NOVI, Michigan — Regardless of who wins the primary here tonight, Michigan Congressman and former presidential candidate Thaddeus McCotter — one of Mitt Romney's prominent local supporters — predicts "an arduous road ahead" for the GOP in his state come fall.
"I think the Democrats are well-positioned in the Midwest to be on the offensive against the Republicans," McCotter told BuzzFeed. "I don't know that any of the candidates have done what they need to do to get blue-collar voters."
McCotter, who dropped out of the race in September and endorsed Mitt Romney, has built his career as a labor-friendly Republican — an increasingly rare breed. He has long called on his party to reach out to union voters.
He dismissed the notion that Santorum was a stronger blue-collar candidate than Romney in Michigan, noting that both have avidly opposed the auto bailout.
"That's a crucial issue in Michigan," he said.
As for Santorum's eleventh-hour efforts to rally Democrats to vote for him in the state's open primary, McCotter said "no one should be surprised." He cited the state's quirky presidential primary history.
"We're the state that once nominated Jesse Jackson. We once went to George Wallace," he said, adding, "Michigan voters are very savvy, be they Republican or Democrat."
Asked whether he wished he was still in the race to compete in his home state's tumultuous primary, McCotter demurred.
"I don't have time for retrospections," he said. "I've got a job to do."
McKay Coppins is a senior writer for the BuzzFeed News politics team, and the author of The Wilderness, about the battle over the future of the Republican Party.
Contact McKay Coppins at email@example.com.
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