Four more Republicans on Friday filed to run for the last two months of former U.S. Rep. Thaddeus McCotter's term, triggering a $650,000 special primary election.
Former state Sen. Nancy Cassis of Novi and three Livonia residents -- Steve King, Kenneth Crider and Carolyn Kavanagh -- submitted signatures to run in the Sept. 5 special primary. Republican Kerry Bentivolio, of Milford, filed Monday.
Democratic labor activist Dave Curson, of Belleville, submitted his signatures Thursday and will run unopposed since no other Democrat filed by the Friday afternoon deadline.
The special primary election might have been skipped if only one Republican and one Democrat had filed for the chance to serve through the end of 2012. Local governments have complained about the added expense and asked the state to help pick up the tab. State lawmakers have not decided whether the state will foot the bill.
Cassis said in a news release that she regrets the extra cost but couldn't chance the seat going to a Democrat or Bentivolio. She has criticized Bentivolio for starring in a low-budget, Michigan-made satiric movie released last year that blamed former President George W. Bush for the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.
Bentivolio campaign manager Bob Dindoffer had urged Bentivolio supporters on Monday to contact Cassis and other potential GOP challengers and tell them not to run, citing the cost of a special primary.
Candidates have until Monday to withdraw. Gov. Rick Snyder called the special election after McCotter, a Livonia Republican who held the seat for a decade, abruptly resigned July 6 after faulty and possibly fraudulent petition signatures kept him from qualifying for the ballot. McCotter is cooperating with an investigation by the state attorney general's office.
Democratic Party Chairman Mark Brewer skewered Republicans in a Friday release.
"Michigan Republicans are entirely to blame for this tremendous waste of taxpayer dollars in the 11th Congressional District," he said. "First, Congressman Thad McCotter decided to quit on his constituents and force a special election for the remainder of his term. Then, five Republicans filed today to run for the seat, forcing a wasteful primary election to be held on Sept. 5 ... which will result in taxpayers footing the bill to the tune of $650,000."
State GOP spokesman Matt Frendewey dismissed Brewer's comments as partisan backbiting.
"This is an unfortunate situation, and it's shameful for the Democratic Party to try and play more political games," Frendewey said in a statement.
Before voters get to the September special election, they'll have the chance in the Aug. 7 regular primary election to choose a candidate to run for the two-year congressional term that begins in January.
Bentivolio is on the only candidate on the GOP ticket in that primary, although Cassis and Drexel Morton, a Lutheran pastor from Wayne County's Canton Township, plan to run as Republican write-in candidates.
The Democratic primary pits physician and Canton Township Trustee Syed Taj against William Roberts, of Wayne County's Redford Township. Roberts is a Lyndon LaRouche supporter who thinks President Barack Obama should be impeached.
On Nov. 6, voters in the current 11th District that stretches through Oakland and western Wayne counties will select who will serve the final months of this year's term, while those in the newly redrawn 11th District will select who will serve the next two-year term. Some residents will vote in both races.