# Thad McCotter

Weekend open thread: The importance of the basics

What’s on your mind this weekend, Bleeding Heartland readers? My favorite story of the past week is the possible discovery of the Higgs particle, which would be a huge advance for physics.

Also on my radar: the embarrassing end of Representative Thad McCotter’s political career. The onetime presidential candidate (noticed by few Iowans besides former House Speaker Chris Rants) resigned from Congress. His days as a legislator were numbered anyway, because of his failure to accomplish one of the most basic campaign tasks: collecting enough signatures to qualify for the primary ballot.

Clips are after the jump. This is an open thread.

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Republican presidential debate discussion thread

Nine Republican presidential candidates are debating in Orlando tonight at an event sponsored by Google, Fox News and the Florida Republican Party. Former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson will be on stage along with the eight candidates who participated in two debates earlier this month. I don’t know what they’ll tell us tonight that we didn’t hear at the Reagan Library or at the CNN/Tea Party Express debate, but I’ll update this post later with highlights.

Meanwhile, use this thread for any comments about tonight’s debate or the presidential campaign in general. Representative Thad McCotter, who has been excluded from all televised debates so far, announced today that he’s out of the race. He will back former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney. Few people besides former Iowa House Speaker Chris Rants will notice McCotter’s absence.

Latham votes yes, but House rejects government funding resolution

Less than 10 days before the current fiscal year ends, Congress has not approved any appropriations bills for fiscal year 2012. Yet again, continuing funding resolutions are needed to prevent the federal government from shutting down after September 30. Yesterday Representative Tom Latham was the only Iowan to vote yes as the U.S. House failed to approve a continuing resolution backed by Republican leaders.

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Ames straw poll news and discussion thread

The Republican Party of Iowa gets its first bite at the apple today, raking in money at the Ames straw poll event. Six presidential candidates who paid for space at the venue will speak to the crowd, along with five GOP elected officials and state party chairman Matt Strawn. I’ve posted the speaking schedule below and will update this post throughout the day.

Nine candidates will appear on the straw poll ballot: the eight who debated Thursday night plus Representative Thad McCotter of Michigan. Voting closes at 4 pm, but it may take Iowa Secretary of State Matt Schultz a long time to tabulate results because of the large number of expected write-ins. Speaking of Schultz, I noticed on the Secretary of State’s website yesterday that he has put out only one press release since his embarrassing smackdown of former Utah Governor Jon Huntsman two months ago. The Iowa Ethics and Campaign Disclosure Board dismissed an ethics complaint that the Iowa Democratic Party filed regarding that press release.

Any comments about the spectacle are welcome in this thread, especially first-person accounts from Bleeding Heartland users who are in Ames today.

Which candidates, if any, will receive fewer votes than write-ins Sarah Palin, Texas Governor Rick Perry or “Rick Parry,” the name Stephen Colbert’s Super PAC is pushing? I expect McCotter will have a tough day. Don’t know who is supporting him besides former Iowa House Speaker Chris Rants, and he doesn’t have a huge following in the Iowa GOP anymore, to put it mildly. When McCotter bid for space at the straw poll, he probably wasn’t expecting to be left out of the Fox News debate. That plus the lack of time and money he’s spent in Iowa puts him at a big disadvantage.

If former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty does better than expected in the straw poll, he will owe thanks to a couple of outside groups. The American Petroleum Institute’s Iowa Energy Forum and Strong America Now both have organizational ties to the Pawlenty campaign. Jennifer Jacobs of the Des Moines Register discussed those connections and the outside groups’ work in greater detail here. Four years ago, Mike Huckabee’s Ames straw poll effort got a huge assist from Americans for Fair Taxation, helping Huckabee finish a close second to Mitt Romney.

UPDATE: News from the day is after the jump.

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Iowa GOP/Fox debate discussion thread

Eight Republican candidates take the stage this evening in Ames for a debate co-hosted by Fox “News” and the Republican Party of Iowa: Representative Michele Bachmann, former Godfather’s Pizza CEO Herman Cain, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, former Utah Governor Jon Huntsman, Representative Ron Paul, former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty, former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, and former U.S. Senator Rick Santorum.

Several Republicans who have launched presidential campaigns weren’t invited to the debate, including former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson, longtime GOP activist Fred Karger (the first openly gay Republican presidential candidate), and Representative Thad McCotter. Fox made that call because those candidates didn’t receive an average of 1 percent support in five national polls. It’s an especially tough break for McCotter, who might have assumed automatic entry to the debate after paying for space at Saturday’s straw poll event. He will be on the straw poll ballot, along with the eight candidates debating tonight.

Former Texas Governor Rick Perry isn’t in Ames because he hasn’t officially declared his candidacy. Perry will try to bigfoot the straw poll by making his intentions clear on Saturday in South Carolina.

I’ll update this post later. Meanwhile, comments about the debate or the GOP presidential race are welcome in this thread.

UPDATE: Thoughts about the debate are after the jump.

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Iowa State Fair tips and soapbox schedule

The oppressive summer heat broke in time for today’s opening of the Iowa State Fair. I’ve posted some of my tips for enjoying the fair below, along with the schedule for this week at the Des Moines Register’s “soapbox.” Ten Republican presidential candidates (including one I’d never heard of) are speaking, along with Democratic National Committee Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz.

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Iowa GOP finalizes Ames straw poll ballot

Nine declared presidential candidates made the cut when the Republican Party of Iowa’s State Central Committee decided today who would appear on the ballot for the August 13 Ames straw poll. Those candidates are Representatives Michele Bachmann, Thaddeus McCotter, and Ron Paul, former Godfather’s Pizza CEO Herman Cain, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, former Utah Governor Jon Huntsman, former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty, former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney and former U.S. Senator Rick Santorum. There will be a write-in line for attendees who want to express their support for someone else.

Central committee members were evenly split over whether former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin and Texas Governor Rick Perry’s names should also be listed on the straw poll ballot. Iowa GOP Chairman Matt Strawn cast the tie-breaking vote for not including them. O.Kay Henderson posted a good write-up of the debate during the committee meeting.  

Only six candidates (Paul, Bachmann, McCotter, Santorum, Cain and Pawlenty) paid for tent space outside the straw poll venue. A 527 group called Americans for Perry was not allowed to rent space for the event, according to the group’s executive director, Craig Schoenfeld. He was one of the Gingrich staffers who quit as a group in early June.

UPDATE: Forgot to mention that three declared GOP presidential candidates will not appear on the Ames straw poll ballot. Longtime campaign operative and gay rights advocate Fred Karger officially launched his campaign in March. Former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson joined the race in April. Former Louisiana Governor Buddy Roemer announced his candidacy this past week.

SECOND UPDATE: Iowa GOP State Central Committee member David Chung described what happened at Saturday’s meeting here. I agree with him that investing in the straw poll would have been a good investment for Karger. (He would have received more attention in Ames than he did by running a few television ads here last November.)  However, I can also understand why Karger wouldn’t want to spend $15,000 in campaign funds on a donation to the Iowa GOP after the way RNC member Steve Scheffler has communicated with him and excluded him. Chung suggested that the committee should have adopted criteria for inclusion on the ballot instead of a list of names. He added,

So, why did Johnson and Roemer not make the cut? The real reason is that no one in the room felt passionately enough that they should be on the ballot to suggest it. My sense is had someone suggested adding them, the SCC would have done it.

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Ames straw poll bidding and other GOP presidential campaign news

Six candidates joined the bidding yesterday as the Republican Party of Iowa auctioned off space for the Ames straw poll event. Representative Ron Paul ponied up $31,000 for the best spot to pitch a tent outside the August 13 festivities. Four years ago, front-runner Mitt Romney used that spot, but the well-financed Romney is ditching this year’s straw poll.

The other candidates to pay at least $15,000 for guaranteed spots at the venue and on the straw poll ballot were Representative Michele Bachmann, former Godfather’s Pizza CEO Herman Cain, former U.S. Senator Rick Santorum, former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty, and (coming way out of right field) Representative Thad McCotter of Michigan. Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich was conspicuously absent from the bidding. Candidates who didn’t bid yesterday may secure a spot on the straw poll ballot later. Among the possibilities: Texas Governor Rick Perry.

Follow me after the jump for more on the Republican campaign trail in Iowa, including new endorsements and Pawlenty’s first television commercial.

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