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Elections 101: Ten facts about Thaddeus McCotter and his run for president

Thaddeus McCotter, the GOP’s surprise dark horse, is stirring up the race. The five-term Michigan congressman declared his candidacy for president on July 2 in his home state.

A Beatles-loving, guitar-playing son of the heartland, Representative McCotter has strong conservative credentials and populist appeal. But there’s a problem. Thaddeus who?

Rep. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., and Rep. Thaddeus McCotter, R-Mich., during a 2009 news conference on health care reform.
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1. Who is Thaddeus McCotter?

A lifelong Michigander born in Detroit to public school teacher parents, McCotter enjoyed a solidly middle-class, heartland upbringing. A high school football star, he finished first in his class at the University of Detroit, then went on to earn a law degree. He was elected to the Michigan state Senate in 1998. In 2003, he became the representative for Michigan’s 11th district.

An eccentric Beatles-loving, joke-cracking guitar player who’s always surprising his colleagues (by quoting rock lyrics on the House floor, for example, or hanging a picture of John Lennon over his congressional office desk), McCotter plays lead guitar for the Second Amendments, a bipartisan rock band made up of House members that performs for US forces in Iraq and Afghanistan.

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