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Thad McCotter’s problems mount

at 02:02 PM ET, 05/29/2012

The Michigan attorney general’s office is preparing to look into potential election fraud within Michigan Republican Rep. Thaddeus McCotter’s campaign after large numbers of the signatures turned in by the campaign were ruled invalid.

“We will review information provided by the Secretary of State and determine whether additional action is warranted,” said a Joy Yearout, a spokeswoman for Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette.

McCotter, who briefly waged a long shot bid for the GOP presidential nomination last year, has failed to qualify for the ballot and announced Tuesday that he will wage a write-in campaign in the primary.
Republican presidential candidate Rep. Thaddeus McCotter (R-Mich.) speaks during a news conference on Capitol Hill on September 12, 2011, in Washington, D.C. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

At the root of that failure to qualify were more than a thousand invalid signatures. Just 244 of the more than 2,000 signatures submitted by McCotter’s campaign wound up being valid, according to the local CBS station and MIRS.

While campaigns will often have some signatures invalidated, the sheer number of signatures that were thrown out suggests that people who collected them may have engaged in fraud.

A Detroit News review of the signatures found some of the pages were photocopied once or twice and attached to the name of a different signature gatherer.

McCotter wrote a column Tuesday in the Detroit News saying he will press on with a write-in bid and urging the state attorney general’s office to investigate.

“In honoring my vow to put my official responsibilities before politics, I delegated the same team that gathered signatures for me during the past decade to do so again, and I had no reason to doubt the competence or credibility of our petition gatherers’ assessment,” McCotter said, adding: “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.’”(Give McCotter this: He’s retained his legendarily wry sense of humor.)

McCotter expounded on that column in an interview on “The Frank Beckmann Show” this morning in which he suggested that a staff member had lied to him.

“At some point, for something like this to happen, I do feel like someone … lied to me,” McCotter said, according to the Detroit News.

There is one candidate on the GOP primary ballot: teacher Kerry Bentivolio. But McCotter’s biggest obstacle to re-nomination may be his name, which may be tough for some voters to spell.

But in Michigan, the name need not be spelled correctly to count, as long as the voter’s intention is clear (as was the case when GOP Sen. Lisa Murkowski won reelection as a write-in last year).

While Murkowski was the first member of Congress in nearly 30 years to win a write-in campaign in the general election, there are more examples of candidates waging successful write-in campaigns in the primaries in recent years, including former congressman Charlie Wilson (D-Ohio), whose jingle will always live on in the Fix’s heart.

McCotter’s swing district became safer after redistricting last year, and the five-term incumbent has not been seriously challenged by Democrats in recent elections.

 
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