National Democrats dispatched a staffer to Michigan's 11th district this week — a sign that they believe their candidate, internist Syed Taj, could be competitive in the race for GOP-leaning open seat.
Taj's race wasn't on the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee's radar until about a week ago, when Rep. Thaddeus McCotter failed to make the ballot because he didn't have enough valid signatures.
But McCotter announced his retirement over the weekend after briefly attempting a write-in campaign.
Now Republicans must decide whether to support Kerry Bentivolio, a libertarian-leaning reindeer farmer and their only candidate on the GOP ballot, or another Republican's write-in campaign for the Aug. 7 primary.
(See more on the fallout from McCotter's resignation in Tuesday's edition of Roll Call.)
Either way, the DCCC will prepare for the situation by sending an aide to the district northwest of Detroit.
"Congressman McCotter and House Republicans' incompetence made a district no one should be talking about a possibility for Democrats to win," a House Democratic aide said. "Win or lose, the NRCC will now have to spend significantly on a district that should be safe for them."
Taj faces a primary against Bill Roberts, a Lyndon LaRouche activist.