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Michigan: Republicans Looking to Primary Reindeer Rancher

Rep.-elect Kerry Bentivolio has not even been sworn in to Congress yet, but Republicans are already discussing a potential primary challenge this cycle.

Bentivolio, a reindeer rancher and veteran, won the GOP nod in August after Rep. Thaddeus McCotter dropped his re-election bid in this district northwest of Detroit.

“I’m sure he’ll get a primary,” said one Michigan Republican who requested anonymity to speak candidly. “He’s new, and people perceive him as untested. It’s a great seat.”

Two local Republicans mentioned businessman David Trott, former state Rep. Andrew “Rocky” Raczkowski and outgoing state Rep. Marty Knollenberg as potential challengers.

Knollenberg, the son of a congressman who represented much of that district for two decades, appeared open to the possibility.

“As far as future office, I’m going to look at whatever makes sense for Michigan residents and if people want to encourage me to run for something, I’d certainly look at it,” he said in a phone interview last week.

McCotter’s ballot petitions were rife with inaccuracies — an offense that has resulted in jail time for some of his staff. McCotter resigned in July.

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