Michigan-11: Dave Trott (R)

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Nov. 4, 2014, 5:28 p.m.

Born: Oct. 16, 1960

Fam­ily: Mar­ried, Kath­leen Trott; three chil­dren

Re­li­gion: Cath­ol­ic

Edu­ca­tion: Uni­versity of Michigan, A.B., 1981; Duke Uni­versity, J.D., 1985

Ca­reer: Law firm own­er, 1985-2014; man­age­ment-ser­vices com­pany chair­man, 2006-13; title agency chair­man, 1998-present; real-es­tate com­pany chair­man, 2009-present; mort­gage qual­ity-con­trol com­pany share­hold­er and dir­ect­or, 2002-12; fin­an­cial com­pany pres­id­ent, 2002-04

Elec­ted Of­fice: Bing­ham Farms Vil­lage Coun­cil, 1987-88

Busi­ness­man and fore­clos­ure law­yer Dave Trott de­feated Demo­crat Bobby McK­en­zie, a former coun­terter­ror­ism ad­viser to the State De­part­ment, to rep­res­ent the 11th Dis­trict’s col­lec­tion of sub­urbs west and north­w­est of De­troit. But he was dogged by Santa Claus all the way.

Trott, chair­man and CEO of Trott & Trott law firm, chal­lenged Rep. Kerry Bentivolio — a part-time reindeer ranch­er and Santa Claus im­per­son­at­or in a trav­el­ing Christ­mas show be­fore com­ing to Con­gress — in the Re­pub­lic­an primary, beat­ing the in­cum­bent by a 2-to-1 ra­tio. Then, as the fa­vor­ite in the GOP-lean­ing dis­trict in the gen­er­al elec­tion, Trott de­feated both McK­en­zie and Bentivolio, who an­nounced in Oc­to­ber that he would wage a write-in cam­paign.

Trott, who was born in Birm­ing­ham, joined the fam­ily firm in 1985 after get­ting his law de­gree from Duke and later came to head it; he said in a cam­paign ad that he ex­pan­ded the com­pany from six people to 1,200. The nature of the busi­ness, which is the largest fore­clos­ure law firm in Michigan and one of the largest in the coun­try, was an is­sue in both the primary and the gen­er­al elec­tion.

Bentivolio’s elec­tion came after the dis­trict’s five-term GOP con­gress­man, Thad­deus Mc­Cot­ter, was found not to have enough val­id sig­na­tures on his nom­in­at­ing pe­ti­tions to qual­i­fy for the bal­lot. Mc­Cot­ter ul­ti­mately resigned amid a broad­er in­vest­ig­a­tion, and the seat flipped to a Demo­crat, Dav­id Curson, who held it from Novem­ber 2012 to Janu­ary 2013. Bentivolio won a two-year term in the re­drawn dis­trict with the tea party’s back­ing, earn­ing the nick­name “the ac­ci­dent­al con­gress­man.”

When Trott, with sup­port from the GOP es­tab­lish­ment, chal­lenged Bentivolio, the in­cum­bent launched a neg­at­ive cam­paign, call­ing Trott the “Fore­clos­ure King.” A cam­paign ad fea­tured a 101-year-old De­troit wo­man who had lived in the fam­ily home for 65 years and lost it to fore­clos­ure. The wo­man’s son, without her know­ledge, had taken out a re­verse mort­gage and hid­den evic­tion no­tices from her. In an in­ter­view with the De­troit Free Press, Trott de­fen­ded his busi­ness, say­ing, “I’m just do­ing my job for my cli­ents.”

McK­en­zie also at­tacked Trott for his fore­clos­ure leg­al busi­ness, but Trott’s sol­id con­ser­vat­ism — he pledged to re­peal the Af­ford­able Care Act, se­cure the bor­der, and de­fend gun rights — played well with voters. “What you see is what you get,” he prom­ised on his cam­paign web­site. “I will not tell you one thing and do an­oth­er.”

Susan Milligan contributed to this article.
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