Thad McCotter: Ames Straw Poll a Debut

Ames, Iowa—The Republican presidential hopeful who came in last at the Iowa “Straw Poll” here said to consider his appearance at Ames “a debut” and to keep an eye on his longest-shot candidacy for 2012.

“We got invites to speak to party organizations in four different counties,” five-term Rep. Thaddeus McCotter (R-Mich) told HUMAN EVENTS, shortly after he drew 35 votes in the straw poll won by Michele Bachmann, “So look at it as an introduction, a debut.  We’ll build a campaign as we go on.”

McCotter spoke to us after he had addressed what he called “the biggest audience I have ever spoken before” at the Iowa State Coliseum and between performances in which the rock-loving congressman played guitar with a group known as the “Screaming Leamurs” (“Leamurs is an extraction of monkey,” the group’s drummer explained).

As much a long-shot as the group considered McCotter, he nonetheless drew strong applause for his address, in which he called for recapitalizing banks that had failed America and hit hard at trade with Communist China.

Pointing out that he hits on themes “that Republicans have never heard about from the other candidates,” McCotter said that he will continue to hit hard at his themes of capitalism, dealing harshly with hostile countries abroad, and freedom.  In his words, it will be “like hearing a band for the second time and liking the music” for possible supporters.

In his five trips to the polls as congressman from the suburban Wayne County (Detroit) district he has represented since it was created in ’02, McCotter has had some closer-than-expected contests.  Some critics of the conservative lawmaker have said that surprising votes he has cast—notably a recent vote in favor of the Davis Bacon prevailing wage rules on government sites—are a response to the strong union presence in his district.

Will McCotter leave the House to focus on a presidential bid, we asked?

“Who knows?,” he replied, “Look, right now I’m focused on this race and I’m not thinking about what may or may not happen.  If I decided not to run, there will be crowded Republican field, no doubt about it.  We have until  May of next year, so I will know by then whether I will be the Republican nominee for President, so we’ll see what happens then.”