Rep. Thad McCotter, R-Mich., will have to run as a write-in candidate after submitting duplicate and potentially fraudulent signatures in his filing for re-election.
McCotter, who briefly sought the Republican presidential nomination, submitted only 244 legitimate signatures, according to a report by The Detroit News. The Michigan Secretary of State said that McCotter had turned in 2,000 signatures, 1,000 more than required by Michigan election law, but the overwhelming majority were simply copies of other signatures.
The Detroit News reported that many of the pages of signatures were duplicates of other pages, with different petitioners’ names signed to duplicate copies.
“It’s amazing when you sit and look, and it starts to dwell on you what they’ve done,” said Chris Thomas, Michigan’s director of Elections, told The Detroit News.
The office of Michigan Secretary of State Ruth Johnson has turned over its initial findings to Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette for investigation. Like McCotter, both Johnson and Schuette are Republicans.
McCotter appeared to blame his staff for the error. In a Detroit News op-ed, McCotter wrote, “Now I feel like George Bailey after Uncle Billy admitted he lost the money. Like George, knowing my misplaced trust has negatively impacted so many people is heartrending. Unlike George, I am not tempted to jump off a bridge. Instead, I remember my late father’s rule: ‘You clean up your own mess.’” Later, in a radio interview, McCotter indicated he believed he had been “lied to.”
This is not the first time a McCotter staffer has come under scrutiny. As Paul Canning reported for Care2 in April, McCotter staffer John M. Howting was recorded attempting a James O’Keefe-style sting on union organizers in New York.
McCotter has said he will not dispute the Secretary of State’s decision, and will mount a write-in campaign in the primary. He will have to defeat his one Republican challenger, Kerry Bentivolio, a former engineer and teacher. He also will have to meet a vote threshold based on the number of votes cast in the Senate primary, according to Michigan Live.
McCotter represents a district that includes parts of Wayne and Oakland counties in Michigan. The district leans Republican, but could be vulnerable. Roll Call has indicated that Democrats could take the seat with a strong challenger. Democrats seeking endorsement are Syed Taj, a doctor and immigrant from India, and Bill Roberts, who is running as a “LaRouche Democrat.”
Photo by Gage Skidmore
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