Michigan Elects ‘Santa Claus’ and Ex-Con to Office

Wednesday, 07 Nov 2012 07:21 PM

By Todd Beamon

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Michigan voters elected two candidates with unusual pasts to office on Tuesday – with one going to the State House in Lansing and the other to Congress.

Heading to Washington is GOP Rep. Kerry Bentivolio, a former teacher who raises reindeer on a farm and moonlights as Santa Claus with real reindeer, CBS Detroit reports. He won 51 percent to 44 percent.

He replaces Thaddeus McCotter who resigned amid claims that members of his staff faked signatures on his campaign forms.

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Bentivolio, 61, who once said in a court deposition that he didn’t know whether he was himself or Santa Claus, has been described as “mentally unbalanced” by his brother Phillip, who also predicted that he eventually will spend time in prison.

As for reindeer farm while he’s in Washington?

“My son’s taking over,” Kerry Bentivolio said.

Meanwhile, Brian Banks, an ex-con who's been convicted eight times for felonies involving bad checks and credit card fraud, is going to Lansing.
Banks, 35, a Democrat, was convicted eight times between 1998 and 2004 of writing bad checks and credit card fraud. He won 68 percent of the vote to Republican Dan Schulte's 32 percent, according to CBS Detroit.

"It's time to elect a leader, with experience and passion, who will fight for you," Banks wrote on his website.

In 2010, Michigan voters approved a constitutional amendment that bans anyone convicted of a felony in the last 20 years from running for office. But the conviction must be "related to the person's official capacity while holding any elective office."

This was Banks' first run for elected office.

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Banks' website says that he's a lawyer and adjunct professor, though not where, and that he uses his law degree to provide "free legal assistance to indigent clients," CBS Detroit reports.

Banks has said that he changed after his last conviction eight years ago.

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