House Might to Try to Shut out Gamrat, Courser

Courser and Gamrat believe the voters should decide if they should stay in office, not the House.

Former Representatives Todd Courser and Cindy Gamrat will face crowded primaries, but will have a chance to reclaim the jobs they were forced from as Michigan elections officials say there’s nothing in the law to prevent them from running.

Gamrat and Courser both filed to run in special elections after she was expelled by a two-thirds vote of the state House, and he quit as he was about to be removed. The two Tea Party Republicans were embroiled in a sex-and-cover-up scandal.

The deadline for withdrawing was 4 pm Monday. No one opted out and Gamrat is part of an eight-way Republican primary to fill the vacancy in the Allegan County seat. Courser is part of an 11-way GOP primary for a Thumb-area seat. Both seats lean Republican.

Gamrat and Courser say it should be up to voters to decide whether they’re fit to serve. But getting on the ballot doesn’t mean either one will necessarily serve if elected.

Speaker Kevin Cotter (R-Mt. Pleasant) says House leaders are now looking at whether they can refuse to seat either of them if one or both are reelected.

“It was a very significant margin, bipartisan support, 91 votes that said they were unfit, that she was unfit to serve, and I don’t there’s been a change of opinion,” he said. “So we’re going to do our homework first and then those decisions are going to be made at some point in the future.”

That decision might hinge on the undecided issue of whether an expulsion or resignation remains in effect for the length of the legislative term. (Although state Sen. David Jaye appeared on the special election ballot after he was expelled in 2001.)