It turns out that Thad McCotter’s problems with turning in enough legitimate petition signatures to get his name on the ballot for reelection actually began in 2008. Practical Political Consulting, owned by Mark Grebner, had copies of all the petitions going back to his first run for office and they’ve released them to the media. Looks like he should never have gotten on the ballot in 2010 and maybe in 2008 as well:
In 2010, Mr. McCotter’s campaign claimed it submitted the maximum 2,000 petition signatures allowed. But rampant copying of petition signature pages showed at least 35 petition pages were copies.
Under state law, all pages that contain the same signatures are disqualified, and Gongwer counted at least 1,075 signatures that should have been invalidated by the Department of State’s Bureau of Elections in 2010. Gongwer reviewed about 75 percent of Mr. McCotter’s 2010 petitions when it hit the 1,075 number.
Additionally, Mr. McCotter’s status for the 2008 ballot appears borderline at best. Gongwer found more than 900 signatures that could have been invalidated as a result of the apparent copying of petition signatures from a previous campaign and pasting them onto petitions for 2008. His campaign in 2008 also claimed to have submitted 2,000 signatures, so he was running close to the 1,000 minimum and Gongwer did not review those petitions for duplicates.
So this has been going on a long time. It’s still very unlikely that McCotter knew about this; in fact, it makes it even less likely because he had the same staffers on that task and had never had a problem with it in previous years. The question is, why wasn’t this caught before by the Bureau of Elections? I’m pretty sure it’s the same person running that agency, Christopher Thomas, as it has been for the past several years.
What makes this all the weirder is that it’s completely unnecessary. McCotter won reelection easily every two years. Finding 2000 people to sign a valid petition every two years would have been very easy to do and should have been nothing but a routine task for the staff.