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Just hours before the Michigan Secretary of State revealed that only 244 of his 2,000 petition signatures were valid, Thad McCotter waved the white flag.  In an op-ed that ran in today's Detroit News, the five-term Republican from MI-11 announced he will run a write-in campaign in the Republican primary for his seat.

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. Then, as is customary in my campaigns, the petitions' 2,000 signatures were submitted to the Secretary of State's Office at the end of the legal filing period.

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."

Having promised people I would seek another term in the United States Congress and, thereby, give them the chance to vote for or against me, the only way to clean up my mess is to run a write-in campaign for the Republican nomination for Michigan's 11th Congressional District.

This I'm doing.

Um, Thad?  If you really want to clean up your own mess, why don't you acknowledge that you failed to exercise the most basic oversight over the canvassing process?  One would think that at some point in the game, you'd have been in contact with your team to make sure all the i's were dotted and all the t's crossed.  But it's obvious you weren't.

McCotter himself sent a letter asking the Secretary of State to have the Board of Canvassers throw out the invalid signatures. With this move, McCotter officially becomes the first sitting congressman since the late 1940s to not qualify for his own party's primary.  To put this in perspective, this is a seat McCotter pretty much drew for himself while he was in the state senate, and by all accounts was nicely shored up for him by his buddies in the state legislature (though Obama still would have won it with 50 percent of the vote; Obama carried the old MI-11 with 54 percent).  Throw in the fact that more than 88 percent of his signatures got tossed, and this is embarrassment on an unprecedented scale.

Earlier today, McCotter was a guest on Frank Beckmann's show on WJR, and suggested that one of his staffers may be responsible for this snafu.

"At some point, for something like this to happen, I do feel like someone … lied to me," he said on the show.

McCotter told Beckmann it's possible someone was plotting against him, but more likely it was someone making an error while trying to help the campaign. He filed the petitions under the belief all signatures were valid.

Considering that several signatures from 2010 appeared to have been cut-and-pasted onto the 2012 forms, it's awfully hard to believe this was just an error.  Whatever the case, it looks like at least one seat that could potentially go down as being flat-out given away.
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