Michigan Congressman Thad McCotter Set to Launch Presidential Campaign Saturday

The longshot candidate plays guitar, takes a cerebral approach

July 1, 2011 -- Rep. Thaddeus McCotter will announce his candidacy for the Republican nomination for president Saturday at a local Independence Day celebration, multiple sources close to the Michigan Republican confirm to ABC News.

McCotter, a five-term representative from Livonia, will be the keynote speaker at the first annual WAAM Freedom Fest in Whitmore Lake, Mich., where at approximately 8:00 p.m. ET he is expected to throw his hat in the ring.

Sources confirm that the congressman will travel to campaign in New Hampshire the following weekend, and he has also scheduled an upcoming trip to Iowa.

McCotter created a stir last week when one of his representatives anonymously reserved a prime plot at the Ames Straw Poll real estate auction, paying $18,000 to stake out the same position in the Hilton Coliseum at Iowa State University that the last winner, former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee, had claimed in the 2007 straw poll.

When the plot was reserved last week, most speculated the bid was placed for two other potential candidates currently still on the sidelines -- Texas Governor Rick Perry and former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin.

He'll join an already crowded field, with many candidates who have been campaigning and fundraising for months.

"McCotter is a long-shot at best," said ABC News political director Amy Walter. "The low-key Republican has no national name recognition and as of March 31, had just about $500,000 in the bank. But, his combative style could create some fireworks, especially at the debates."

A source close to McCotter says the lawmaker has about $500,000 cash on hand in his congressional campaign account and has just started raising money for his presidential campaign. The source said that McCotter believes 2012 will be a different type of election, and that he would likely utilize social and new media to help promote the campaign.

"There's a void out there," said a McCotter campaign adviser who wished not to be identified. "He is very distinct from the rest of the field, with a cerebral, policy-oriented approach. He focuses on principles in terms of his vision of where the country is going down to the policies that will get us there. You don't hear a lot of that right now from other candidates."

"The way he articulates his message, he's very direct, whether it's within his own party or with the president," the source added.

Last month, McCotter sharply criticized another declared Republican presidential candidate, Mitt Romney, when the former Massachusetts governor was in Michigan, attacking Romney by claiming he shared so many positions with President Obama that they could be running mates.

"In the area of cap and trade, the president and Mr. Romney both believe in climate change. In the area of health care, both the president and Mr. [Romney] believe in comparative effectiveness research and government controlling the supply of health care. What you see in the area of the Wall Street bailout, both Mr. Romney and President Obama believe that the bondholders and shareholders on Wall Street should be held harmless, with no restructuring, no downsizing, no management changes, no equity, and no preparation for future to get capital flowing back again," McCotter said June 8.

"In fact, the people who are struggling to get this economy going, between the issues and the principles of the policies, will see that President Obama and Mr. Romney are less rivals than running mates."

McCotter's new website lists five core principles that he intends to make the basis of his campaign:

1. Our liberty is from God not the government;

2. Our sovereignty is in our souls not the soil;

3. Our security is from strength not surrender;

4. Our prosperity is from the private sector not the public sector;

5. Our truths are self-evident not relative.

McCotter is perceived as one of the smartest members of the House, taking a cerebral approach to debates and never using a TelePrompTer to recite his speeches.

He currently sits on the House Financial Services Committee and was the chairman of the Republican House Policy Committee from 2006 to 2010, the fourth-ranked position in House Republican leadership when the GOP was in the minority during the Pelosi-led 110th and 111th sessions of Congress.

When he's in Washington, McCotter plays guitar in the bipartisan rock band the Second Amendments. The band has traveled to Iraq and Afghanistan to play for U.S. troops. After the announcement Saturday evening, McCotter will stay on stage and play his guitar with a local band, the Bluescasters, at the Independence Day celebration.

Prior to being elected to the House of Representatives, McCotter served in the Michigan State Senate. A devout Catholic, he is a graduate of Catholic Central High School, the University of Detroit and the University of Detroit Law School. He is an attorney by profession and his wife, Rita, is a registered nurse. The couple have three young children, George, Timothy, and Emilia, according to a biography on his congressional web site.

ABC News' Michael Falcone contributed to this report