Special elections in Michigan to replace two disgraced former lawmakers will have some familiar names on the ballots. Former Michigan state representative Todd Courser has announced that he will run in the next special election for his former seat. Courser resigned after allegations surfaced that he and a fellow lawmaker were having an extramarital affair and were trying to cover it up.
The lawmaker he conducted the affair with, Cindy Gamrat, announced yesterday that she would be running in a November primary election to fill her own vacant seat. Gamrat was among five Republicans who submitted paperwork a day before the deadline for the special primary election. The primary election is scheduled for Nov. 3 and a general election to fill both seats is scheduled for March 8.
Allegations recently surfaced that Courser and Gamrat were using staff members to try to hide their affair. In an attempted cover up, Courser sent an email to supporters in May with a sexually explicit claim that he had been caught with a male prostitute. The story soon fell apart.
Courser subsequently indicated that he was the subject of a blackmail attempt and that the email was a ploy to make his affair with Gamrat less believable if it was exposed. Courser and Gamrat apologized during a special House committee hearing into the scandal last week. Police have begun a criminal investigation into the lawmakers’ use of tax funds to cover up the affair.
The state House of Representatives voted to have Gamrat removed from office last Friday. Courser resigned last Friday after a legislative session discussing possibly expelling him from office. Both would have been able to remain in office if they had been censured instead. Gamrat and Courser are both married, both Republicans, and both members of the Tea Party movement.
During an appearance on CNN, Courser said that he would be filing to run for the 82nd district seat. He said that he is running with the blessing of his wife and children. He has also mentioned that he and his wife are in counseling.