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Special Election in CD 11 -- A Golden Opportunity for the Libertarians

by: alanfox

Wed Jul 11, 2012 at 07:16:52 AM EDT

(The $650,000 monument to Thad McCotter's overhyped reputation for quirky intellect. - promoted by Eric B.)

A special election has been called to fill the last several weeks of Thad McCotter's term in Congress in the old 11th CD.  The election will be held at the same time as the election for a full term in the new 11th.  What happens before then is what is interesting.

 The primary election to pick the Democratic and Republican candidates in the special will be held Wednesday, September 5.  I will leave to others to describe the joy Republican operatives must feel at the chance to finally run a legitimate Vote Wednesday campaign.

The filing deadline for the special primary is, July 20,  a week from Friday.  Candidates must submit 1000 valid signatures in a little over a week.

That will prove to be a maddening distraction to campaigns aiming at getting through the August 7 primary.  Dr. Taj has already said he won't try and I can't figure out how Nancy Cassis can manage an August write-in campaign and gather signatures at the same time.

All of which makes it fairly likely that nobody will file.  And a write-in campaign in the special primary would need to pick up over 1000 votes and would need to begin before the August primary because absentee ballots will probably be mailed around August 1.  It is not clear to me that write-ins will be permitted in any event.  I seem to recall that if no candidate files to run in a special primary that party is not on the ballot.

Minor parties, however, nominate candidates through conventions.  If the Libertarians pick a candidate for the special election that candidate may very well end up running unopposed in the special and become the first Libertarian ever elected to Congress. A footnote in history awaits!

alanfox :: Special Election in CD 11 -- A Golden Opportunity for the Libertarians
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Good heavens.
I hope you don't mind, I just posted your key point over at Daily Kos; your scenario is too deliciously weird not to share:


Kerry Bentivolio is going for it
He was the only Republican who managed to turn in enough signatures for this seat the first time around, so why not?

I think it's a mistake for Dr. Taj to not try.

There really wouldn't be a need to campaign anyplace that's not also part of the New 11th, and it would give the lame duck Dems at the Old 11th something to do.

"The two most common elements in the universe are hydrogen and stupidity." ~ Harlan Ellison

Think it through, though.
Let's assume that Bentivolio ends up winning the special primary (either legitimately, or because there's no other Republican who even tries).

On the November ballot, his name is gonna show up in two places. Dr. Taj will only appear once.

I guarantee that there will be some percentage of GOP voters who would see Bentivolio's name on the special election line, fill in the bubble and not bother filling out the full-term one.

[ Parent ]
OTOH, if Bentivolio wins in August AND September, that's momentum and name recognition
By winning the Special primary, Bentivolio gets positive press coverage and breaks the current Republican theme (flogged by Brooks Patterson) that he's a lightweight who can't win.

Unless Nancy Cassis overcomes the huge hurdle of winning as a write-in in August, there's zero chance she'll beat Bentivolio in September, even if they're both on the ballot. Because of momentum.

In fact, should both Bentivolio and Cassis manage to get on the September ballot, If Nancy loses in August she'd probably immediately endorse Bentivolio for the Special.

But if Cassis somehow WINS the August Primary...who the heck knows what Bentivolio would do? Maybe his Tea Party supporters will demand he fight to win the Special, just to be sure there's another Tea Partier around for the Lame Duck session and to express their displeasure with Brooks' kingmaking.

That's about the only scenario that benefits Dr. Taj this November -- if Republicans have to vote for Cassis in the General and Bentivolio in the Special, that's where the confusion would rest.

"The two most common elements in the universe are hydrogen and stupidity." ~ Harlan Ellison

[ Parent ]
Special is a distraction
I can see your point but Dr. Taj has 3 staff already working in the field to shore up the primary.  Pulling that staff off of direct voter contact to collect 1500 sigs for a special election to fill a seat for 5 weeks and maybe a lame duck session is a waste of resources. It also gives Dr. Taj the ability to take the high ground and refuse to be part of a waste of tax payers' money caused by Thad's hurt feelings.

[ Parent ]
Taj email
so Dr. Taj is claiming that not participating in the special election is evidence of his fiscal responsibility.  It will be interesting to see if such a stance provides him any benefit.  Its too late now that he's announced his reasons, but I think a better strategy would have been to to try to get the 1000 signatures during the campaign's normal outreach over the coming days.  Rather than to drop everything to collect signatures, just work it into what ever normal outreach and canvassing is occurring anyway.  Then if by chance another democrat (or someone claiming to be) manages to get the necessary signatures, Taj could withdraw and claim that he is doing it to save the local governments money.

[ Parent ]
The Libertarians and Greens have both nominated candidates for the 11th District this year
I know because I covered their conventions along with that of the U.S. Taxpayers Party for Examiner.com.

The  Libertarians nominated John J. Tatar.  The Greens nominated Steven Paul Duke.  Too bad that the Taxpayers Party didn't nominate anyone for this contest.  They could have eaten into Benviolo's total even more than the Libertarian alone would have.

Greetings from Detroit, Ground Zero of the post-industrial future!

The Libertarians always nominate John J. Tatar
I remember him from the '06 race, and IIRC he also ran in '08 and possibly '10.

He's never won enough votes to make a difference. Of course, that was against Thaddeus the Incumbent.

"The two most common elements in the universe are hydrogen and stupidity." ~ Harlan Ellison

[ Parent ]
Cassis is running in the special
So say MIRS and Gongwer.

The Detroit News is worried about Thad's mental health and asking him not to kill himself. Take a shower instead. It sucks when you endorse someone who turns out to be a nut job.

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