Courser announces he will run for old House seat

State Rep. Todd Courser.

LANSING, Mich. (WOOD) — Ex-state Rep. Todd Courser announced during an appearance on CNN Friday morning that he will run for his old House of Representatives seat.

Courser resigned one week ago rather than be kicked out of the GOP-led House, after he and another freshman Republican, Cindy Gamrat from Plainwell, admitted to misusing state resources in an effort to cover up their extramarital affair.

Reps. Todd Courser and Cindy Gamrat testify before a House select committee formed to assess their fitness for office in Lansing on Sept. 8 and 9, 2015.
(Reps. Todd Courser and Cindy Gamrat testify before a House select committee formed to assess their fitness for office in Lansing on Sept. 8 and 9, 2015.)

Gamrat was expelled from the state House the same day Courser resigned, becoming the fourth lawmaker to be kicked out. She filed to run again for her old House of Representatives seat on Thursday.

During an interview with CNN on Friday, Courser said his wife told him to run because people haven’t had a chance to hear about the good things he’s done

“I think the voters should be able to weigh in. I don’t think the legislators who have a political ax to grind can get together and decide they want to get rid of a member who’s been a problem for them. I was a rep without a home really in the Republican caucus, I stood against them on their progressive actions,” Courser said on CNN.

Courser also spoke with 24 Hour News 8 over the phone Friday following his interview on CNN about why he wants to run again.

“I think this is just a referendum on me and the work that I’ve done and people will be able to look at that and make a decision for themselves…whether the media hype and the way that the House leadership acted was a political hit or was it justified to hold state representatives hostage for 14 hours,” Courser said.

He also added that his wife and children all told him running again “is the right step.”

When asked about whether or not he thinks he can win, Courser replied, “Absolutely.”

Lawmakers have asked the Michigan State Police to open a criminal investigation into Courser and Gamrat’s misuse of taxpayer money.

A primary election for the two vacated seats will be held on Nov. 3. There are at least five other candidates challenging Gamrat.

Courser and Gamrat’s affair became public knowledge in early August after The Detroit News obtained a secret recording of Courser outlining a bizarre plan to send an email falsely alleging he had sex with a male prostitute. The lie seemed to be meant to district from the actual affair with Gamrat.

An investigation by the House Business Office called the plot unethical and said it showed that Courser had a “callous lack of respect” for his constituents.

Courser says he sent the email to throw off blackmailers who were threatening to expose the affair if he didn’t resign. Police are investigating the blackmail allegations.

The House Business Office investigation also found that both Courser and Gamrat misused state resources, abused their offices and broke House rules in trying to hide the affair and for their own political advantage.

State police and the attorney general are investigating whether any criminal activity took place on Gamrat or Courser’s part.



Full House Business Office investigative file (PDF)

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