A tiny Michigan congressional district was won last night by a man who thinks he’s Santa Claus.
Kevin Bentivolio, the newest representative of the Wolverine State’s 11th US congressional district, was quoted in a 1993 court hearing as saying he had a “problem figuring out which one I really am, Santa Claus or Kerry Bentivolio.”
And, like any Santa, Bentivolio raises reindeer, bees, “a small flock of chickens” and has 115-vine vineyard.
Which is totally fine. He sounds like he maybe used to be a little overzealous. But now he keeps bees! That’s awesome! And he’s a congressman! Water under the bridge.
According to Politico, Bentivolio’s own brother Phillip decided, just days before the election, to warn Michiganders that his brother was a total kook.
“I’ve never met anyone in my life who is conniving and dishonest as this guy,” Phillip Bentivolio reportedly said. Phillip also referred to his brother as “mentally unbalanced.”
Okay. But fraternal disputes are so common. Maybe Phillip is just jealous. What evidence is there that Kevin is anything but a clear thinking congressman elect?
Well. There is this business of the conspiracy theory videos.
Apparently, Bentivolio appeared in a 2011 satirical film about a pseudo George W. Bush who was responsible for the Sept. 11 attacks.
And, in June, Bentivolio, who is also a veteran of the Gulf and Iraq wars, left his job as a school teacher after what the Detroit Free Press calls “two reprimands for inappropriate comments and intimidation of students.”
Maybe a little scrutiny is warranted, after all. So, how did Mr. Bentivolio go from fringe candidate to Mr. Congressman? Happenstance, of course.
After the incumbent, Rep. Thaddeus McCotter, somehow failed to make it onto the ballot, Bentivolio became the Republican nominee because he was the only one left on the ballot.
GOP big wigs were less than enthused at the libertarian tea partier’s surprise success, so they sent in a write-in candidate to try and salvage the district for the Republicans.
They needn’t have worried. Bentivolio handily won the primary and then went up against democrat Dr. Syed Taj. After some more fortunate events, including a superPAC-funded attack ad against Taj that referenced the india native’s Muslim beliefs …voila: Kevin Bentivolio was elected to congress with 51% of the vote!
So, everyone wish the bee keeping, veteran, tea partying, reindeer farming, Santa impersonating, reportedly “mentally unbalanced,” conspiracy theorizing, viticulturalist new congressman congrats!