Kerry Bentivolio, the lone GOP candidate on ballot for the 11th District Congressional race, picked up the endorsement Thursday of several tea party groups.
Bentivolio, a former high school teacher, veteran and reindeer farmer, is vying to replace the retiring U.S. Rep. Thad McCotter in the Metro Detroit district. Active in the tea party and liberty movement, Bentivolio is facing a write-in challenge from former state Sen. Nancy Cassis, R-Novi, who was recruited to challenge Bentivolio by Wayne and Oakland Republican Party leaders who view Bentivolio as too extreme.
In a joint statement Thursday, Bentivolio picked up the support of the Tea Party Patriots of West Oakland County, the Troy Area Tea Party, the North Oakland Tea Party and Rattle With Us.
“Mr. Bentivolio has expressed his commitment to the three tea party ideals of limited government, fiscal responsibility and free markets,” the statement from the four local tea parties said. “Both his private sector and military experience are valuable and he will bring his constitutionally conservative perspective to Washington D.C.”
The 11th District seat, once deemed a safe reelection for McCotter, is up for grabs with McCotter out of the race amid a petition scandal. The local GOP leaders’ decision to reject the one candidate who made the ballot and recruit Cassis has drawn the ire of some tea party activists and exacerbated a riff between grassroots conservatives and GOP establishment leaders.
Meantime, Cassis has picked up the endorsement of U.S. Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Brighton, who called her “a strong conservative voice for southeast Michigan. Cassis, also endorsed by McCotter and Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson, launched a write-in campaign when McCotter didn’t qualify for the Aug. 7 ballot.
“She will get Michigan’s economy moving again by getting the federal government out of the way and off the backs of small businesses,” Rogers said in a statement. “Nancy will work to pay down our massive debt and deficit, and restore sanity to Washington by working with a President Romney to fully repeal ObamaCare. “