Bentivolio wants to hunt down Wash. ‘snakes’

Melissa Nann Burke
Detroit News Washington Bureau

In an unusual new political ad, former U.S. Rep. Kerry Bentivolio is promising to hunt down and “get rid of” snakes in Washington, D.C.

Former U.S. Rep. Kerry Bentivolio is promising to hunt down and “get rid of” snakes in Washington, D.C., in a new ad.

Bentivolio is a U.S. Army veteran, former part-time reindeer farmer and school teacher from Milford running for the Republican nomination for his old seat in the U.S. House. He hopes to succeed retiring U.S. Rep. Dave Trott, R-Birmingham, whom he lost to in 2014 after serving one term representing the 11th District.

The ad, posted on Facebook and YouTube, opens with harp music. Bentivolio is peering into the camera from overhead, wearing a white hard hat with his campaign logo.

“Since Adam and Eve, you have deceived my people. You have lied to them, you have distorted the truth, you have taken things out of context. Enough is enough!” Bentivolio says sternly.

The ad cuts to a shot of him bent over a construction pail in a swampy area, where he picks up a pair of snakes from the ground.

A narrator says: “Kerry Bentivolio is a proven fighter. He fought for us in Vietnam and Iraq. And as a snake-hunter in Washington, D.C.”

Bentivolio then holds up the snakes for the camera, with their heads superimposed with the faces of MSNBC host Rachel Maddow and House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi. He throws the snakes into the bucket with a bang.

The narrator says, “Let’s send Kerry Bentivolio back to Washington to hunt down the snakes.”

Bentivolio slams a lid onto the bucket and sits on it with a huff.

“You help drain the swamp. I’ll get rid of the snakes,” says Bentivolio, taking off his hard hat and wiping his brow. “I’m Kerry Bentivolio, and I approved this message.”

Pelosi spokesman Drew Hammill responded by saying: “This ad shows that Mr. Bentivolio should be seeking help, not higher office.”

Bentivolio said in an interview that the idea for the advertisement came from “the snakes lying and deceiving us in Washington.” The “swamp” was created using green-screen technology, he said.

“The ones who don’t want to listen to the people’s voice — those are the snakes. And those who use the federal government as a weapon to go after opposing views and silence free speech,” he said.

The way to get rid of the snakes is to expose their hypocrisy, Bentivolio said.

“That’s all we have to, right? Expose their hypocrisy and their lies and eventually, they’re going to be forced out,” Bentivolio said. “I had two rules as a congressman. No. 1 is never lie, and No. 2 is try not to be a hypocrite.”

Bentivolio said he doesn’t want to hurt the snakes — just get them out of town.

“I didn’t kill them,” Bentivolio said of the snakes in the ad. “Ship them to Borneo or something. No, it’s just trying to express frustration in what they’re doing because, really, don’t you deserve the truth? Come on. Don’t you want transparency in Congress?”

While in Congress, Bentivolio served on the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform the Small Business Committee, he said.

Others running for GOP primary in the 11th District include Lena Epstein of Bloomfield Township; state Rep. Klint Kesto, R-Commerce Township; former state House Majority Leader Rocky Raczkowski of Troy; state Sen. Mike Kowall of White Lake Township; and Kristine Bonds of West Bloomfield Township.