Before Bentivolio starts, Curson plans to tackle "fiscal cliff" for Michigan's 11th

Nov 9, 2012

In Michigan's freaky 11th Congressional District, the Republican candidate both won AND lost on Election Day.

It all started here... when this guy's campaign imploded:

Former Republican Congressman Thaddeus McCotter jammed with his blues band after announcing his run for the presidency over the July 4th weekend in 2011.
Former Republican Congressman Thaddeus McCotter jammed with his blues band after announcing his run for the presidency over the July 4th weekend in 2011.
Credit Vincent Duffy / Michigan Radio

Then this reindeer rancher stepped into the race for the Republicans...

Kerry Bentivolio with his reindeer.
Kerry Bentivolio with his reindeer.
Credit Kerry Bentivolio / Facebook

And two elections were needed to sort the mess out.

  • One for the remaining six weeks of McCotter's vacated term.
  • And one for the new 11th Districts full-term.

The Democrats put up two different people. One guy won, the other lost.

Syed Taj lost against Bentivolio in the newly redrawn 11th District.

But this guy won in the old 11th District:

Dave Curson - a five-week Congressman for Michigan's 11th District. But he won't be the record holder.
Dave Curson - a five-week Congressman for Michigan's 11th District. But he won't be the record holder.
Credit Dave Curson

The old district included parts of the democratic stronghold of Wayne County, so Curson evidently got enough of a bump there.

So off to Washington goes Curson - a six-week stint in Congress.

The life-long benefits he'll enjoy are enough to make Michigan Radio political analyst Jack Lessenberry jealous:

For the rest of his life, Curson will be entitled to a seat on the House floor to see the president deliver the State of the Union address.

When he leaves the first week of January, he can buy the desk and chair from his office if he wants to, can come back and wander around the house floor and house cloakroom anytime, and even keep up his membership at the House gym.

Plus, he’ll make about $29,000 for the next six weeks, which isn’t too shabby, and he can always tell his grandkids, “well, back when I was in Congress.”

So what can a guy do with five weeks in Congress?

Curson told WDET's Craig Fahle last month that he'll be there for the dreaded "fiscal cliff" debate in the lame duck session of Congress.

Fahle pointed out that Congress is a place where you have to have connections to get anything done.

"Don't believe we don't have any connections," said Curson. "We have connections - very strong, solid connections. In fact, Congressman Dingell just talked to me yesterday about the issues that are pending, about his staff helping prepare so I can hit the ground running. About who the people are to talk to, and it's not all in the official committees where this work gets done, as I'm sure everybody is aware of."

"It's moving the needle, Curson continued. "It's convincing people with first of all with your veracity and integrity that your part of the deal will be upheld, which has been a problem in Washington ... We have connections. We have preliminary discussions going on. We have strategies going on as to how to move the needle."

We'll see whether Curson can have any influence at all on that needle in the coming weeks.

It's a BIG needle. A lot of heavyweights in Congress will be in the front pushing on it. Curson will be WAAY in the back, behind the others, trying to give that thing a nudge.

In the meantime, as Chad Selweski in the Macomb Daily points out, Kerry Bentivolio will get to spend time doing what he loves this holiday season:

And I suppose Bentivolio, who has admitted he sometimes believes he really is Santa Claus, got his wish too: Time off at Christmas so he can deliver toys to all the good girls and boys.

So Bentivolio will wait until next year to get started. And Curson gets started right away.

Could Curson set the record for the shortest serving member of Congress in U.S. history?

Nope.

It appears that Effinham Lawrence a Louisiana Congressman has Curson beat. Lawrence served one day in Congress in 1875 before he was forced to give up his seat.