Michigan's 11th Congressional District elections, 2012

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Michigan's 11th Congressional District

General Election Date
November 6, 2012

Primary Date
August 7, 2012

November 6 Election Winner:
Kerry Bentivolio Republican Party
Incumbent prior to election:
Thaddeus McCotter Republican Party
Thaddeus McCotter.jpg

Michigan U.S. House Elections
District 1District 2District 3District 4District 5District 6District 7District 8District 9District 10District 11District 12District 13District 14

2012 U.S. Senate Elections

Flag of Michigan.png
The 11th Congressional District of Michigan held an election for the U.S. House of Representatives on November 6, 2012.

Republican Kerry Bentivolio won the election.[1] At the same time, Bentivolio lost the special election for the seat, which was for a six-week term during the lame-duck session. That race was won by David Curson (D) who did not run in the regular election.[2][3]

Candidate Filing Deadline Primary Election General Election
May 15, 2012
August 7, 2012
November 6, 2012

Primary: Michigan has an open primary system, meaning any registered voter can vote in any party's primary.

Voter registration: Voters were required to register to vote in the primary by July 9. For the general election, the voter registration deadline was October 9.[4]

See also: Michigan elections, 2012

Incumbent: Incumbent Thaddeus McCotter (R), who was first elected to the 11th District in 2002, did not seek re-election. He initially filed to run as a write-in candidate, because he failed to collect enough signatures to earn a spot on the ballot.[5] However, on June 2, 2012, he opted to withdraw completely.[6]

In early July, McCotter announced that he would no longer serve out his term. The Detroit Free Press said that an early special election would cost Wayne and Oakland counties and the communities in the 11th Congressional District nearly $650,000.[7]

This was the first election using new district maps based on 2010 Census data. Michigan's 11th Congressional District is located in the southeastern region of the lower peninsula of Michigan and includes the cities of Livonia, Canton and Westland. It includes Wayne and Oakland counties.[8]

This is the 11th Congressional District prior to the 2010 redistricting.


General election candidates

Democratic Party Syed Taj
Republican Party Kerry BentivolioGreen check mark transparent.png
Libertarian Party John Tatar
Green Party Steven Paul Duke
Independent Daniel Johnson (NLP)

August 7, 2012, primary results

Democratic Party Democratic Primary

Republican Party Republican Primary

Note: Incumbent Thaddeus McCotter initially filed to run but did not receive sufficient signatures to qualify and later withdrew from the election completely.

Ballot access issues

In a statement released May 25, 2012, incumbent Thaddeus McCotter said the Secretary of State questioned the number of valid signatures he submitted to qualify for ballot. “I have been apprised my campaign may have submitted insufficient petition signatures to appear on the August primary ballot as a candidate for the 11th Congressional District’s Republican nomination,” he explained.[12]

Congressional candidates are required to submit at least 1,000 valid signatures, but may submit up to 2,000.[13]

The one-time Republican presidential hopeful said on May 29 that he would run as a write-in-candidate for re-election to the House.[14] The Secretary of State determined that only 244 of the signatures (13 percent) were valid.[15] He withdrew completely on June 2, 2012.

Election results

U.S. House, Michigan District 11 General Election, 2012
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Democratic Syed Taj 44.4% 158,879
     Republican Green check mark transparent.pngKerry Bentivolio 50.8% 181,788
     Libertarian John Tatar 2.7% 9,637
     Green Steven Paul Duke 1.3% 4,569
     NLP Daniel Johnson 0.9% 3,251
     Write-in James Van Gilder 0% 14
     Write-in Ralph Sherman 0% 1
Total Votes 358,139
Source: Michigan Secretary of State "Official Election Results, 2012 General Election"

Race background

Michigan's 11th was considered to be Leaning Republican according to the New York Times race ratings. Republican incumbent Thaddeus McCotter withdrew from his re-election campaign following a scandal over petition signatures. Democrats saw an opportunity to take the district as a result.[16]

Republican challenger Kerry Bentivolio was included in the National Republican Congressional Committee's Young Guns program. The program highlighted challengers who represent the GOP's best chances to pick up congressional seats in the general election.[17]

Impact of Redistricting

See also Redistricting in Michigan

District partisanship

FairVote's Monopoly Politics 2012 study

See also: FairVote's Monopoly Politics 2012

In 2012, FairVote did a study on partisanship in the congressional districts, giving each a percentage ranking (D/R) based on the new 2012 maps and comparing that to the old 2010 maps. Michigan's 11th District became more Republican because of redistricting.[18]

  • 2012: 47D / 53R
  • 2010: 51D / 49R

Cook Political Report's PVI

See also: Cook Political Report's Partisan Voter Index

In 2012, Cook Political Report released its updated figures on the Partisan Voter Index, which measures each congressional district's partisanship relative to the rest of the country. Michigan's 11th Congressional District has a PVI of R+4, which is the 199th most Republican district in the country. In 2008, this district was won by Barack Obama (D), 51-49 percent over John McCain (R). In 2004, George W. Bush (R) won the district 56-44 percent over John Kerry (D).[19]

Campaign donors

Candidates for Congress were required to file up to seven main reports with the Federal Election Commission during the 2012 elections season. Below are Taj and Robert's reports.

Syed Taj

Syed Taj(2012) Campaign Finance Reports
ReportDate FiledBeginning BalanceTotal Contributions
for Reporting Period
ExpendituresCash on Hand
April Quarterly[20]March 31, 2012$88,267.39$68,042.67$(75,031.00)$81,279.06
July Quarterly[21]June 30, 2012$81,279.06$109,947.97$(87,429.49)$103,797.54
Pre-Primary[22]July 24, 2012$103,797.54$20,771.00$(46,120.03)$78,448.51
October Quarterly[23]October 15, 2012$78,448.51$169,548.93$(89,348.67)$158,648.77
Pre-General[24]October 25, 2012$158,648.77$120,331.15$(215,402.38)$63,577.54
Running totals

Kerry Bentivolio

Kerry Bentivolio(2012) Campaign Finance Reports
ReportDate FiledBeginning BalanceTotal Contributions
for Reporting Period
ExpendituresCash on Hand
April Quarterly[25]March 31, 2012$0.00$120,311.26$(53,210.85)$67,100.41
July Quarterly[26]June 30, 2012$0.00$112,705.30$(21,521.52)$91,183.78
Pre-Primary[27]July 18, 2012$73,264.90$8,620.76$(77,435.74)$4,449.92
October Quarterly[28]October 15, 2012$7,655.27$152,820.36$(53,972.64)$106,502.99
Pre-General[29]October 22, 2012$106,502.99$66,846.40$(90,459.25)$82,890.14
Running totals

Race Competitiveness

In September of 2011, Roll Call pointed out that McCotter's district could be competitive "in a bad year for Republicans."[30]

McCotter's failure to collect enough signatures to get on the ballot stunned his fellow Republicans. “It’s definitely a cataclysmic event in politics for an incumbent congressman to not file sufficient signatures to get on the ballot,” Wayne County GOP Chairman Bill Runco told reporters. “I’ve never heard of it.”[31]

MSNBC reported that McCotter's misstep might open the door for Democrats to take back the 11th District.[32]

Columnist Brian Dickerson of the Detroit Free Press, however, believed that McCotter was nevertheless likely to retain his seat because the redistricting process made his seat safer. In late May, Dickerson wrote, "If the newly configured 11th were an animal, it would be a lapdog primping on the GOP candidate's lap." Dickerson adds, "In a district drawn to give any Republican nominee a 10-point head start, the name of the contestants may still matter less than the tilt of the playing field."[33]

District History


On November 2, 2010, Thaddeus McCotter won re-election to the United States House of Representatives. He defeated Natalie Mosher (D), and John J. Tatar (L) in the general election.[34]

U.S. House of Representatives, Michigan's 11th Congressional District, General Election, 2010
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Republican Green check mark transparent.pngThaddeus McCotter Incumbent 59.3% 141,224
     Democratic Natalie Mosher 38.5% 91,710
     Libertarian John J. Tatar 2.2% 5,353
Total Votes 238,287

See also

External links


  1. Politico, "2012 Election Map, Michigan"
  2. Detroit Free Press, "Curson and Bentivolio both won bids for McCotter's seat," November 7, 2012
  3. Click On Detroit, "Michigan's David Curson gets 6 weeks in US Congress," November 7, 2012
  4. Michigan Secretary of State, "2012 Registration Deadlines and Election Dates," accessed June 29, 2012
  5. Wall Street Journal, "Rep. McCotter runs for re-election as a write-in" May 31, 2012
  6. Detroit News, "McCotter ends write-in campaign for Congress," June 2, 2012
  7. Detroit Free Press, "Costly special primary likely" July 27, 2012
  8. Michigan Redistricting Map, "Map" accessed August 31, 2012
  9. "Detroit-area doctor to seek 11th US House seat" November 2, 2011
  10. Secretary of State "2012 Unofficial Michigan Primary Candidate List" May 31, 2012
  11. "War veteran decides to run for U.S. Congress" October 27, 2011
  12. Roll Call, "Michigan: Thaddeus McCotter Could Get Booted from the Ballot," May 26, 2012
  13. Detroit Free Press, "U.S. Rep. Thaddeus McCotter could be left off primary," May 26, 2012
  14. Wall Street Journal, "Rep. McCotter runs for re-election as a write-in" May 31, 2012
  15. The Detroit News, "87% of McCotter petition signatures invalid," May 30, 2012
  16. New York Times, "House Race Ratings," accessed August 10, 2012
  17. NRCC "Young Guns 2012"
  18. "2011 Redistricting and 2012 Elections in Michigan," September 2012
  19. Cook Political Report, "Partisan Voting Index Districts of the 113th Congress: 2004 & 2008" accessed October 2012
  20. Federal Election Commission, "April Quarterly," accessed August 1, 2012
  21. Federal Election Commission, "July Quarterly," accessed August 1, 2012
  22. Federal Election Commission, "Pre-Primary," accessed November 6, 2012
  23. Federal Election Commission, "October Quarterly," accessed November 6, 2012
  24. Federal Election Commission, "Pre-General," accessed November 6, 2012
  25. Federal Election Commission, "April Quarterly," accessed August 1, 2012
  26. Federal Election Commission, "July Quarterly," accessed August 1, 2012
  27. Federal Election Commission, "Pre-Primary," accessed November 6, 2012
  28. Federal Election Commission, "October Quarterly," accessed November 6, 2012
  29. Federal Election Commission, "Pre-General," accessed November 6, 2012
  30. Roll Call, "Race Ratings" May 31, 2012
  31. Washington Times, "McCotter's miscue forces write-in bid" May 31, 2012
  32. MSNBC "McCotter's fail opens door for Democrats" May 31, 2012 (timed out)
  33. Detroit Free Press, "Brian Dickerson: McCotter's miscue in 11th District might not matter as redistricting puts GOP ahead of the game" May 31, 2012
  34. U.S. Congress House Clerk, "Statistics of the Congressional Election of November 2, 2010," accessed March 28, 2013 accessed December 23, 2011