Special Election to Replace McCotter Until January 2013 Expected to Cost $650,000

The special election to replace Rep. Thaddeus McCotter cannot, because of timing, be held with the August primaries and will be pushed into September.

Following the (R-Livonia) last week, Gov. Rick Snyder has announced plans for a special primary and special election.

According to Michigan law, the governor must hold a special election to fill the vacated seat. A special election, according to Michigan law, requires a special primary. It will be held in September, the governor announced today.

During the November election, 11th Congressional District voters will be able to cast a ballot to pick the interim candidate who will fill McCotter's seat until it expires in January 2013. They will also pick the winner of the general election who will take over the next full term.

State election officials estimate the cost of the special election to total $650,000 for the impacted local and county governments, according to a press release.

McCotter's district includes Northville, Plymouth, Canton, Novi and White Lake.

"The lieutenant governor's strong preference is to save local tax dollars and spare election officials a significant burden by conducting the special primary election in conjunction with the regularly scheduled Aug. 7 primary," said a press release from the governor's office. "However, the timing of McCotter's resignation makes that impossible. Primary ballots already were printed and absentee ballots were mailed when McCotter made his announcement. In addition, ballots must be sent to Michigan voters who are overseas or serving in the military at least 45 days before an election, which means the special primary election must be held on a different date than Aug. 7."

In the press release Lt. Gov. Brian Calley added, "It is extremely disappointing that the district is forced to have a special election that is neither cost-effective nor efficient. . .Taxpayers deserve better. But the requirement for the governor to call a special election in this situation is clear and we must do so in a way that establishes fair, realistic deadlines for candidates and election officials. We will move forward so that district residents have full representation in Congress for the remainder of the term. I have every confidence that the outstanding election officials throughout the district will get the job done in spite of this challenging timeline."

According to the press release: By issuing the call for a special election today, the governor's action allows candidates adequate time to collect the required 1,000 petition signatures for ballot access by Friday, July 20. This in turn allows local officials to print special ballots to send to military and overseas voters 45 days before the Sept. 5 special election.

Oakland County Clerk/Register of Deeds Bill Bullard Jr. called the resignation and special election a burden and "not fair to the taxpayer.”

“The costs of this special election should not be dumped on the local governments and taxpayers of Oakland County.  At a time when communities are making tough choices, they should not have to be in a position of considering laying off a firefighter or police officer due to the costs of holding an election to fill a seat in Congress for a matter of weeks," he said. “The complications involved in holding an election in the existing 11th district at the same time as the new district will be immense. In the past elections held with only federal questions questions have been reimbursed by the state government. I believe the state or federal government should be responsible for the cost of this special election.”

Last month, McCotter announced plans to mount a after his campaign failed to turn in the requisite 1,000 petitions needed to get on the GOP primary ballot. A subsequent review by the Michigan secretary of state's office found that only 200 to 300 of the 2,000 total ballots submitted by the five-term congressman's campaign were valid. A short time later, he said he would .

McCotter also organized a short-lived last year, but ended the bid after failing to gain momentum in early primary states.

Michigan Voter July 10, 2012 at 09:53 PM
I thought Republicans were the party of fiscal responsibility. This is an unnecessary waste of taxpayer money. Are we going to have to layoff more teachers or further reduce unemployment benefits to cover this rethuglican nonsense?
Bryan Bentley July 10, 2012 at 10:18 PM
I can assure you that there is not a Republican around who is happy about this Mr. Michigan Voter. You should direct your angst where it belongs.
Tom Dusbiber July 11, 2012 at 01:22 AM
Well said... He really sold out on his constituents! We would have been better off he just sat in his office until Jan 2013 and did nothing, than create this situation!
Eric Bacyinski July 11, 2012 at 03:38 AM
Possibly the worst part about all of this: local municipalities will NOT be reimbursed for the costs associated with the election.....thanks Thad way to look out for your constituents/neighbors!
Greg Burks July 11, 2012 at 12:57 PM
As TD pointed out he should have just stayed and did nothing, then he'd be just like a majority of rest except we'd have saved $650K. Better yet, I have to assume Mr. McCotter's got some campaign money in the bank somewhere, send him the bill!
Joseph McCauley July 11, 2012 at 02:45 PM
Welfare queens got nothing on this big time moucher. Thanks for leaving us the tab Thad.
EHM July 11, 2012 at 03:18 PM
This is not only creating an undo burden on the taxpayers of his district, but the clerks' offices who have to deal with another election while one is already going on. And its made even worse for the areas that were affected by the districe border changes, since they'll be running elections with different voters! Seriously, McCotter needs to revisit his idea of what to do with his left-over campaign money and use it to pay for this election. Or use his own money to help out. Certainly he should have been smart enough to look into the potential of the state having to run a special election when he was considering quitting. He's left us with the bill for his rash decision.
Ocelot Madness July 11, 2012 at 03:44 PM
Why are we even holding an election to replace him for a couple of months? I'm perfectly fine going without representation in congress for a few measly months if it means saving so much money.
Mike July 11, 2012 at 04:08 PM
The Coward McCotter should Man - Up and pay for this debacle he caused. What does it take for him to release campaign funds to reimburse the taxpayer?
Michigan Voter July 11, 2012 at 04:15 PM
I think the link above says the governor HAS to call an election whenever a seat opens up. Based on my math, the 650k we are wasting here could fund tier 1 unemployment benefits for 90 Michigan residents. Shame on McCotter!
Herb Helzer July 11, 2012 at 04:50 PM
I agree with Bryan. No Republican wanted this to happen. My angst lies exactly where it belongs -- with Thaddeus McCotter. I'd always known McCotter to be a thin-skinned pseudo-intellectual who much preferred pontificating on camera to the gritty drudgery of serving in Congress. What I learned over the past five days is just how self-centered Thad is, and how little regard he has for the state, his constituents and his fellow Republicans. Even if MCotter were indicted today for the petition fraud, there's no reason he could not have kept his fool head down and SERVED his final six months pending trial. Instead, his abrupt resignation is going to cost local governments $650,000 of taxpayer money, and cause untold confusion in both the old and new 11th Districts. If only Thad could be ordered to tap into his three(!) government pensions to help defray the costs incurred by his selfishness.
Herb Helzer July 11, 2012 at 04:53 PM
I'm not sure if Thad had much in the way of remaining campaign funds, after blowing most of his war chest from 2010 shuttling between Iowa and New Hampshire on his doomed presidential campaign and doing almost no fundraising this year. Still, whatever is left should have been offered to the state to help fund electing his temporary replacement.
Herb Helzer July 11, 2012 at 04:55 PM
As someone pointed out earlier this week, if Gov. Snyder (through Lt. Gov. Calley) had NOT called a special election, who exactly was going to sue him to force one?
EHM July 11, 2012 at 04:59 PM
The law needs to be changed so that if the election cannot occur during the regularly scheduled Feb/May/Aug/Nov election dates the seat is just left vacant.
Robert E. Moreillon July 11, 2012 at 09:36 PM
This inconsiderate Republican is costing us $650,000. Put physician Dr. Sayed Taj in McCotter's spot in Congress and see how an intelligent Democrat, not a professional politician, can help heal our governent.
Eric Bacyinski July 11, 2012 at 10:20 PM
Great point by Herb; who would have sued to force a special election? The answer : Nobody and the taxpayers could have put their $650K to better use
James T July 13, 2012 at 12:37 AM
This money could have been used for the I275 / Ford Rd project! Why can't we go until January without a Rep?
EHM July 13, 2012 at 01:14 AM
I guess we'd get in trouble with the feds. “In this case there was in fact no discretion left,” Calley said, adding that Ohio ran afoul of a federal appeals court after not calling a special election to fill a July 2002 vacancy of an expelled U.S. House member. http://www.mlive.com/politics/index.ssf/2012/07/l_brooks_patterson_knows_mccot.html
Diane July 17, 2012 at 02:08 PM
In my humble opinion, McCotter's resignation had more to do with elevating Nancy Cassis write in campaign against Kerry Bentivolio, the only legitimate candidate on the ballot. I am disgusted with the negative and false ads mailed to 11th District voters by the Cassis campaign, and urge any recipient of the ads to visit bentivolioforcongress.com and read about Kerry and his position on the issues. Bentivolio is the real deal - Consitutional Conservative, Veteran, teacher, honorable.
Diane July 17, 2012 at 02:15 PM
Monday morning, Kerry Bentivolio was the first candidate to turn in the required amount of petitions to make the ballot for the special election and was able to accomplish this solely with unpaid volunteer effort! Thank you to all of the volunteers who helped with this successful effort. Now the Bentivolio campaign is urging that no other candidates file for the special election. This special election will cost the local communities $650,000 to administer. If no other candidate files the special election will be cancelled and valuable taxpayer dollars will be saved. I urge Nancy Cassis and other potential candidates to not run and save the local communities hundreds of thousands of dollars!
Peggy Miller July 17, 2012 at 05:12 PM
Republican Chair Bobby Schostak suggested to Democrat Chair Mark Brewer that they each 'pick' one person to run in the 'Special Election', (Bobby's 'pick' was attorney Dave Trott, NOT either of the 2 people already running!), With only 1 person from each party running, there would be no need for a special election, thus saving the taxpayers an estimated $650,000.00. When this was announced, Nancy Cassis challenged Kerry Bentivolio, saying that SHE would step down if he would! That was simply another establishment republican ploy to be certain that Kerry, a constitutional conservative who is not willing to play the dirty political games that have so harmed our country, would not be the winner. Well, Nancy, now it's our time to challenge YOU... You were willing to 'step down' if Trott was the only one on the ballot... as of right now, Kerry Bentivolio is the only one with the signatures to get onto the special election ballot. So do you still want to save the taxpayers $650,000.00? CALL or EMAIL Nancy's campaign... Tell her to STOP spending our money... she did enough of that when she was in Lansing!! STEP DOWN, NANCY!!
Herb Helzer July 18, 2012 at 04:57 PM
Except that the special primary is on 5 September, a full month after the 7 August primary. Nancy Cassis still has to win as a write-in if she hopes to be Matty Moroun's voice in Congress in 2013. In the meantime, trying to collect signatures for the special takes time away from her uphill fight to beat Kerry Bentivolio as a write-in. It is interesting that "Bobby" Schostak tipped his hand as to who the Republicans REALLY want for the 11th District: Foreclosure enforcer David Trott. Count on Trott being the GOP's choice in 2014, even if Bentivolio wins this year. It's even possible that Thaddeus McCotter saw that his time in Congress would end as soon as Trott made it official, which helped him rationalize bailing out now, before he could be humiliated in the 2014 primary. Not that what actually happened was any less humiliating to Thad.
Herb Helzer July 18, 2012 at 05:20 PM
Diane, you seem to have a finger on the pulse of the Bentivolio effort. So I hope maybe you can clear up some questions for me. Assuming Bentivolio and Dr. Syed Taj win their respective primaries in August, either way the new 11th District will be represented by a man who is emphatically NOT a "career politician." Difference is, Dr. Taj has earned the endorsement of local and state Democrats, whereas Mr. Bentivolio is so disliked and mistrusted by GOP leaders that they went through the absurdity of backing Sen. Cassis against him. What does that in-party opposition say about how Bentivolio would serve us in Congress? Will he be focused on our economy, or on further restricting choice rights for women? Does he care more about what REALLY happened on 9/11 and Presidece to truly impact policy and pending laws?
Diane July 19, 2012 at 12:21 AM
In response to Herb: Having the 'party' support a candidate does not give me confidence, especially when the R party has been infested with RINO's and a 'go along to get along' mentality - for example placing Nancy Cassis in contention because the party elites are not in control of Bentivolio. Having read about Bentivolio's position on the issues, meeting with him and hearing him speak, I am more than willing to give him a chance. I already know Nancy from her time as my Rep & Sen, which is why I don't want to put her in office again. I'm also not impressed with the D party endorsing Dr. Taj - that just means he is willing to push the liberal/progressive agenda for his party bosses. Let's face facts - the R party is almost as much to blame as the D's for putting this country in the mess it is in. The definition of stupid is doing the same thing over and expecting different results. As far as Bentivolio being disliked by the party bosses - is that a bad thing? I thought our Congressman was elected to represent his constituents - not the party bosses. I don't know about you, but I don't particularly like the party bosses!
Peggy Miller July 19, 2012 at 09:35 PM
AMEN, Diane!!!
Laura Vogel July 26, 2012 at 04:38 PM
I was at a candidate forum the other week at Baker's in Milford, and I was quite impressed by Mr. Bentivolio's command of the issues and his passion to serve the public.


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