ENG: Thaddeus George "Thad" McCotter (born August 22, 1965) is a former U.S. Representative from Michigan's 11th congressional district, serving from 2003 to 2012. He is a member of the Republican Party. The district includes portions of Detroit's northwestern suburbs, such as Livonia, Westland and Novi.
From July 2 to September 21, 2011, he was a candidate for the Republican nomination for president in the 2012 election. After quitting his presidential campaign he decided to run again for his seat in Congress, but he failed to qualify for the 2012 Republican primary in his congressional district after massive fraud resulted in the rejection of approximately 85% of his petition signatures as invalid. He briefly mounted a write-in bid in the primary, and on June 2, 2012, announced he would retire from the House at the end of his current term.
On July 6, 2012, McCotter announced his immediate resignation from Congress.
Early life, education, and career
McCotter was born in Detroit, Michigan and graduated from Detroit Catholic Central High School, Redford in 1983. His mother, Georgia Joan McCotter, was the City Clerk of Livonia. He received a B.A. from the University of Detroit in 1987 and a J.D. from the same school in 1990.
McCotter had a private law practice before being elected to the Wayne County Commission in 1992.
While on the Commission, he worked to change the county charter to require that new taxes require the approval of two-thirds of the Commission and 60% of voters.
McCotter was elected to the Michigan State Senate in 1998. As a State Senator, he helped apportion the U.S. Congressional district from which he was subsequently elected in 2002.
U.S. House of Representatives - Committee assignments
- Committee on Financial Services
- Subcommittee on Capital Markets, Insurance, and Government-Sponsored Enterprises
- Subcommittee on Financial Institutions and Consumer Credit
- Subcommittee on International Monetary Policy and Trade
Party leadership and caucus memberships
- Congressional COPD Caucus
- House Sovereignty Caucus (Co-Founder)
- International Conservation Caucus
- Sportsmen's Caucus
Shortly before the midterm elections in November 2006, McCotter made a $250,000 contribution to the National Republican Congressional Committee. After the elections, when the Republicans became the minority party in the House of Representatives, McCotter sought the Chairmanship of the House Republican Policy Committee.
The other Republican seeking the post was Congressman Darrell Issa of southern California. In late 2006, McCotter was selected by the House Republican Caucus to head the Republican Policy Committee.
McCotter is a member of both the moderate Republican Main Street Partnership and the conservative Republican Study Committee.
In May 2007, McCotter, along with 55 other Republicans, voted for a bill, written by House Democrats, aimed at stopping energy price gouging. This was done against the wishes of House Minority Leader John Boehner, who labeled the bill "as pointless political pandering".
McCotter was an avid supporter of the United States' involvement in both the War in Afghanistan and the Iraq War. In his 2011 book Seize Freedom!, he wrote that the two wars "were never separate wars; they have always been battle theaters in the War for Freedom."
On September 22, 2008, McCotter became the first Republican in the House of Representatives to oppose the $700 billion Paulson bailout plan, calling it "American socialism." A week later, he and 132 other Republicans voted against the bill.
At the end of July 2009 McCotter introduced a bill to allow pet owners a $3,500 tax deduction for pet care costs. The bill, called the Humanity and Pets Partnered Through the Years (HAPPY) Act, was criticized by Howard Gleckman of the Tax Policy Center as "the poster puppy for all that is wrong with the tax code."
McCotter supported a variety of union-friendly measures such as collective bargaining agreements for government jobs and card check.
McCotter was elected in November 2002 to the 108th Congress.
He was re-elected in the 2004 Congressional elections. McCotter did not have a primary opponent for the 2006 Republican primary. His opponent in the November 2006 general election was the Democrat Tony Trupiano, a progressive radio talk show host from Dearborn Heights. McCotter, Trupiano, Libertarian Party nominee John Tatar, and U.S. Taxpayers Party nominee Charles Tackett met for the only time for a recorded League of Women Voters public forum in mid-October. In radio and direct-mail advertisements, McCotter criticized Trupiano's position on illegal immigration. McCotter was re-elected with 55 percent of the vote.
In November 2008, McCotter defeated Democrat Joseph Larkin, Green Party candidate Erik Shelley, and Libertarian John Tatar. McCotter won 51 percent of the vote to Larkin's 45 percent. In November 2010, McCotter defeated Democrat Natalie Mosher. McCotter won 59 percent of the vote to Mosher's 39 percent.
Presidential campaign 2012
In May 2011, McCotter confirmed that he was considering a run for the Republican Party nomination for President of the United States in 2012. By late June, sources indicated that McCotter would enter the race. On June 23, 2011, a McCotter representative bid $18,000 for a site at the Ames Straw Poll Auction in Iowa. On July 1, 2011, McCotter announced that he had filed with the Federal Election Commission (FEC) as a Republican candidate for President. On July 2, 2011, McCotter announced his candidacy at a rock music festival in Whitmore Lake, Michigan, outside of Detroit.
Throughout his campaign, many commentators suggested that McCotter's lack of recognition nationwide would hamper his chances of winning the nomination, and McCotter received less than one percent in opinion polls. On September 22, 2011, McCotter announced the end of his campaign for the presidential nomination, and said that his exclusion from presidential debates hindered his campaign. McCotter stated that he would endorse Mitt Romney. McCotter called his termination of his presidential campaign "death by media" and stated he might run again for his 11th congressional district in 2012.
2012 Congressional campaign
In April 2011, McCotter was the only member of Michigan's 15-member congressional delegation who did not confirm he was running for re-election. He indicated interest in running against incumbent Democratic Senator Debbie Stabenow, for the U.S. Senate seat in Michigan for the 2012 election, but in May 2011, he announced that he would not campaign for the position. After ending his bid for President, McCotter announced that he would seek relection to his congressional seat.
On May 25, 2012, Michigan Secretary of State Ruth Johnson announced that McCotter had failed to submit enough valid petition signatures to qualify for the August 7 primary ballot. Although McCotter had submitted 2,000 signatures, the maximum permitted by Michigan law for congressional primaries, a preliminary review indicated that fewer than the required minimum of 1,000 were valid. According to a spokeswoman with the Secretary of State's office, several of McCotter's petition signatures appeared to be duplicates. Michigan election law stipulates that if duplicates are found, both the original and duplicate are ruled invalid. McCotter had the option of running as a write-in candidate in the primary election or as an independent in the general election if he failed to qualify for a primary ballot spot. At the time the apparent fraud was uncovered, McCotter was on a congressional trip to Taiwan.
On May 26, a source within the McCotter campaign told the Detroit Free Press that McCotter conceded that the signatures would be ruled invalid, and that McCotter was considering a write-in effort for the Republican primary. McCotter confirmed this to Nolan Finley of The Detroit News, and added that he did not understand what happened with the signatures on the petitions.
In an op-ed that ran in the May 29, 2012 Detroit News, McCotter announced he would mount a write-in campaign in the Republican primary for his seat. He also acknowledged that the signatures in question were indeed invalid, based on his own legal team's review. Likening himself to George Bailey in It's a Wonderful Life, McCotter said that he was running a write-in campaign to "clean up my own mess." Later that day, state officials announced in two separate reviews that more than 85 percent of McCotter's petition signatures were invalid. The Secretary of State's office said its review revealed only 244 of 2,000 signatures were valid. Numerous petition sheets appeared to have been copied--in some cases, as many as three times--and in some cases a different canvasser's name was attached to one of the copies. Michigan elections director Chris Thomas conducted his own review, and said there was evidence signatures from 2010 petitions had been cut-and-pasted onto the 2012 sheets. Thomas also said that McCotter had only turned in 1,830 signatures, and all but 244 were invalid. His office's review revealed that dozens of petition sheets appeared to have been copied in what he described as an "unprecedented level" of fraud.
"Mr. McCotter was running for re-election in a race that didn't seem to be much of a contest, especially since he has carried the district since 2003. But his front-runner status quickly evaporated after 1,563 of the 1,830 signatures he turned in to get his name on the primary ballot were found to be fraudulent." http://thecaucus.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/07/06/mccotter-announces-he-is-retiring-from-congress-immediately
Late on May 27, the Secretary of State's office announced that it found the potential fraud egregious enough to ask state attorney general Bill Schuette to look into the matter. On June 2, McCotter announced that he was ending his bid for re-election and would leave the House at the end of his current term. In his statement, he said that he felt obligated to fulfill his duties in Congress and assist Schuette and Johnson in getting to the bottom of the petition fraud. These obligations, he said, made mounting a write-in bid for Congress impossible. "One can't clean up a mess multitasking," he said. McCotter was the first sitting congressman since the late 1940s not to qualify for his party's primary.
A month later, on July 5, The Detroit News reported that McCotter had spent much of the time since his presidential campaign failed writing a television pilot script for a comedy/variety show starring himself, to be called Bumper Sticker: Made on MoTown. It featured characters with the same nicknames he used for members of his staff and a guest appearance by conservative commentator S.E. Cupp. "They take pot shots about McCotter's ill-fated bid for the White House while spewing banter about drinking, sex, race, flatulence, puking and women's anatomy," the newspaper wrote.
The staffer who provided the News with a copy of the teleplay said McCotter had focused on writing the script at the expense of serving his constituents. McCotter said he had only written it at home, in his garage, and it was just a way of dealing with the failure of his presidential run. He said it was inspired by the Martin Mull series Fernwood 2 Night and called it "cathartic ... deliberately designed to be a train wreck." He had hoped that a conservative media production company might pick it up after he left Congress.
On July 6, 2012, McCotter resigned from the House. He issued a statement that said in part:
[T]his past nightmarish month and a half have, for the first time, severed the necessary harmony between the needs of my constituency and of my family. As this harmony is required to serve, its absence requires I leave. The recent event's totality of calumnies, indignities and deceits have weighed most heavily upon my family. Thus, acutely aware one cannot rebuild their hearth of home amongst the ruins of their U.S. House office, for the sake of my loved ones I must "strike another match, go start anew" by embracing the promotion back from public servant to sovereign citizen.
He said he would "continue to assist, in any way they see fit, the Michigan Attorney General's earnest and thorough investigation, which I requested, into the 2012 petition filing."
McCotter is a practicing Catholic. He is married to the former Rita Michel, a nurse. They have three children.
McCotter was once in a band called the New Flying Squirrels.
In December 2005, McCotter joined with several other Congressmen to form the "Second Amendments," a bipartisan rock and country band set to play for United States troops stationed overseas over the holiday season. He plays lead guitar. In June 2006, the band played for President Bush's Picnic on the White House lawn, where Bush was quoted calling McCotter "that rock and roll dude."