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Thad, you've got some 'Splainin' to do...
I was hoping to post a diary about the latest news on MI-11's problem child, 5-term incumbent Thad McCotter's jaw-droppingly stupid failure to manage to get onto the GOP primary ballot. Unfortunately, I don't have a MIRS account, so I'll have to settle for this headline, which just broke less than 1 1/2 hours ago:
Only 244 McCotter Signatures Not Duplicates -- 12:16 p.m.
Yes, that's right. The 5-term incumbent, in a solidly GOP district, couldn't manage to get even 25% of the valid signatures that he needs to get on the GOP primary ballot in August.

Now, considering that he had to get 1,000 valid signatures, turned in 2,000 and only 244 of those are "not duplicates" (which doesn't mean that they're valid, mind you, just that they weren't submitted twice), that goes WAY beyond any reasonable measure of "sloppiness" or simple negligence.

Even the Republican Secretary of State, Ruth Johnson, thinks something smells awfully fishy here, and has launched an investigation into possible fraud by McCotter's staff; the Michigan Democratic Party, smelling blood in the water, has issued a statement pretty much accusing them of such:

“Republicans seem to think they don’t have to play by the same rules or follow the law,” Michigan Democratic Party Chair Mark Brewer said. “First, it was Roy Schmidt and Speaker Jase Bolger conspiring to put a fake Democrat on the ballot in House District 76, which has led to a Michigan State Police investigation for perjury and election fraud. Now, McCotter’s campaign may be guilty of forging signatures just to ensure McCotter got on the ballot. This is no longer an isolated incident. This is a pattern of fraud and illegal activity in the Michigan Republican Party.”
UPDATE MORE DETAILS from the Detroit News:
Lansing— Rep. Thaddeus McCotter turned in 2,000 petition signatures to get on August primary ballot, but all except 244 have been deemed invalid because of rampant duplicated copies, the Michigan Secretary of State found.

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 Secretary of State's office has turned over its preliminary findings to the state Attorney General's office, which would take up a potential criminal investigation of violations of election law.

Holy Shit. How stupid (and lazy) would his staff have to be to fucking XEROX the petition forms?? Dear lord, they were too lazy to get off their asses and dig up 1,000 valid sigs in a solidly GOP district??

Thankfully, Dems in MI-11 have a solid candidate in Dr. Syed Taj, who was Chief of Medicine at Oakwood Hospital until he resigned in order to run for Congress. Show him some love, willya?

Meanwhile, PPP has just released a new POTUS poll, and it looks like, shocker, Obama's saving the U.S. auto industry and Romney's trashing of it are not going unnoticed here in the Wolverine state:

Obama safe in Michigan

Barack Obama won't have to worry too much about holding Michigan for the Democrats this fall- he leads Mitt Romney 53-39 there, a lead little changed from PPP's last poll of the state in February when his advantage was 54-38.

Romney just doesn't have much of a home field advantage in the state. Only 24% of voters consider him to be a Michigander to 65% who do not. And only 35% have a favorable opinion of him to 57% with a negative view.

It's not just Romney's unpopularity helping Obama in Michigan though. Obama's own approval rating is at a record high in our polling of the state with 53% of voters giving him good marks to 41% who disapprove, including a 50/43 standing with independents.

Update x2: OK, according to the Detroit Free Press, there were actually only 1,830 signatures submitted, which means that only 87% of them were thrown out, not 88%. Fixed the title for accuracy :)

A couple of noteworthy items:

“There are irregularities that need to be investigated,” McCotter said. “We relied on people who had done it before for us. But somebody did something that they shouldn’t have.”
Whoops. So, that means that either a) his staffers have been committing widespread election fraud all along (he's been in office for 10 years) and this is the first time that anyone has noticed (which I find difficult to believe, given the Red lean of the district and how easy it is to gather a measily 1,000 sigs out of 700,000 people), or it means that they did it correctly in the past and suddenly just decided to commit massive fraud and forgery this time in a district that was redrawn to be even MORE friendly towards their boss.

Now, it is interesting to note that his campaign didn't actually file their petitions until May 15...the last day they could do so...although oddly, it lists exactly 2,000 signatures being submitted, not 1,830.

UPDATE x3: The Detroit Free Press has some more choice tidbits this morning:

Photocopies of petitions, dates that were cut and pasted onto the petition forms and different-colored ink on identical petitions were just a few of the tactics used to try to fool state election officials into believing that U.S. Rep. Thaddeus McCotter had enough signatures to get on the Aug. 7 primary ballot.
"This wasn't anything that was an innocent mistake," Lansing political consultant Tom Shields said Tuesday. "It was purely an attempt to make up for a lack of signatures, which is politically criminal."

Or maybe just plain criminal. The state Attorney General's Office is investigating to determine whether any laws were broken.

The ploy was so clumsy that it was easily spotted.
Plus, some delicious irony thrown in for bonus points: His district was redrawn specifically to help make his seat safer, but...
McCotter has another disadvantage. Half of the newly drawn 11th Congressional District, which stretches from western Wayne County into Oakland County and includes the GOP strongholds of Birmingham and the Bloomfields, is new to him.
Ah, sweet, sweet schadenfreude...
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