Republican Kerry Bentivolio will represent Michigan’s 11th District in the 113th Congress, but he won’t fill the currently vacant seat for the remainder of the 112th. Democrat David Curson—who wasn’t a candidate in the general election—won a special election to serve the remaining six weeks of former GOP Rep. Thaddeus McCotter's term.
McCotter resigned from Congress in July after having failed to turn in the necessary petition signatures to run for reelection, drawing a fraud investigation and leading to criminal charges for four campaign staff members. That prompted the need for both a special election to fill the remainder of McCotter's term in the current Congress and a general election to fill the seat in the new Congress, which will be sworn in in January. The elections were held on the same day, Nov. 6.
Because the district’s boundaries were redrawn after the 2010 census, it was easier for a Democrat to win the seat under its existing lines in the special election than under the new district lines, which took effect in the general election.
Curson, 64, was born in Toledo, Ohio. He served in the Marine Corps during the Vietnam War as an infantryman, following that with a stint as a diemaker at a Ford plant in Ypsilanti, Mich. For almost four decades, he was a United Auto Workers representative and is now executive assistant to UAW Secretary Treasurer Dennis Williams.
Curson launched a late bid after McCotter's resignation, saying he felt compelled to run because he knew the lame-duck Congress would be facing serious issues, including the so-called “fiscal cliff” of expiring Bush-era tax cuts and big spending cuts that go into effect automatically unless President Obama and congressional Republicans reach a deal. Curson said in an interview that he has no aspirations to run again and simply wants to bring the skills he honed in “thousands” of UAW negotiations to the table.
“It will be a thrill to be a part of the process, to be a part of the group that has actual lawmaking responsibility,” he said.
The Belleville, Mich. native ran a low-budget campaign, knocking on doors with volunteers from the UAW and local Democratic organizations. He beat Bentivolio and two minor-party candidates with 48 percent of the vote in the special-election race. Bentivolio won the same-day general election.
While in Washington, Curson will be taking advantage of his friendships with Democrat John Dingell and other members of Michigan’s delegation. Some have offered to loan him staffers to help him focus immediately on his temporary new job.