Jason Allen and Dan Benishek faced off in what proved to be a very tight GOP primary on August 3 for Michigan's 1st Congressional District seat once occupied by Bart Stupak. At the end of the night, Benishek was up by a single vote.
In the days since, as each precinct and each county has been working to review and verify and certify, Allen and Benishek have had to ready legal teams and file paperwork and assemble staff in order to prepare for a recount fight...should one come. That decision rests soley on Allen's shoulders.
Over those 9 days Benishek's margin has crept up, not down, and with every county that has certified their numbers in preparation for the official meeting with Michigan's Board of Canvassers on August 23, the margin widens. Latest numbers [subscription required] indicate Benishek is now up by 17 with 3 counties to go:
With only three counties left to either announce or complete their Election Night canvass, 1st Congressional Republican candidate Jason ALLEN has not yet decided whether to pursue a recount if he's still down after Friday's official certification by the state Board of Canvassers.
Currently, Allen is down 17 votes, a number both Allen and leader Dan BENISHEK agreed on today. The big county observers will be looking at is Otsego, where Allen has the potential to squeeze out a couple extra votes.
The cited article from MIRS News goes on to suggest that a recount will cost between $75,000 and $100,000 of already cash-strapped Michiganders' hard-earned dollars, and will likely drag on for quite some time.
Dear Mr. Allen: Is it in the best interests of the people of the Upper Peninsula...or is it in the best interests of you personally... to spend more time and more money on recounts at a time when conceding and working together WITH Benishek will almost guarantee a defeat of the Democrat in MI-1 in the General election in November?
A letter, re-printed with permission below the fold, suggests that you "do the right thing" by Michiganders and end this while there's still time to keep your honor and dignity...and political future... intact.
The text of "Dick's" letter to Jason Allen:
Dear Jason, August 9, 2010
You may already be well ahead of me on this and perhaps this note will serve to confirm your biblical- and Golden Rule-based sensibilities and your own personal sense of integrity. As fate would have it, the events of recent days have presented you with a reputation-saving opportunity and you would be wise not to waste it. It’s an unexpected chance for you to put the toothpaste back in the tube; the genie back in the bottle.
I refer to events surrounding the “23% tax hike,” negative campaign tactic you employed in making up the polling difference between you and Benishek. Not unexpectedly, your scheme worked, but it also led to the turmoil now needlessly threatening to give away the seat to McDowell, Pelosi and the Democrats. Of course negative campaigning is neither new nor necessarily unfair, but there is negative campaigning based on truth and those sordid alternate tactics based on half-truths and un-truths such as the one you used. You deliberately chose to risk putting your future political career in jeopardy among the Michigan Republican leadership as well as among the Republican electorate at large using that method. And yet the opportunity is still open for you to get past this political life threatening mistake.
I’m suggesting that taking the magnanimous path and conceding the election to Benishek in the next day or so will eventually come to outshine and maybe even cancel the memory of your shameful ploy. Such a goodwill gesture by you has the potential to make the damaging consequences of that “23% tax hike” tactic disappear into the dustbin of history. Optimally and instead, you will likely be praised and remembered for taking the high road by graciously conceding early this week. Choosing this path also prevents McDowell from benefiting from the expense, lost momentum and inevitable intra-party acrimony awaiting your choice of not acting as outlined above.
If you demand a recount, thus dragging the process along until August 23 or even beyond and lose, the three major memories of the 2010 race among conservatives will have been not just the Alanson ploy and your having kept the $2,000 SEIU money, but mostly the fact of your wholly dishonest mailing, robo-calls and TV advertising per the 23% trickery. Should any recount give you the victory, McDowell will relentlessly use what you did against you as an example of how treacherous “you are capable of being,” and how dirty tricks is what the electorate can expect from you forever down the line. Imagine the effect in November in the critical UP. Aside from the endlessly innovative use the McDowell team will make of them, the combination of the 23% scandal and the Alanson move will not fade away going forward in Republican electoral thinking, meaning that your longer-range political career plans could well be over.
It’s your call. Behave now with honor and very likely be remembered for it when you run again in other races in the future or be forever labeled as a low-life pragmatist and, God forbid, a professional hack politician. Not what the people want at this particular voter-disconnect moment in history thanks to Obama, Pelosi, Reid, Murtha et al as reinforced by the mere 22% favorability rating of a current U.S. Congress infested with career politicians and assorted incumbents.
Thanks for your time and attention, Jason. This is a defining moment for you and is a matter between you and your conscience.