LANSING, Mich. (AP) — U.S. Rep. Kerry Bentivolio on Friday filed to run as a write-in candidate in the race for his current seat in a suburban Detroit district.
The freshman Republican from the 11th District lost the August primary to Republican businessman and lawyer David Trott by 33 percentage points.
Bentivolio said he is trying to encourage people to turn out to vote in November for Republicans, including U.S. Senate candidate Terri Lynn Land. He said the write-in campaign is not meant to derail Trott, who is running against Democratic counterterrorism expert Bobby McKenzie in the Republican-leaning district.
Bentivolio said he will not endorse Trott because he "slandered and libeled" Bentivolio during the primary.
"In the past, Bentivolio has urged Republicans to avoid write-in efforts," said Trott spokeswoman Megan Piwowar, citing a write-in campaign that Bentivolio faced in the 2012 GOP primary. "If he wants to disrespect the overwhelming number of voters, that's his choice."
Bentivolio was dubbed the "accidental Congressman" after he won election two years ago mainly because the incumbent, former Republican Rep. Thad McCotter, inexplicably turned in fraudulent voter signatures when seeking a spot on the ballot. McCotter was not allowed on the ballot and Bentivolio was elected.
Trott contributed millions of his own money to his campaign against Bentivolio, a former reindeer farmer, teacher and auto designer.
Bentivolio's decision has the potential of impacting the race, though he told the Detroit Free Press it is unlikely, figuring he will get 2 percent of the vote in the Nov. 4 election. Democrats said they are excited about Bentivolio's potential spoiler role because it could split the Republican vote.