Iowa political scientist: ‘I think McCotter has the potential to shake the race up’
U.S. Rep. Thaddeus McCotter (R-Mich) will make a preliminary campaign stop in the Hawkeye State Monday, when he addresses the Clay County Republicans, and tries to get his name out as heavyweight rival, former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, also reaches out to voters the same day.
But to many Republicans in Iowa and throughout the nation, the question being asked is: Thaddeus who?
“I think McCotter has the potential to shake the race up a bit,” Hagle said. “McCotter initially strikes me as willing to take the fight directly to the other side in a serious and reasoned way. The word ‘blunt’ comes to mind.”
So does the word “unconventional.”
McCotter, little known outside his native Michigan, formally entered the 2012 presidential race July 2 during a conservative-leaning rock concert, then picked up his guitar — he plays in a band with other Congressional delegates who call themselves the Second Amendments, often performing for U.S. troops — and jammed with the band on stage.
A native of suburban Detroit, McCotter supported the auto bailout, a decision largely unpopular with some other Republicans and one that characterized McCotter as a “Republican in name only”, but the former lawyer has various memberships that may make him attractive to broad range of Republican voters, rather than just to specific sub-demographic in that group. He is a member of the federal lawmaker organization Republican Main Street Partnership, which includes members such as Maine’s Sens. Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe, both considered rather moderate Republicans.
The Catholic McCotter also has membership in the Republican Study Committee, which is the U.S. House’s conservative caucus and promotes social conservative views.
That, plus his frank views on political topics “might allow him to appeal to the folks who think that Pawlenty hasn’t been aggressive enough and the folks who still might not think [U.S. Rep. Michele] Bachmann (R-Minn) is serious enough,” Hagle said. “Something that those who wanted [New Jersey] Gov. [Chris] Christie to get into the race might appreciate.”
With the Ames Straw Poll just weeks away, McCotter will need to start earnest efforts to woo Iowa and the nation if he wants to be considered viable in the 2012 race, Hagle said. The Congressman is a virtual unknown on the national stage, and has not been making heavy movements in early states, including Iowa.
As well, an editorial from his hometown newspaper characterized McCotter’s White House as “scary,” adding the Congressman “comes off as cold, arrogant and egotistical…The Oakland Press likes to support native sons, but this is one sibling we think should just stay home here in Michigan and work on his people skills.”
The Washington Post also rated McCotter as least likely to win to Ames Straw Poll Aug. 13, with odds of 100 to 1. Bachmann’s odds are 3 to 1.
Hagle, however, said in a field of candidates yet to really capture the Republican Party or tea party movements, McCotter should not be discounted.
“Having invested in a lot at the straw poll, he will want to do well there or he’ll likely be written off,” Hagle speculated, adding, “The recent [Des Moines] Register poll suggested that a very large percentage of potential caucus-goers are still open to another candidate, so McCotter still has an opportunity to do well.”