Five-term Michigan Rep. Thad McCotter, R-Livonia, issued a statement Saturday to announce he was ending his write-in campaign for the primary in August. He said he needed to focus on completing his current duties as well as aiding the state's investigation into allegations his campaign committed election fraud. McCotter's re-election campaign made headlines late last month after it was revealed by the Michigan Bureau of Elections that his petition to be placed on the ballot contained only 244 legitimate signatures out of the nearly 2,000 that were submitted.
* McCotter said he needed to focus on the "mess" that is the investigation into his campaign. He has denied any wrongdoing.
* He said last week he believed "somebody either panicked or it was sabotage," and "we got lied to by someone we trusted," the Detroit Free Press reported.
* He said his campaign used the same service for this year's re-election petitions as in past congressional races.
* McCotter apparently requested the state investigate the matter, a fact he reiterated in his statement.
* Attorney General Bill Schuette announced Thursday the state would launch an investigation, saying the state "will follow the facts, without fear or favor," and if fraud is found, his office "will not hesitate to prosecute," as quoted by MLive.
* McCotter campaign spokesman Randall Thompson told the Detroit News the congressman was opting not to continue a write-in campaign to keep his seat because doing so made him look like a suspect in the investigation instead of the victim of the alleged fraud. He also implied that quitting was a way to save face and spare his family.
* McCotter said in his statement that his decision is final. The Republican nomination looks likely to go to Kerry Bentivolio, a high school teacher and tea party supporter, although former state Sen. Loren Bennett has announced he will launch a write-in campaign to try to secure the nomination for the 11th district.
Vanessa Evans is a musician and freelance writer based in Michigan, with a lifelong interest in politics and public issues.
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- Thad McCotter