U.S. Rep. Thaddeus McCotter (R-Livonia) will begin his write-in congressional campaign today to retain his seat in Michigan's 11th congressional district after failing to file the minimum number of valid signatures, the Detroit Free Press is reporting.
“It’s going to be very difficult,” McCotter told the Free Press today. “But the NRCC (National Republican Congressional Committee) supports it. The state party supports it and the people in the district support it.”
McCotter's campaign says it filed 1,830 signatures, but just 244 were valid, the report said. A congressional candidates must file at least 1,000 and not more than 2,000 signatures.
McCotter, who last year for the , said the discrepancy was due either to panic or sabotage.
"My gut tells me that we got lied to by someone we trusted," he told the Free Press.
In an op-ed to the Detroit News today, McCotter wrote that he agreed with the Secretary of State office's declaration that he was short on valid signatures after a May 25 statement indicated he was investigating the claims.
"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," he wrote.
According to the Free Press report, there were duplicate signatures among those filed, in which case both are ruled invalid, and some petition sheets had been photocopied and submitted.
All submitted pages must be original and not photocopied, the report said.
According to the report, the case has been sent to the state Attorney General's office to investigate whether there was fraud or other criminal activities involved in the gathering or submission of the signatures.
“The buck stops with me,” McCotter wrote in a statement on his campaign website. “That’s why I urge the continued investigation into the petitions. Everyone deserves to know what happened regarding this filing.”
Kerry Bentivolio, a former Milford teacher, will be the only GOP name on the ballot. Democrats and also will appear on the ballot for the 11th congressional district, the report said.
McCotter acknowledged in his Detroit News op-ed having a tough hill to climb as a write-in candidate.
"Yes, a write-in campaign is a difficult hill to climb but, as I am responsible for the hill, I will climb it to the utmost of my ability," he wrote.
For more on this report, read the report by the Detroit Free Press.
Editor's note: The Democrat from Canton running in the 11th Congressional District U.S. House of Representatives race is Dr. Syed Taj.