Bloomfield Township- Can Kerry Bentivolio win the 11th District nomination by going underground?
Thad McCotter’s sudden resignation from Congress this summer scrambled the 11th district primary – and Michigan’s strangest race has only gotten stranger without him. With McCotter McGone, the Michigan GOP drafted former state Senator Nancy Cassis out of concern that the only remaining candidate on the ballot – Ron Paul disciple Bentivolio – wasn’t ready for prime time.
The party’s concerns apparently were well founded.
On paper, Bentivolio’s citizen-candidate resume intrigues with stints as teacher, entrepreneur, and soldier (Vietnam and Iraq) on his resume. However, with growing evidence that he is well downriver of the mainstream, Bentivolio has gone silent before the August 7 primary, refusing media interviews – and even refusing repeated party invitations to speak at routine candidate forums. Republicans have invited him to two such occasions in recent weeks in Wayne and Oakland counties – including Wednesday night in Bloomfield Township. But Bentivolio has been a no-show.
His strategy appears to be silence and a TV ad – and the mathematical calculation that most folks will automatically check his name as the only Republican. Then, perhaps, he can solidify GOPers in a general election about Barack Obama.
Cassis supporters admit that their write-in candidate’s chances are difficult despite a savvy campaign, wall-to-wall ads, and a new EPIC MRA poll showing Cassis with a 51-38 edge among likely voters. The problem? Those voters must have the presence of mind to write in ol’ what’s-her-name in the blank space under Bentivolio’s name next Tuesday.
Meanwhile, election watchers say Bentiviolio may automatically get 30 percent of the vote. Add that number to perhaps 25 percent of ballots that have already voted absentee for Bentivolio (though absentees can always change their vote) and the Libertarian has his formula for success.
But in the general, a Bentivolio candidacy could spell disaster for a Republican Party that banks on the 11th.
Before Bentivolio became the GOP’s post-McCotter default, he was known among Republicans as the nutty Ron Paul guy who read from the Constitution at lightly-attended GOP forums. Since becoming the frontrunner, however, his antics aren’t taken so lightly.
Especially the bizarre, feature length 2011 movie, “The President Goes to Heaven,” in which Bentivolio has a prominent role as a doctor tending to a fictional President Dubya Bush character. The plot of the movie? That Bush plotted 9-11 (referred to as 1-11 in the film which is available on Amazon) as an excuse to invade Iraq (a war Paul acolytes detested) to finish what his father had started. But, goes the plot, the president cannot get into heaven until he admits his crime – and converts to Islam.
We’re not making this up.
“Twenty five thousand people (dead) is a small price to pay for a second Peal Harbor,” says the Bush character in explaining why he authorized the destruction of the twin towers. “I will apologize for 1-11 and the wars. I apologize for what I did. Only Dick knew the details.” (Dick being an obvious reference to Dick Cheney.)
No doubt concerned that Bentivolio would be bombarded by questions about “Heaven” should he ever surface, the candidate’s campaign has refused repeated interview requests from The Michigan View.com – and other media.
His only public sighting has been an 11th District picnic last weekend in which he mingled with the 30 people in attendance – but otherwise refrained from public comments.
Cassis has been relentless in a well-funded ad campaign designed not only to make her a household name (“Nothing fancy. Write in Nancy” goes the jingle) – but also to explain to voters why they must first pass over “Krazy Kerry” Bentivolio.
“There’s no accident he is not here tonight,” she said Wednesday in Bloomfield before rattling off her own conservative credentials – and conservative backers from Patterson to Rogers . “You need to know how bizarre (this film) is. The content alone raises questions about his judgment.”
Cassis’ campaign is an uphill climb. But if Bentivolio’s strategy works, it will be an easier downhill glide for his Democratic opponent towards stealing a seat that just months ago was thought to be a GOP lock.