Elections
Republican presidential candidate, Rep. Thaddeus McCotter, R-Mich., waves to the audience after speaking during the Iowa Republican Party Republican presidential candidate, Rep. Thaddeus McCotter, R-Mich., waves to the audience after speaking during the Iowa Republican Party's Straw Poll, Saturday, Aug. 13, 2011, in Ames, Iowa. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)  

Rep. McCotter on write-in campaign: ‘I kind of feel like Ron Burgundy’

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Alex Pappas
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      Alex Pappas

      Alex Pappas is a Washington D.C.-based political reporter for The Daily Caller. He has also written for The Washington Examiner and the Mobile Press-Register. Pappas is a graduate of The University of the South in Sewanee, Tenn., where he was editor-in-chief of The Sewanee Purple. While in college, he did internships at NBC's Meet the Press and the White House. He grew up in Mobile, Ala., where he graduated from St. Paul's Episcopal School. He and his wife live on Capitol Hill.

Remember the betrayal felt by Will Ferrell’s character in the movie “Anchorman” when a colleague jeopardizes his job after inserting a cussword into his teleprompter script?

Republican Michigan Rep. Thaddeus McCotter says he can relate to that character’s pain.

“I kind of feel like Ron Burgundy after Veronica Corningstone changed the teleprompter tagline,” McCotter, known for his references to music and pop culture, said in an interview with The Daily Caller on Tuesday.

The five-term congressman — who made a brief run for the Republican nomination for president last year — found himself stunned on Friday after realizing his name won’t be allowed on the Republican ballot in his district, a contest he was likely to win.

The Michigan Secretary of State’s office informed him that there were problems with the petition signatures his campaign provided. He is now vowing to run as a write-in candidate.

In a phone conversation from Michigan, McCotter declined to theorize on what caused this to happen, but said, “At the end of the day, somewhere in the process, I was lied to by somebody that was trusted.”

“I don’t want to speculate, man,” McCotter continued. “And I’m just saying that, because it’s uncool. The buck stops here.”

Asked if he thinks there’s any chance he could’ve been the victim of some sort of sinister plot, McCotter said, “Anything’s possible. Somebody could have panicked and tried to help me. Somebody could have plotted and tried to hurt me. This is what the Secretary of State will try to find out.”

He made clear he doesn’t respect the opinions of those who blame his problems on his run for president. NBC’s Chuck Todd on Tuesday asked on Twitter, “Will McCotter join Bob Dornan who allowed longshot presidential ambitions cost him a house seat months later?”

Asked to respond, McCotter said, “Chuck Todd is an idiot then. Am I wrong? All right, Chuck, how did ending the campaign in September impact the gearing up to run for re-election where I would have had only that one opponent on the ballot? How did that affect my petition?”

“The people that think that are idiots. … The presidential race ended in September of 2011,” McCotter said. “The signature drive started in February of 2012… I don’t know how my presidential campaign affected what popped up in those petitions.”

Asked how he will make a write-in campaign work, he said, “you just add a component to a traditional campaign.”

“It becomes more intensive because of the extra step,” he said. “It becomes more expensive because of the extra step.”

“But the extra step also requires what I’ve always relied on. We will raise more money, obviously, to put out the word via mailings and things like that — radio — to let people know they have to take the extra step, because you’re not on the ballot.”

It’s a tough road ahead, but McCotter said, “If I didn’t think I could win, I wouldn’t ask people to participate in the effort.”

He said he has to win the Republican nomination as a write-in. “You don’t get a second bite at the apple if you don’t go through with the write-in,” he said.

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