Top 5 Bizarre Political Candidates
CREDIT: Erin Patrice O'Brien | Comedy Central
When election time rolls around, colorful candidates sometimes tend to come out of the woodwork. Some past peculiar political hopefuls, including former professional wrestler Jesse "The Body" Ventura to self-proclaimed satanic vampire Jonathon "The Impaler" Sharkey, prove that when it comes to U.S. politics, any candidate is fair game.
5. Joe Walsh of The Eagles
In 1980, Eagles guitarist Joe Walsh ran for president even though he wouldn't have been able to take office even if elected – he was only 33 years old at the time, and, in accordance with the U.S. Constitution, the president must be at least 35. Walsh ran as a write-in candidate, however, and garnered attention with his "Free Gas For Everyone" campaign.
He also promised that if he won, he would make his hit song "Life's Been Good" the new national anthem . With lyrics including "I go to parties sometimes until four, it's hard to leave when you can't find the door," it would have made for an interesting anthem to be sung in American classrooms. Although his dream of becoming president didn't come true, this didn't deter him from running for office again in 1992 — this time for vice president, recording the song "Vote For Me" as a campaign theme song.
4. Stephen Colbert
Political satirist Stephen Colbert briefly campaigned, in character, as a presidential candidate in 2007 during broadcasts of his show, “The Colbert Report,” on Comedy Central.
His road to the Oval Office met a roadblock in his home state South Carolina when he tried to run for both the Republican and the Democratic nomination. In South Carolina, the Republican Party requires a $35,000 filing fee to run for presidential office, so Colbert opted to try for a place on the state’s $2,500 Democratic ballot fee instead. The South Carolina Democratic Party executive council, however, denied Colbert a place on the ballot, bringing his campaign to an end.
“The general sense of the council was that he wasn’t a serious candidate and that was why he wasn’t selected to be on the ballot," the party's director, John Werner, told news sources. Council member Waring Howe, Jr. was more emphatic, stating that Colbert would appear on the party’s ballot “over my dead body.”
3. Jesse "The Body" Ventura
Former World Wrestling Federation star James George Janos — better known as Jesse "The Body" Ventura — ran for mayor of Brooklyn Park, Minn., in 1990 and bumped out the city's incumbent, who had held office for 25 years. In 1998, Ventura ran for governor of Minnesota for the Reform Party, before later switching to the Independence Party.
His grassroots campaign was highly successful and included slogans such as "Don't vote for politics as usual," with one ad featuring Ventura posing as Auguste Rodin's "The Thinker" earning him the new nickname of Jesse "The Mind" Ventura. Following his win, the slogan "My governor can beat up your governor" was emblazoned on bumper stickers and T-shirts across Minnesota. Ventura served from 1999 to 2003, but did not seek a second term.
Before Ventura ran for governor, he starred in the 1987 science fiction action movie "Predator." His castmates included future California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and future U.S. Senate and Kentucky gubernatorial candidate Sonny Landham.
2. Joan Jett Blakk
Entertainer Terence Smith unsuccessfully ran for mayor of Chicago in 1990. He didn’t make it easy for himself, running as his drag queen persona , "Joan Jett Blakk," which he described as a combination of Divine, early David Bowie and Grace Jones. He then ran for president in 1992, using the slogan "Lick Bush in '92!". He ran again in 1996, this time with the slogans "Lick Slick Willie in '96!" and "Still Here, Still Queer!" in rainbow lettering.
Running on the Queer Nation Party ticket for each campaign, Blakk brought attention to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender issues as he campaigned for votes wearing sequined dresses, giant wigs and colorful makeup. He made two movies based on his campaigns, both titled "Drag In For Votes." Smith vowed that, if elected, he would change the name of the Supreme Court to "the Supremes Court" and the police to "the fashion police."
"We're taught from the time we're children that anyone can be president," Smith told journalist Owen Keehnen during a 1992 interview. "We had a bad actor, why not a good drag queen?"
1. Jonathon "The Impaler" Sharkey
Arguably the most controversial political candidate is Jonathon "The Impaler" Sharkey, who filed with the Federal Election Commission to run for President in 2004 and 2008 as an Independent candidate. He was familiar with political failure by then, though: He had also run for Congress in New Jersey as the Republican Party in 1999, in Indiana as the Reform Party in 2000, and once again as Republican in Florida in 2001, and governor of Minnesota in 2006.
Proclaiming himself to be a Luciferian, vampire, professional boxer and wrestler under the name of Rocky "Hurricane" Flash, Sharkey founded the Vampires, Witches and Pagans Party in 2005, a party officially recognized by United States Federal Election Committee. In 2009, he served six months in Marion County, Tenn., after he was found guilty of intimidating a judge, according to press sources.
During his 2006 run, when asked his stance on violent criminals during a press conference, Sharkey told reporters that he would impale murderers, rapists and other dangerous offenders on the capitol lawn, just as Vlad the Impaler supposedly did in Romania during the mid-1400s. Sharkey, in fact, claims to be a direct descendent of Vlad.
- Would YOU Make a Good White House Chief of Staff?
- Are Women Taking Over U.S. Politics?
- Do Third-Party Candidates Ever Win?
Got a question? Email it to Life's Little Mysteries and we'll try to answer it. Due to the volume of questions, we unfortunately can’t reply individually, but we will publish answers to the most intriguing questions, so check back soon.
MORE FROM LiveScience.com