Republican Kerry Bentivolio may have won the general election Tuesday to represent Michigan's 11th District in Congress, but he lost the special election to fill the remainder of Thaddeus McCotter's term.
Democrat David Curson beat Bentivolio and will serve the rest of McCotter's term, which ends Dec. 31. Bentivolio will take over in January for a two-year term.
The vote to fill a partial term was added to the ballot when McCotter resigned from the position in July after it was discovered that his campaign failed to turn in the requisite number of signatures to run for re-election this past Tuesday. His seat has been vacant for the past four months.
Curson received 159,267 votes, or 51 percent of the vote, and Bentivolio received 151,740 votes, or 49 percent.
Curson took home the most votes thanks largely to Wayne County, where he won 53 percent of the vote compared to Bentivolio's 41 percent. Bentivolio had the most votes in Oakland County with 56 percent of the votes to Curson's 38 percent. But the higher number of voters for the district in Wayne County brought Curson the win.
In a statement, Curson thanked his supporters and said it is an honor to have been elected.
"I didn’t run for this office for a title. I ran to help break the gridlock in Washington and to do my part to move our nation forward; insuring Social Security and Medicare is protected, a fair tax structure is put in place and make every effort to bring jobs to Michigan. I hope to represent every citizen of the 11th District regardless of their political affiliation and work to make each of their lives and America better," Curson said in the statement.
The U.S. House of Representatives is scheduled to hold 16 more days of session before the end of the year. One of the major tasks the members will be working on is solving the issue known as the "fiscal cliff."
Michael Traugott, professor of political science and communication studies at the University of Michigan, explained that Congress has to decide if it should let the current policy scheduled for the beginning of 2013 to go into place or to revise it before the end of the year.
"There is a law in place now which says that unless it's replaced with another law, there will be the elimination of the Bush tax cuts and an associated decrease in federal spending in various agencies," Traugott said. "So the Congress that would come into special session has the opportunity to revise or amend those conditions by reaching an agreement about both taxes and about whether or not there should be reductions in the federal budget."
Differing 11th District Communities
Although Bentivolio and Curson will both serve Michigan's 11th District, they will serve a few different communities. Michigan was re-districted this year, so Curson will serve the former 11th District, while Bentivolio will represent the towns in the new district lines.
The former 11th District serves Novi, Northville, Plymouth, Canton, White Lake, Livonia, Garden City, Westland, Wayne, Belleville, Milford, Highland, Commerce and more.
The new 11th District serves Novi, Northville, Birmingham, Bloomfield Hills, Clawson, Farmington, Rochester Hills, Troy, White Lake, Plymouth, Canton, Livonia, Wixom, Milford, Commerce, Waterford, Auburn Hills and more.
Syed Taj, the Democratic candidate who lost to Bentivolio in the race for the full 11th District term, offered Curson his congratulations on his Facebook page:
"Congratulations to 'Congressman' David Curson. You will be casting some tough votes but I know you will be representing the interests of the Middle Class...all families across the current 11th District."
Bentivolio's campaign was not immediately available for comment.