Payne: McCotter McToast?

Posted by hpayne on May 29, 2012

Thad McCotter is toast.

That’s the word from one longtime Republican Party insider who says on condition of anonymity that McCotter’s “bizarre” inability to do his most basic electoral duty – get his name on the GOP primary ballot – calls into question whether he should be in charge of anything, much less a Congressional district. Combined with McCotter’s loose-cannon style (the notoriously aloof Livonia native has never been considered a team player by his party brothers) and the very real possibility that his campaign may be charged with fraud, Republicans are unlikely to return the five-term congressman to office this fall.

Michigan pundits are also ripping McCotter’s McFumble.

“It’s hard to imagine blundering on this cosmic a scale,” says Michigan political watcher Bill Ballenger who says the wheels have been coming off McCotter ever since he took up his guitar and thought he could outplay Mitt Romney for the GOP nomination last year. “Something’s wrong.”

“After all if you can’t count to 1,000, why in the heck should anybody send you back to Congress where they count higher than that everyday,” writes Tim Skubick at MLive.com. “Just what is the number of the national debt?”

McCotter may yet pull out a write-in win, but party insiders aren’t counting on it. They say the party is pursuing two other options: Get behind the only GOPer on the ballot, the relatively unknown Kerry Bentivolio – or get behind a better known candidate of the party’s choosing who would run as a write-in or as an Independent. Michigan law allows an Independent candidate with 3,000 signatures to file by July 19 – and names are already making the rounds, from Rocky Raszkowski to Mike Kowall.

Bentivolio is obviously in the catbird’s seat as the only GOPer on the ballot. The tea party favorite deserves the party’s consideration – especially as a four-time McCotter voter who had the foresight that something wasn’t right with his rep – and is not untested given his second place finish to Kowall for state Senate in 2010. He isalso running against two Democratic unknowns (one a LaRouchie) in a 55 percent-Republican district.

But nervous GOP big wigs will be weighing their options this weekend on Mackinac Island. Having failed Politics 101, McCotter is not popular in the party. “The real issue,” says Ballenger, “is whether the party drops everything to get him elected a write-in. I’m not hearing any great urge to pull his fat out of the fire.”

On the Frank Beckmann Show Tuesday, McCotter said you have to be and “idiot” to think that his quixotic presidential run was a distraction. After his disastrous ballot failure, “he needs to be careful about who he’s calling an idiot,” says my GOP insider.

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