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Michigan Republican McCotter quits Congress

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Rep. Thad McCotter, one of Congress's quirkiest members, resigned his seat Friday evening, closing out a dismal chapter that had seen him go from one-time, long-shot presidential hopeful to lame-duck congressman who couldn't even file enough valid signatures to run for re-election.

"Strike another match, go start anew," said Mr. McCotter, a Michigan Republican, in a statement signing off after nearly five terms in the House.

Mr. McCotter, who just a few years ago was a member of House Republicans' elected leadership and then last year mounted his ill-fated bid for president, said he leaves having no other job prospect, but said the ups and downs of his recent political life have "severed the necessary harmony between the needs of my constituency and of my family."

"As this harmony is required to serve, its absence requires I leave," he said. "The recent event's totality of calumnies, indignities and deceits have weighed most heavily upon my family."

After ditching his presidential bid, Mr. McCotter was expected to have an easy time winning re-election to his House seat, but he didn't collect enough valid signatures to even qualify to run again in the Republican primary.

The petition he turned in was stacked with invalid names and the state attorney general is investigating — Mr. McCotter says as his own behest — to see if there was criminal wrongdoing. Local press reports said some of the signatures appeared to be photocopied.

Mr. McCotter at first had announced he would mount a write-in bid, then dropped that idea and said he'd finish out this term then retire. Friday's announcement marked yet another change-of-course for him.

This week the Detroit News reported Mr. McCotter had tried to write a TV show pilot. The News had obtained a copy of a script from a former staffer upset with what the employee saw as untoward behavior in office.

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