • Sponsored bill to amend the Constitution to prevent the U.S. Government from using “the power of taxation to compel someone to engage in commercial activity.
  • Voted against the Violence Against Women Act though supported the older one that did not protect lesbian women and Native Americans.

Headlines:

  • I think I covered them all fairly well.  Just remember Santa Claus impersonator, reindeer rancher, actor and the guy who replaced Thad McCotter.

Electoral History:

  • 2012:  Bentivolio (R): 50.8%, Syed Taj (D):  44.4%, John Tatar (L): 2.7%

PVI:
R+4

Potential Prospects:

Taj could potentially run again but the Democratic bench here isn’t the greatest with the possibility that LaRouche movement backer (aka well…Google it) William Roberts runs.  Roberts might very well be like Kesha Rogers and be a perennial candidate that could ruin the Democrats chance of winning this seat.

In terms of other prospects, David Curson might throw his hat into the ring but seems to be against the idea.  I’m stumped here.

Why We Can Win This:

Well, Bentivolio’s fundraising ranges in between horrendous and terrible and its possible (probably likely) that he gets some credible fundraising challenger.  I don’t think Bentivolio is going to retire quietly, he doesn’t seem to be the type to do just that, but its not like he has a long legislative career representing the district.  He is a Paulite and by being that, he will have plenty of online grassroots support that could raise money for him with the drop of the hat.

However the possibility of Bentivolio running and winning the Republican nomination again has to have Democrats salivating.  The possibility of a fractured primary also exists  which could leave Bentivolio as the bloodied frontrunner.

So who should we look at as a possibility to fill the seat?

LINKS:

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