As many of you know by now, well over 85 percent of the signatures--all but 244 out of 2,000 or 344 out of 1,830--on Thad McCotter's petitions were invalid. But buried in this story is something that could potentially be a story in itself. According to Michigan elections chief Chris Thomas, several of the signatures appeared to have been cut-and-pasted onto the forms--suggesting that they may have come from McCotter's 2010 forms.
This fact is reason enough to go back and investigate petition drives from McCotter's past campaigns, and it wouldn't be out of line to go all the way back to his first bid for the seat in 2002. But one thing is clear beyond all doubt. If a substantial number of signatures were indeed cut-and-pasted from past years in even one case, the only way for McCotter to clean up his own mess (as he put it) would be to resign.
If this indeed were to be the case, this isn't just a question of fraud. It would call McCotter's legitimacy into question. We should never have to doubt that our elected officials are in office legitimately. It would also make what is already an embarrassing situation even more so. It need not be stated enough--this fiasco happened in a district that McCotter drew for himself, and was shored up for him by his buddies in the state legislature in the last round of redistricting.
The closest parallel I can think of is the New Hampshire phone jamming scandal. When it became apparent that this skullduggery had kept enough Democrats from the polls that it cost Jeanne Shaheen victory over John Sununu, the honorable thing to do would have been for Sununu to resign. But he didn't. In this case, the evidence of fraud is even more clear cut--staggeringly so.
If McCotter has anything left in him, he will promise that if significant copies are found from past years, he will resign.