Bentivolio is back? Former Santa impersonator/congressman sends 2020 fundraising pitch.

    Kerry Bentivolio

    Former U.S. Rep. Kerry Bentivolio (R-Milford), an eccentric Tea Party darling and ex-Santa Claus impersonator, appears to want his old job back representing the 11th District in Southeast Michigan.

    Bentivolio served one term from 2013 to 2015 before losing a primary to now-former U.S. Rep. Dave Trott (R-Birmingham) and unsuccessfully tried to reclaim the seat last year after Trott announced his retirement.

    Bentivolio’s congressional campaign, which is not yet registered for 2020 with the Federal Election Commission, sent out a fundraising email over the weekend titled, “Socialism or Freedom?” asking for “$20.00 for 2020!” for Bentivolio for Congress. The email from is from “campaign volunteers to re-elect the Honorable Kerry Bentivolio to the US Congress” even though U.S. Rep. Haley Stevens (D-Rochester) now represents the seat.

    Kerry Bentivolio fundraising email sent Oct. 20

    “Here are the facts: In the last fifty years, no other U.S. Congressman was as successful or effective during his first term! None,” begins the all-bold type missive. “No other U.S. Congressman from Michigan was rated the 1st Most Transparent his first year in office and 2nd Most Transparent member of Congress overall his second year. None!”

    The pitch stresses his bipartisan credentials and then things start to get weird. The email ties Bentivolio to President Donald Trump, saying they’ve both “battled the likes of [U.S. House Speaker] Nancy Pelosi and corrupt Republicans to get things done.”

    President Donald J. Trump waves as he prepares to board Marine One on the South Lawn of the White House Wednesday, July 24, 2019, to begin his trip to West Virginia. | Official White House Photo by Joyce N. Boghosian, Flickr

    “Like President Trump, the corrupt politicians on both sides of the isle [sic] want to destroy good hardworking elected Conservatives who support and fight for the average working middle class,” the email reads.

    Then the campaign attacks a host of Democrats:

    “A $20.00 donation to his campaign is all we are asking. No more, or no less. $20.00 for our fight to protect our Freedoms people like Hillary Clinton, Pelosi, [U.S. Rep. Adam] Schiff, [former U.S. Rep.] Beto [O’Rourke] and [U.S. Sen. Elizabeth] Warren want to take away!”

    And the email ends with:

    “There is no longer compromise for the crooked DNC, there is no longer a middle ground for the hardcore Socialist Democrats. For them, they want everything. They want it all! The battle lines are drawn!  Do you choose freedom? Or shall we be slaves to the Democratic Socialist Nanny State? It is decision time! SEND A PROVEN WARRIOR TO CONGRESS WHO WILL NEVER SURRENDER! WHO WILL FIGHT FOR US! $20.00 for 2020!”

    Susan J. Demas is a 19-year journalism veteran and one of the state’s foremost experts on Michigan politics, appearing on MSNBC, CNN, NPR and WKAR-TV’s “Off the Record.” In addition to serving as Editor-in-Chief, she is the Advance’s chief columnist, writing on women, LGBTQs, the state budget, the economy and more. Most recently, she served as Vice President of Farough & Associates, Michigan’s premier political communications firm. For almost five years, Susan was the Editor and Publisher of Inside Michigan Politics, the most-cited political newsletter in the state. Susan’s award-winning political analysis has run in more than 80 national, international and regional media outlets, including the Guardian U.K., NBC News, the New York Times, the Detroit News and MLive. She is the only Michigan journalist to be named to the Washington Post’s list of “Best Political Reporters,” the Huffington Post’s list of “Best Political Tweeters” and the Washington Post’s list of “Best Political Bloggers.” Susan was the recipient of a prestigious Knight Foundation fellowship in nonprofits and politics. She served as Deputy Editor for MIRS News and helped launch the Michigan Truth Squad, the Center for Michigan’s fact-checking project. She started her journalism career reporting on the Iowa caucuses for The (Cedar Rapids) Gazette. Susan has hiked over 3,000 solo miles across four continents and climbed more than 60 mountains. She also enjoys dragging her husband and two teenagers along, even if no one else wants to sleep in a tent anymore.



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