A Michigan congressman who entered the presidential race in July says his candidacy suffered a sort of “death by media” and he has ended his campaign.
Thaddeus McCotter said during a Radio Iowa interview in late June that there was an “absence of pure enthusiasm” for the Republican candidates who were in the race at that time, and McCotter even put Rick Perry and Sarah Palin on the list of White House hopefuls who weren’t lighting a fire with the GOP faithful.
“I’m not saying that eventually if I get in that they’ll love me either,” McCotter said, about a week before he announced his candidacy. “But if you don’t ask, you’ll never know.”
McCotter spent $15,000 to buy party space and participate in the Iowa Republican Party’s Straw Poll in August and he came in dead last, with just 35 votes. McCotter spent much of his time at the Straw Poll in his party tent, playing guitar with a classic rock band.
During an interview today with The Detroit News, McCotter said his candidacy had been doomed because he was barred from the presidential candidate debate in Ames in August, right before the Straw Poll, as well as the three nationally televised debates this month, including the one this evening in Florida. McCotter told The Detroit News that if a candidate is kept out of the debates, the candidate can’t be part of the campaign conversation and dies a “sort of death by media.”
McCotter had enlisted former Iowa House Speaker Christopher Rants of Sioux City — a 2010 candidate for governor and a backer of Mitt Romney in 2008 — to work for the McCotter campaign. During his brief candidacy, McCotter accused Mitt Romney of being “less than inspiring” on the campaign trail.
“I think that he is, in many ways, trying to play it safe, believing that he’ll be the presumptive nominee,” McCotter said during an interview with Radio Iowa. “And that becomes a very iffy proposition for those that are that presumptuous.”
McCotter made that statement in late June. Now, nearly three months later, McCotter has dropped out of the race — and plans to back Romney’s bid for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination. McCotter told The Detroit News Romney was the “most electable” candidate in the race, given the state of the economy and Romney’s business background.
A Michigan state senator plans to challenge McCotter’s bid for reelection in 2012 in a Republican primary.