Expelled Rep. Cindy Gamrat eligible to re-run for old seat, says county clerk

Posted at 11:53 AM, Sep 21, 2015

ALLEGAN COUNTY, Mich. — Despite being expelled, former state Rep. Cindy Gamrat is eligible to run for her old seat in an upcoming special election, according to the county clerk in Allegan County.

County Clerk Joyce Watts tells FOX 17 she was informed by the director of the state's Bureau of Elections that after lengthy research, nothing could be found in the state's election laws barring Gamrat from running for a seat she'd just been expelled from earlier this month.

Gamratfiled the proper paperwork to run last week.

"It's not easy. None of this is easy," Gamrat told FOX 17. "It's been hard, but rarely anything worthwhile in life is easy, and so sometimes you have to be willing to do the hard thing."

The question of whether the embattled former representative is eligible to hold her seat will be something now left to the state House to answer, per guidelines in the state constitution.

"It's definitely an open question," Gideon D'Assandro, spokesperson for the House Speaker's Office told FOX 17. "There's no real direct precedent for this, we're still looking out our options to get a definitive answer."

Gamrat, R-Plainwell, was expelled earlier in September following accusations she'd engaged in misconduct and subsequently misused taxpayer resources to hide her affair with fellow freshman lawmaker Rep. Todd Courser, R-Lapeer.

Courser later resigned the same morning.

Gamrat now is one of nine candidates—eight Republicans and one Democrat— who've filed to run in the 80th District for the special primary election set for Nov. 3.

An investigation by The Michigan State Police and Attorney General Bill Schuette's office is still ongoing into both former lawmakers.

On Monday, Courser once again took to social media to question the 800-plus-page report which found he and Gamrat 'misused' their taxpayer-funded offices to cover up their affair engaging in actions that were 'deceptive' and 'deceitful', according to summary findings of a House Business Office investigation.

>> Read: Full 800+ page House Business Office Investigation report released

"What exactly is considered misusing taxpayer funds?" he wrote. "I was expelled because “the good ole boys” didn’t like how I challenged them and made them accountable for their actions. I didn’t attend their parties. I worked. No, I did not misuse any taxpayer money. If you insist on throwing stones, get the story straight."