Rep. Thaddeus McCotter (R-Mich.) will enter the 2012 White House race on Saturday, becoming the third sitting House member this year to seek the GOP’s presidential nomination.
McCotter, 45, who represents Detroit’s northwestern suburbs and won election to a fifth term last November, is a longshot at best for the GOP nomination. He has barely registered in national polls, and at last month’s Republican Leadership Conference straw poll in New Orleans, McCotter came in last place, receiving only two votes out of more than 1,500 cast.
Compared with the other two House members who running for president – GOP Reps. Michele Bachmann (Minn.) and Ron Paul (Texas) – McCotter lacks a national profile. He had been considering a U.S. Senate run against Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), but in May decided against it. In Congress, he is known more for his love of rock-and-roll – he is one-fifth of the bipartisan rock band “Second Amendments” -- and for his quirky sense of humor than for being a political heavyweight.
Still, McCotter, who has been gearing up for a presidential bid for months, has said he is joining the race in part because he feels voters are dissatisfied with the current field of candidates.
“In past elections, Mitt Romney would have been our heir apparent,” he told Radio Iowa earlier this week during a four-day swing in the state. “Republicans like to follow the tail on front of them with their trunks. ... For whatever reason, he has not been able to inspire the electorate. I think that he is, in many ways, trying to play it safe, believing that he’ll be the presumptive nominee and that becomes a very iffy proposition for those that are that presumptuous.”
McCotter was born in Detroit and served in the Michigan state Senate before being elected to Congress in 2002. He and his wife, Rita, a registered nurse, have three young children.
His campaign Web site tells visitors that “Your American Dream is endangered” and urges them to “Seize Freedom”! On the site, he lists the five “core principles” of his campaign, including, “Our prosperity is from the private sector, not the public sector.”
McCotter has hired former Iowa state House speaker Chris Rants as an adviser. Late last week he caused something of a scene at the Ames Straw Poll land auction, where the GOP presidential contenders’ campaigns can bid for spots in the August contest.
McCotter’s camp ended up being the second-highest bidder, spending $18,000 for a well-positioned lot at the straw poll, but a staff member caused controversy when she attempted to bid on the lot while refusing to disclose the candidate’s name.