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Michigan 11th District - Bentivolio vs. Taj


Kerry Bentivolio

Kerry Bentivolio (R)

Bio | Campaign Site

Syed Taj

Syed Taj (D)

Bio | Campaign Site

Michigan Snapshot

RCP Ranking: Toss Up
2012 Key Races:
Pres | Sen | MI-1 | MI-3

----------PAST KEY RACES----------

: Governor | MI-1 | MI-7 | MI-9 | MI-15
2008: President | MI-7 | MI-9
2006: Senate | Governor
2004: President

Polling Data

PollDateSampleBentivolio (R)Taj (D)Spread
Final Results----50.844.4Bentivolio +6.4
Baydoun/Foster (D)10/22 - 10/23392 LV4739Bentivolio +8

Race Analysis

The Northwestern Detroit suburbs have long been a GOP stronghold.  In 2002, in an attempt to shore up the party's statewide numbers, these suburbs were split up between two districts, both of which were thought to be solidly Republican.  Joe Knollenberg's district was made somewhat more Democratic, although he won handily in 2002.  The newly created 11th, as expected, elected Rep. Thaddeus McCotter.

But over the course of the decade, the GOP's strength diminished in northern suburbs, not just here but nationally.  This weakened the GOP's position in these two districts.  Knollenberg lost in 2008, and McCotter was nearly dragged down by the Democratic tide as well.  Republicans effectively conceded Knollenberg's district in redistricting, combining it with the heavily Democratic 12th, and shored up the 11th in the process.

The 11th then experienced one of the strangest sequences of events in electoral history.  McCotter embarked upon a quixotic run for the presidency, which ended before the first primary votes were cast.  It looked as though he would simply return to Washington, but he failed to submit enough signatures to qualify for the ballot. 

That left the GOP with reindeer farmer Kerry Bentivolio as its nominee.  The libertarian Bentivolio is an odd fit for the district, to say the least.  But Democrats were caught flat-footed by McCotter's failure as well, and their nominee, Syed Taj, is less than impressive as well.  This race is a mess, and it is probably only the GOP tilt of the district that is saving the GOP here.