On May 8th, 2016, Politics1.com, a well respected online comprehensive directory of political candidates and parties, tweeted “Ex-Cong Kerry Bentivolio (R-MI), a Tea Party activist, launches run for Libertarian Party’s VP nomination.”
Curious, I decided to reach out to Bentivolio, who represented the 11th congressional district of Michigan from January 2013 to January 2015, and ask him if he was indeed seeking the Libertarian Party’s vice-presidential nomination. In an email, Bentivolio confirmed that this news is correct and sent a link to the FEC website showing that he had filed to run for vice president with the Libertarian Party on May 7th, 2016. Bentivolio told me that he will be attending the LP national convention in Orlando, Florida, May 27th-30th. I then asked him who he would like to see as the LP presidential nominee, to which he replied:
I am not a Trumplican nor a Hillicrat.
I think any L candidate would benefit from my experience in DC. There are 5 things you will have a difficult time finding in dc. Truth, common sense, sense of humor, honest reporter and a parking space.
However, in my email conversation with him, Bentivolio focused on a different angle; he is considering running for Congress again.
In this IPR exclusive, former Republican congressman Kerry Bentivolio told IPR today that he is considering running for Congress again as either a Libertarian Party candidate or an independent, should he not receive the Libertarian nomination. Bentivolio is a decorated veteran of both the wars in Vietnam and Iraq who was endorsed in his victorious 2012 campaign by Ron Paul and Rand Paul.
Bentivolio elaborated in an email to this IPR writer:
I would like to run as a Libertarian for the 11th Congressional seat like Ron Paul, Paul Ryan, etc. did when they ran for President and vice president for the GOP but it depends on the Michigan Libertarian convention this weekend. No matter what happens ‘yea’ or ‘nay’ I will run as an independent if need be. I already have the 3000 signatures to get on the ballot as an independent. It was nice to see when I paid my dues they listed it as a “renewal” of membership.
Bentivolio also included a May 3rd email from Libertarian Party of Michigan chairwoman Kimberly Moore concerning his membership status within the Michigan LP:
I am reviewing with our credentials person on this. You have not been a national member before but you have been a state member, but it was not the state membership being renewed. Let me check with her first and I’ll let you know if there will be any issues as the sign up on the national was not prior to 30 days in advance of the convention.
Bentivolio sent me the following exclusive press release:
For Immediate Release
KERRY BENTIVOLIO CONSIDERS CANDIDACY FOR CONGRESS
Stands for the People; Transparency, Accountability and Upholding the Constitution.
Milford – Michigan – Tuesday, May, 10, 2016 – Kerry Bentivolio of Milford, United States Representative for Michigan’s 11th Congressional District, in office from 2013 to 2015, decorated veteran of war and the only member of Congress to have served in both Vietnam and Iraq, is considering his candidacy for Congress.
“If we do not stand our ground now and demand accountability and transparency in government. If we do not stand our ground now and fight the corruption in our courts, in our mainstream media, if we do not stand our ground to defend our borders, fight socialist social engineering, the denouncing of our founding Christian values, our belief in family, our belief in wholesome hard work to achieve a vision of the American dream as a benchmark, a goal, the light of freedom will be lost and the blood and sacrifice to relight that flame will be in further blood and further sacrifice of innocent lives. It is time to protect and defend that flame not on foreign shores and distant lands but here at home.”
“The death of a nation happens with a whisper and a nudge, patently and stealthily, robbing its unsuspecting citizens of inalienable rights and replacing them with government controls is not the answer. It is time for every able body man and woman to demand accountability and transparency in our government, to demand truth, respect, and with those concepts we can work together to restore liberty. It is the duty of our elected to protect rights, not take them away. This is a battle worth fighting.”
“A war is raging for the soul of America. It is not a war of steel and cartridge. It is a conflict of ideas, fought not in trenches, jungles or a desert; instead, it is played out in town halls, roundtables, tea party and Liberty groups all across the nation. Instead of cannonades, there are editorials; instead of bombs, there are speeches; Instead of rifle volleys, there is education on the benefits of Liberty ordained by God protected by a United States Constitution.”
I am running to Restore liberty, not restrict it; Shrink government, not expand it; Reduce taxes, not raise them; Abolish programs, not create them; Promote the freedom and independence of citizens, not the interference of government in their lives; and Observe the limited, enumerated powers of our Constitution, not ignore them. This is a pledge I made prior to serving as a US Congressman and I walked the talk. My official record proves it.
For more information on Mr. Bentivolio, please contact Press Secretary
During his congressional tenure Bentivolio received an “A” rating from groups such as the American Conservative Union, FreedomWorks, Council for Citizens Against Government Waste, the Club for Growth, and the Family Research Council. He was also named the second most transparent member of Congress by GovTrack.us. His high marks from conservative groups did not help him win reelection, though; Bentivolio lost his 2014 Republican primary to Dave Trott, earning 33.6% of the vote. He ran as write-in candidate in the general election, receiving 0.56% of the vote.
Bentivolio’s announcement of his vice presidential candidacy easily overshadows his potential congressional run, and makes him the highest profile individual currently seeking the 2016 Libertarian vice-presidential nomination. Other candidates for the LP VP position at this time include Will Coley (running jointly with presidential candidate Darryl W. Perry) and Judd Weiss (running jointly with presidential candidate John McAfee).
Bentivolio’s Facebook page can be found here.