From Townhall Magazine's October feature, "Top 8 Most Unusual Candidates," by Kate Hicks:
Here in America, we’re taught to believe that through hard work and dedication, we can be anything we want. You might say that this ambition of upward mobility is the cornerstone of the American Dream. Indeed, ask any classroom full of second-graders what they want to be when they grow up, and you’re sure to get answers as variable as a firefighter, Justin Bieber and, of course, that old standby, president of the United States.
But it’s not just the highest office in the land to which people gravitate. Many aspire to serve the country and effect change at the local, state and federal levels, and there’s nothing like the current election year to remind you that some of those people are downright … unconventional. So, to lighten the tense electoral mood and celebrate the freedom to dream that all of us in the U.S. enjoy, Townhall presents the top eight most offbeat candidates to ever seek office.
Vermin Supreme: Ponies for All His Friends
Race: President of the United States
Stat us: Lost in New Hampshire primary
As home to the first primary contest in the American presidential race, New Hampshire hosted a slew of candidates for the highest office in the land this year, ranging from front-runner Mitt Romney to long-shots like Jon Huntsman to the altogether absurd: cue Vermin Supreme. At the time, he sported a thick, white beard, a black Wellington boot on his head and a host of crazy ideas.
“All politicians are vermin. I am the Vermin Supreme,” the candidate announced in a stump speech featured on Time Magazine’s website.
“I will lie to you,” continued the self-proclaimed “friendly fascist.” “I have no intention of keeping any promises that I make.”
Among those apparently made-to-be-broken promises is a federally subsidized pony for each American citizen. The gift is linked to his chief energy policy, which involves harnessing pony excrement as a replacement for foreign oil. Supreme is also a champion of mandatory tooth brushing, having declared during a debate among some lesser-known candidates, “For too long, this country has been suffering a great moral and oral decay in spirit and incisors,” according to Time.
Unlike many of the others on this list, however, who campaign in earnest, Supreme’s ersatz policy suggestions are a product of his shtick: he’s a performance artist, who seemingly runs for office as a means of satirizing the political process. Curiously, his act earned the adulation of none other than Charles Krauthammer, who reportedly once said of him, “He sounds like a jester out of King Lear. I mean this is a classic figure in history. There’s always the fool in the court who’s half-nuts, but half-wise. The one who whispers in the ear of the conqueror, ‘You’re mortal.’”
Mindy Meyer: The ‘Diva of the District’
Race: New York State Senate (21st District)
Status: Campaigning for general election
As soon as mindymeyer4senate.com loads, visitors are accosted by an instrumental version of dance-pop artist LMFAO’s hit single, “Sexy and I Know It,” while a glittery banner across the top of the shockingly hot pink page announces, “I’m Senator and I Know It.” Welcome to Mindy Meyer’s campaign website, where the 22-year-old Orthodox Jew and law student explains to residents of New York’s 21st State Senate district why they ought to elect her over incumbent Democrat Kevin Parker.
According to “Good Day New York,” the self-proclaimed “Diva of the District” is inspired by Elle Woods, the fictional heroine of the Legally Blonde movie franchise. Her stance on poverty promises “[n]o more Hunger Games” next to a photo of Meyer dressed like the series’ main character, Katniss—mini bow, arrow, and all.
During the interview with “Good Day New York,” Meyer said she hopes her site will inspire young people to get involved in the election process. In an ANIMALNewYork.com video of her canvassing the district, she promised a presumably potential constituent, in her authentic Brooklyn accent, “I won’t lie to you, lady.” Watching her conversations with New Yorkers in the video suggests to the viewer that she’s hoping to introduce a new level of trust between the people and government.
But while her website earned her some attention, it’s her plucky personality, forthright delivery and general lack of political know-how that managed to keep the Internet sensation afloat in the media for several weeks. Indeed, in an interview with the website Capital New York, she confessed to being unfamiliar with Andrew Cuomo, the governor of New York. Regardless, however, she’s doggedly pursuing high-profile endorsements. “My campaign manager just spoke to Kim Kardashian’s publicist because she’s a diva and everything, so they’re getting back to me because we’re trying to get her endorsement because, you know, she, whatever, my website is literally like her,” she said in that same interview.
Meyer will face Parker next month in the general election, although she isn’t expected to fare well against the 10-year political veteran in the highly Democratic district. Who knows, though: perhaps her pink site and unbridled enthusiasm will propel her to an underdog victory.
Race: President of the United States
Status: Lost to President Barack Obama in West Virginia primary
Judd made headlines in May when he stole 40 percent of the vote from the incumbent in his primary race – that incumbent being none other than President Barack Obama himself. Thanks to West Virginia’s lax filing regulations—a would-be politician need only submit a $2,500 fee along with a notarized certificate of announcement—Judd landed a spot on the ballot and capitalized on voter discontent with the current president. All this is despite the fact that his current address is a low-security federal prison in Texarkana, Texas. According to Politico, he’s currently serving a 210-month sentence “for extortion connected to making threats at the University of New Mexico in 1999” and won’t be released until June 2013.
But who is the man behind, well, the bars? According to Project Vote Smart, a nonpartisan group which aggregates self-submitted candidate information for the voting public, Judd lists himself as a “Rastafarian-Christian” who supposedly went to Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Politics, founded a group called World Peace Through Musical Communication Skills, is a member of the Federation of Super Heroes (no one seems to know what that means) and possesses “ESP, Telling the Future.” Despite the fact that Judd is a Democrat, his favorite president is Republican Richard Nixon (“He got us out of Vietnam, and began world peace with China and the Soviets”). If he could meet anyone, he would choose Mozart (“He was cool”), and his mother is listed as Lillian Russell, presumably the actress, who died in 1922. Judd was born in 1958.
However, despite Judd’s surprising success in the West Virginia primary, you’re much more likely to see him in the United States Fifth Circuit Court than the Oval Office. According to The Daily Beast, Judd has appeared in 238 different cases that have come before the bench from 1997 to 2011.
See the remaining six candidates who made our list by ordering the October issue of Townhall Magazine.