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Democrat says he can win in 11th Congressional District

syed taj.jpg
Taj for Congress

The Democrat who won Tuesday's primary in Michigan's 11th Congressional District says he thinks he can win - even though the district is considered a Republican stronghold.

Syed Taj is a doctor who lives in Canton.

He will run against Republican Kerry Bentivolio, a teacher, former National Guard member, and farmer who raises reindeer.  Bentivolio won by a wide margin with strong Tea Party support.

Syed says the 11th District isn't as Republican-dominated as people think, noting that Barack Obama won in the district in 2008, as did U.S. Senator Carl Levin, both Democrats.

Syed thinks he'll be able to appeal to both Republican and Democratic voters.

"This is a very, very, well-educated, professional, affluent district," note Syed, "who really do not really side with the ideas and teachings of what we call a Tea Party."

Syed supports the Affordable Care Act, or what detractors call Obamacare. 

He says it might take a little more education with Republican voters about that issue, but he thinks pointing out the popular aspects of the law could help -- such as provisions that allow parents to keep their children on their health insurance plans until age 26 - or prohibiting insurance companies from denying coverage to people with pre-existing conditions.

Syed's opponent, Kerry Bentivolio, says he will make repeal of the Affordable Care Act a top priority if elected.  Bentivolio says the law is the first step toward a European-style form of socialized medicine. 

The 11th District was represented by Republican Thaddeus McCotter - who withdrew after his campaign failed to submit enough valid signatures to get him on the primary ballot. 

Tracy Samilton covers energy and transportation, including the auto industry and the business response to climate change for Michigan Radio. She began her career at Michigan Radio as an intern, where she was promptly “bitten by the radio bug,” and never recovered.