U.S. Congressman Thad McCotter aborts write-in campaign

Monday, June 4, 2012

U.S. Representative Thaddeus McCotter of Livonia, Michigan decided Saturday not to wage a write-in campaign to seek the Republican Party nomination for his seat, despite a contrary announcement last week. McCotter admitted that he could not oversee such a campaign while simultaneously serving in Congress and assisting with a state investigation into his failed ballot petition.

Official congressional photo of Thaddeus McCotter.
Image: United States Congress.

McCotter, who has represented Michigan's 11th congressional district since 2003, made history when he became the first sitting congressman in modern times to be denied a spot on his party's district primary ballot. This occurred after his campaign submitted a petition that fell short of the required 1,000 valid signatures.

Though the submission listed 2,000 signatures, the Michigan Secretary of State deemed only 244 to be valid. The Detroit News's review of the submission noted duplicate signatures, evidence of photocopying, and signatures seemingly cut and pasted from previous sources. McCotter speculated, "somebody either panicked or it was sabotage...My gut tells me that we got lied to by someone we trusted."

Afterwards, McCotter wrote an op-ed for The Detroit News announcing the formation of a write-in campaign and taking responsibility for the failed petition, arguing "you clean up your own mess." Now, citing other responsibilities, he countered his previous point in that "one can’t clean up a mess multitasking." He now wishes to identify "the person or persons who concocted the fraudulent petitions that have cost me so dearly." The decision effectively ends his career in Congress for now.

The development comes as former State Senator Loren Bennett announced Friday that he would mount a write-in campaign for the seat's Republican nomination. He challenges teacher Kerry Bentivolio, who will be the only candidate listed on the August 7 primary ballot. Others are expected to announce write-in campaigns before the filing deadline on July 27.

Though the district is considered safe for Republicans, the turn of events may work to the benefit of Democrats. Canton Township trustee Syed Taj and LaRouche movement activist William Roberts are the only candidates listed for the district's Democratic primary.

McCotter, who briefly sought the 2012 Republican presidential nomination, won re-election in 2010, 58 percent to 39 percent over his Democratic challenger.

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