Sources: Bentivolio to Face Primary Challenger

Representative Kerry Bentivolio (R., Mich.), a former schoolteacher and Santa Claus impersonator, will almost certainly get a primary challenger in 2014, according to state Republicans. Two high-level Michigan Republican insiders tell National Review Online they expect David Trott, an attorney and businessman from the Detroit area who handles banking, foreclosures, and real-estate development, to announce around the time of the Mackinac Republican Leadership conference (September 20–22) that he’ll primary Bentivolio. One Michigan insider says Republican leaders in Bentivolio’s district are encouraging Trott to run against the incumbent.

Another said the freshman congressman has solid backing in the district. “Bentivolio’s done a great job and people are encouraged by that,” he said.  

Bentivolio took an unconventional road to Congress in 2012; he challenged then-representative Thaddeus McCotter in a primary bid, and when McCotter resigned over a scandal regarding fraudulent petitions — you can read the whole story here — Bentivolio went from underdog to presumptive nominee. Many Republican leaders in the district, however, opposed his nomination and supported former state senator Nancy Cassis as a write-in candidate.

Matt Chisholm, a spokesman for Bentivolio, argues the congressman has broad support. “We have a wide range of support, including the grassroots back home and people like Paul Ryan and Speaker Boehner,” he says.


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