U.S. Rep Thaddeus McCotter (R- Livonia) will run in the August primary as a write-in candidate after the state found he did not have enough signature to be on the ballot. McCotter is seeking a sixth term in Congress. His campaign delivered 2,000 signatures, but more than half of them were found to be invalid. The Michigan Attorney General's office is investigating for potential election fraud.
Update 2:36 p.m.
The Detroit News reports all but 244 of the 2,000 signatures turned in by the McCotter campaign were invalid:
A review by The Detroit News of the petition signatures found full copies of a sheet of signatures that were photocopied once and in some cases two times and mixed in with the 136-page stack of signatures. In some cases, a different petition circulator's name was signed to the duplicate copy.
The overt copying is "frankly unheard of," said Chris Thomas, Michigan's director of elections, as he thumbed through the stack of petitions. "It's amazing when you sit and look, and it starts to dwell on you what they've done."
The Michigan Information & Research Service tweeted that prospective write-in candidate, David Trott, will not run against McCotter:
David Trott says he backs Thad #McCotter, won't run b/c the "timing is not right for me or my family."
Earlier today, the Detroit News wrote about the lone Republican left on the August primary ballot for Michigan's 11th Congressional District.
60-year-old Kerry Bentivolio a veteran and a "public school teacher who raises reindeer." He said he's running because he's angry about the federal government's excessive debt.
Since he became the only clear GOP candidate on the ballot, his head has been "spinning a little bit" with all the newfound attention. "I'm just an average guy that wanted to stand up and say this is not fair and this isn't right," said Bentivolio, who calls himself a strict conservative inspired by the tea party and liberty movements. With McCotter off the ballot, "the average guy gets a voice and gets a lucky break," he said. "I'm going to take advantage."
According to the Detroit News, U.S. Rep. Thaddeus McCotter says he thinks faulty petition signatures that will make him ineligible to qualify for an upcoming primary ballot were the result of deception by a trusted member of his staff.
From the News:
"At some point, for something like this to happen, I do feel like someone … lied to me," [McCotter] said on [WJR-AM's "The Frank Beckmann Show"]
McCotter told Beckmann it's possible someone was plotting against him, but more likely it was someone making an error while trying to help the campaign. He filed the petitions under the belief all signatures were valid.
MPRN's Rick Pluta reports the Michigan Secretary of State and the Attorney General’s office are investigating possible election fraud related to the McCotter petitions. The Secretary of State’s office says many of the petitions submitted by the McCotter campaign appear to be photocopies.
Republican Congressman Thaddeus McCotter says in a column in today's Detroit News that he will run as a write-in candidate in the August primary.
McCotter says his campaign's review of the signatures gathered to put him on the primary ballot for re-election confirms the state's finding that he did not have enough.
McCotter's campaign delivered 2,000 signatures so he could run again in the 11th district, but more than half of them were found to be invalid.
He says he will ask the Board of State Canvassers to refer the invalid signatures to the Attorney General's office for investigation.
In a press release this morning, McCotter said:
“I feel like George Bailey after Uncle Billy admitted he lost the money. Like George Bailey, knowing my misplaced trust has negatively impacted so many people is heartrending. Unlike George Bailey, I am not tempted to jump off a bridge.
"Instead, I remember my late father’s rule: 'You clean up your own mess.'
"Having promised people I would seek another term in the United States Congress and, thereby, give them the chance to vote for, or against me, the only way to clean up my mess is to run a write-in campaign for the Republican nomination for Michigan’s 11th Congressional District. This I’m doing.”
McCotter continued; “I may not have a guardian angel Clarence to help me but I have something better— the opportunity in our free society to make my appeal to the sovereign citizens of our district for their support as the best candidate to help restructure government for the 21st century; grow our economy; defend our security; and, crucially, elect Mitt Romney our next President.
"Yes, a write-in campaign is a difficult hill to climb but, as I am responsible for the hill, I will climb it to the utmost of my ability; and I am heartened to have the critical, early support of upstanding Republicans like my friend, David Trott, and so many others who make this write-in campaign possible. And we will win!”
Last Friday night (before the Memorial Day weekend), McCotter released this statement:
“I have been apprised my campaign may have submitted insufficient petition signatures to appear on the August primary ballot as a candidate for the 11th Congressional District's Republican nomination.
Fully respecting the accuracy and integrity of the Secretary of State's office, we will thoroughly review our petition signatures for their sufficiency or insufficiency.
Out of respect for Memorial Day, an announcement of our findings will be made public on Tuesday.”