4 Outrageous Races To Keep An Eye On In 2014

capitol hill

Photo: Crazy George via Flickr

As the calendar flips to 2014, the political world will turn its attention to the upcoming midterm elections. While the fields for many of the races are not yet set, the schedule will certainly be packed with several consequential elections that will determine which party controls Congress and several statehouses, and set the political agenda for the next two years. Unfortunately for fans of sober policy debate, it will also be packed with crazy people.

Liz Cheney may have dropped her Senate bid in Wyoming on Monday, but there are still several elections on the docket that could end up giving the 2014 midterms a serious circus tent vibe. Here are four elections that could turn out to be especially outrageous:

U.S. Senate Election In Texas

John Cornyn 427x321

Photo: Gage Skidmore via Flickr

Texas’ U.S. Senate election is not expected to be the most competitive race in the nation, but it will certainly be among the most entertaining. With no significant Democratic candidate in the race, the election will likely be decided in the March 4 Republican primary between the incumbent, Senate Minority Whip John Cornyn, and genuinely crazy U.S. Representative Steve Stockman.

Stockman, who has never shied away from controversy, has begun his longshot challenge in the same unhinged manner in which he runs his congressional office. Between promoting “liberal tears” as a gun lubricant, selling “Obama barf bags” for $10 on his website, having his digusting campaign office condemned, and attempting to rebrand his opponent (who was once ranked the second most conservative senator) as “liberal John Cornyn,” Stockman has — as The Washington Post deftly described it — basically run his primary challenge as an insult comic.

So far it hasn’t been working; the first poll of the race found Cornyn leading Stockman by 44 percent, and there is plenty of reason to believe that Stockman’s numbers won’t get much better.

U.S. House Election In LA-6

tony perkins

Photo: Gage Skidmore via Flickr

The field is not yet set for the election to replace U.S. Representative Bill Cassidy (R-LA), who is running for Senate against incumbent Democrat Mary Landrieu, but two rumored candidates could make this the most off-the-rails campaign in the entire nation if they choose to run.

The first, Democrat Edwin Edwards, is reportedly considering a run despite being an 86-year-old ex-convict. Edwards, who served as governor of Lousiana for 16 years before being doing eight years in prison following his conviction on 17 counts of racketeering, extortion, fraud, and conspiracy, apparently believes that the field is weak enough for him to mount a most improbable comeback. The colorful former governor remains relatively popular, and is known as one of the most quotable politicians in American history — among other memorable lines, he declared on election day 1983 that “The only way I can lose is if I’m caught in bed with either a dead girl or a live boy,” and promised on his way to jail that “I will be a model prisoner, as I have been a model citizen” — guaranteeing that his entry to the race would shine a bright spotlight on the conservative district.

The other, Republican Tony Perkins, is extreme even by Tea Party standards. The president of an anti-gay hate group, Perkins has an extremely controversial record that includes buying a mailing list from the Ku Klux Klan, and speaking out in favor of Uganda’s infamous “kill the gays” bill.

Lousiana’s “jungle primary” system — in which candidates from all parties appear on the same ballot, and the top two candidates advance to a runoff — often yields unpredictable results. But if the campaign ends up as a matchup between Edwards and Perkins, then a controversial election is virtually guaranteed.

U.S. House Election In NY-11

Michael Grimm

Photo: House Foreign Affairs Committee Republicans via Flickr

Representative Michael Grimm (R-NY), the only Republican in New York’s congressional delegation, is looking at a challenging re-election campaign. Due to his weak poll numbers, lingering questions surrounding his involvement in a campaign finance scandal, an unsubstantiated sex scandal, and the fact that President Barack Obama narrowly carried his Staten Island district in the 2012 presidential election, Grimm is certain to be a top target for Democrats in 2014.

What could push the race into truly wild territory, however, would be the re-emergence of former congressman Vito Fossella. Fossella — who represented the 11th district for six terms before a 2009 DUI arrest which led him to reveal that he has a daughter from an extramarital affair — claimed in December that New York Republicans are increasingly eager for him to run against Grimm (many New York Republicans disagree).

Fossella has thus far declined to share his 2014 plans — he has until April 14 to file for the June 24 primary — but if he does jump into the race, it would be like Christmas for the New York tabloids.
Gubernatorial Election In Arizona

Steven Seagal

Photo: Gage Skidmore via Flickr

There’s good news for Arizonans who want a governor with all of Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s insane xenophobia, but none of his experience in government: Steven Seagal is considering a gubernatorial run.

Seagal, a former B-movie star who has re-entered the public eye as a member of Arpaio’s volunteer “posse,” claimed that he is mulling a bid for Arizona’s highest state office during a promotional appearance for his new reality show, “Steven Seagal — Lawman: Maricopa County.”

Aside from his well-known dislike for immigrants — Seagal says that “open borders” are the greatest threat facing America, and has served as an unofficial press flack for Arpaio over the past few years — Seagal’s governing philosophy is not quite clear. He would be an extreme longshot in the race — Secretary of State Ken Bennett (R) and incumbent governor Jan Brewer (R), who has not decided whether she will seek a third term for which she may be ineligible, are the top candidates — but Seagal would certainly be the most entertaining. After all, how often does the media get to cover a candidate who owns a bulletproof kimono?


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