MILFORD, Mich. (AP) — Tea party favorite Kerry Bentivolio has won the Republican primary in Michigan for the U.S. House seat abandoned by former Rep. Thaddeus McCotter.

Bentivolio is a reindeer farmer from the Oakland County community of Milford who has never held elective office. He was the only Republican on Tuesday's ballot after McCotter failed to produce enough valid petition signatures to qualify. McCotter resigned last month.

Former state Sen. Nancy Cassis and Drexel Morton of Wayne County's Canton Township waged write-in campaigns after McCotter's candidacy imploded. Cassis had the backing of the most elected officials in Michigan's Republican-leaning 11th district, which includes Oakland and Wayne counties near Detroit.

Bentivolio was backed by several local tea party groups.