Thursday, June 7, 2012

The Strange Case of Thaddeus McCotter

Thaddeus McCotter has been a Congressman from Michigan for 10 years. The Republican was almost guaranteed reelection since reapportionment gives his District more Republicans than Democrats.

The 46 year old Congressman though has always been unconventional. He’s cool, a guitar player who loves to jam rather than raise campaign funds or engage in the usual party building, solidarity activities.

Congressman McCotter is so cool that he declared himself a candidate for the Republican nomination for President last year. He initially considered running against the Democratic Senator, Debbie Stabenow, but then aimed higher. He discovered in a couple of months why Representatives don’t get the traction of Senators in primary season. James A. Garfield in 1880 was the only Congressman directly elected to the Presidency, and he was assassinated after 6 months in office.

After listening to the Sound of Silence during the early primary season, he decided to run for reelection. Michigan’s qualifying rules for entering a primary, such as for reelection to Congress, are relatively simple; submit between 1,000 to 2,000 valid signatures on original petitions to be verified by the Secretary of State.

That should be a slam dunk for an established incumbent. The staff or county central committee should be able to obtain the requisite signatures in a nanosecond.

His campaign submitted 1,830 signatures, a sufficient margin of error under ordinary circumstances.

However, someone, still unnamed, goofed royally and perhaps criminally.

The Secretary of State threw out all but 244 signatures. The rest were duplicates, on photocopied – not original - petitions, or had dates changed, as if they had been lifted off earlier campaign petitions. The Attorney General’s Office is investigating for voter fraud. Four St. Joseph County Democratic officials in neighboring Indiana were indicted for election fraud last April. They forged signatures in the 2008 Democratic presidential primary to place Senators Obama and Clinton on the ballot.

The only Republican on the ballot is a teacher, who’s also a Tea Party enthusiast, raises reindeer, and plays Santa. The two Democrats on the ballot are a doctor and a Lyndon LaRouche Democrat who wants President Obama impeached.

The Republican primary will now have a number of write-in candidates. Congressman McCotter mulled a write-in campaign, and then announced this week that he would retire from Congress. The once rising star of the republican Party last Saturday said “one can’t clean up a mess multitasking.”

Has his political career been ended by negligence, sloth, or sabotage? Is the damage self-inflicted? Is he the victim of a conspiracy?

It's definitely a unique way to implode a campaign, not as sexy as Anthony Weiner, but more intriguing.

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