U.S. Rep. Thaddeus McCotter, R-Livonia, may not have turned in enough signatures to qualify for the Aug. 7 primary ballot.McCotter's problem, apparently, lies in the fact that a large portion of his signatures were, in reality, duplicates:
In a statement released earlier this evening, McCotter said he was informed by the Michigan Secretary of State offices that he hadn’t turned in enough valid signatures to get on the ballot. According to the SOS website, he turned in 2,000 signatures, the maximum allowable.
“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,” McCotter said in a statement released about 8:30 p.m. Friday. “Out of respect for Memorial Day, an announcement of our findings will be made public on Tuesday.”
Gisgie Gendreau, spokeswoman for the Secretary of State, said that one of the problems with the signatures was duplicate signatures. When the SOS finds duplicates, both signatures are bounced from the petitions.So what now? Assuming the Board of Canvassers bounces McCotter off the primary ballot, does he have any recourse? The likeliest option at this point appears to be a write-in candidacy for the primary ballot, which Michigan law allows. (More information on this process is available here.) If this is the path McCotter takes, he'll be facing off against a guy who's actually on the ballot: Tea Partier Kerry Bentivolio, a man who—get this—is a veteran who served in Vietnam, Desert Storm, and Iraq.
"He can make his case to the Board of Canvassers," Gendreau said. "They still have to vote to certify the signatures."
The board is expected to meet the first week of June, although a firm date hasn't been set.
Bentivolio hasn't raised much money for his campaign so far (just $4K!), but he did loan his campaign $57,000 of his own funds. Bentivolio's political resume is pretty thin, with his latest experience being a loss in a 2010 state senate primary (he finished in 2nd place behind frontrunner Mike Kowall in a six-way field with 16 percent of the vote). One thing working in McCotter's favor is the late date of the primary (Aug. 7), so he would have a lot of time to raise awareness for his potential write-in candidacy.
If McCotter can't make it back onto the ballot, this seat is theoretically up for grabs. Republicans tried hard to shore up the 11th Congressional District for McCotter in their latest round of redistricting, but it's a district that still voted for Obama by a 50-48 margin in 2008 (down from 54-45 under the old lines).
Fortunately, Democrats have a pretty respectable candidate filed for this race already in Syed Taj, a Canton Township trustee and former chief of medicine of a local hospital. Taj has raised $200K for his campaign so far, and I'm sure more resources will be made available to him now that McCotter has put himself in the jackpot. (Oh, and there's another "choice" in the Democratic primary: Lyndon LaRouche disciple Bill Roberts, a man whose top item on his website reads "Dumping Obama is the Key to Avoiding War".)
Needless to say, we'll be closely following the developments in this district. At the very least, this is a very embarrassing episode for ol' Thaddeus.