We are less than a week from Election Day, and there are some unsavory characters trying to win seats in the House and Senate. We won’t tell you who to vote for, because then we would lose our non-profit status and my editor-in-chief would hang me upside down by my heels.
This is an equal opportunity list; there are candidates featured from both sides of the aisle. From cases of hypocrisy and law-breaking to just plain bad policy decisions, without further ado, here is a top 10 list of worst candidates for Congress.
(note: anyone without a title before their name is a challenger to the office, asterisks denote incumbency)
Dishonorable mentions: Alan West, Richard Mourdock, Jon Koster, Linda McMahon, Paul Ryan
10. Congressman Charles Rangel (D-NY)*- The 21-term Congressman has been serving Harlem since the 1970s. However, he has come under fire in recent years for ethics violations and failure to comply with tax laws. Rangel resigned as Ways and Means chair and the House censured him in December 2010 for 11 counts of violating House ethics rules. Rangel barely survived his primary, but is in line to win another term in office. Time to go.
9. Congresswoman Virginia Foxx (R-North Carolina)*- The fact that she is only number nine says a lot about the rest of the people on this list. Thankfully, she is not a particularly powerful member of the lower House, so that helps her case just a tad. Regardless, since being elected to Congress in 2004, Foxx was only one of 11 members of Congress to vote against relief for the victims of Hurricane Katrina, was responsible for spreading the death panel myth in Obamacare and calling it more dangerous than terrorism, drew flak for calling the Matthew Shepherd murder a “hoax,” and said that she had “little tolerance” for people who have to borrow money to pay for their college education. Needless to say, she is clearly out of touch with reality.
8. Congressman Todd Akin (R-Missouri) (running for Senate)- Akin’s infamous “legitimate rape” remark prompted mass backlash across the country and many, including Mitt Romney, urged him to withdraw. He refused, and lost the financial support of the RNCC.
Not only is it scientifically impossible for a woman to shut down her body due to rape, but rape is rape, and it is a crime. There is nothing legitimate about it. Akin’s boneheaded statement prompted both Richard Murdoch and Jon Koster to make similar remarks regarding rape. Both men receive dishonorable mentions.
7. Congressman Peter King (R-NY)*-King is against terrorism only when it is politically convenient for him. Otherwise, nothing could be further from the truth. From the late 70s until the mid-2000s, King was an ardent supporter of the IRA, an internationally recognized terrorist organization responsible for the deaths of hundreds of innocent people. King also worked extensively with NORAID, a front for the IRA that was instrumental in smuggling money and weapons from America to Northern Ireland.
Despite chairing the House Homeland Security Committee, King's district saw a 40% cut in homeland security funding. In 2010, he defended his Republican colleagues when they voted against the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act on the basis of procedure, prompting now-disgraced ex-Congressman Anthony Weiner to rip him a new one on the House floor. Channeling the spirit of Joe McCarthy, in 2011 King conducted hearings on Muslim-Americans that more or less amounted to a witch hunt. As my Congressman, King is as hypocritical as they come and is an utter disgrace to my district and me.
6. Congresswoman Michele Bachmann (R-MN)*- We all know that Bachmann, a Tea Party darling, is certifiably crazy. She and her husband own a “scare the gay away” clinic that received numerous taxpayer funds to operate. Not only is this type of therapy medically disproven, but her husband doesn’t even have a license to practice clinical psychology.
Regardless, Bachmann believes that America needs to become a Christian theocracy, a clear violation of the Establishment Clause. She was also a so-called “birther,” calling for President Obama to release his birth certificate. In addition, Bachmann has been a vocal opponent of the EPA, yet on two occasions has solicited funds from them on behalf of her district. Hypocritical, to say the least.
5. Allen Quist (R-MN)- Some call him the “deranged mentor” of Michele Bachmann. Whether or not that is true is up for debate. However, Quist, who is running for Congress, is a fundamentalist Christian who believes in overhauling the school curriculum to reflect his view that the Earth is 6,000 years old and that dinosaurs and humans were alive at the same time. He has also referred to the Book of Job as “science,” and even went undercover to a gay bathhouse to prove that it was a haven for “anal intercourse.” Simply mind-numbing.
4. Congressman Joe Walsh (R-IN)*-We’re starting to scrape the bottom of the barrel with Walsh. He came into office in the 2010 elections, riding the Tea Party wave. From his first few months in office, he was not one to make quick friends. He said that Obama was elected "because he pushed that magical button: a black man who was articulate, liberal, the whole white guilt, all of that." He also said of bipartisanship that it would "not be the time right now to extend your hand across the aisle." In September 2011 he was criticized for ethics violations and two months later was videotaped yelling at a woman in his district with whom he disagreed.
But the cherry on top of the cake is when he criticized his opponent, Iraq War veteran Tammy Duckworth, who lost her legs in combat, by talking about her service too frequently and insinuating that she is not a hero. One of the cardinal rules of politics is never to criticize veterans, and Walsh broke it. He'll be paying the price next week at the polls.
3. Congressman Jesse Jackson Jr. (D-IL)*- The son of the famous reverend and civil rights activist, Jesse Jackson Jr. used to be a rising star in the Democratic Party, but now has fallen from grace. He was implicated in the Rod Blagojevich scandal of 2009, and an FBI investigation revealed that he has taken $1.3 million from his campaign funds to fix up his house. As a result, he was named by a Congressional watchdog group as being one of the 15 most corrupt members of Congress.
Currently, Jackson Jr. has not showed up to Congress in four months, citing bipolar disorder and has been going to the Mayo Clinic for treatment. We think we know the real reason for him taking ill: the threat of going to prison.
2. Congressman Scott DesJarlais (R-TN)*- This guy is just too much. He used to be a doctor who says that he is pro-life and pro-family values. However, he had an affair and then pressured the woman, who was actually his patient, to have an abortion.
And that's not all. He’s reportedly had four other affairs and even threatened one of his mistresses with a gun. The Party is still backing him and Mitt Romney is quoted as saying, “I’m very proud to have the support of such a principled and independent conservative as Scott DesJarlais.”
And the worst candidate running for Congress is….
1. Mark Clayton (D-TN)- A candidate for Senate who is channeling the Dixiecrat spirit of George Wallace, Clayton advertises himself as “the Democrat your parents voted for.” Clayton needed only 25 signatures to get on the ballot for the primary, but somehow ended up winning by 20 points because he was the first one listed alphabetically.
The guy is simply delusional. Just to name a couple of the many conspiracy theories that he believes: he thinks that Google has limited his campaign website’s hits because they are working with the Chinese government and that FEMA is going to set up concentration camps. He is the vice president for an organization called Public Advocate of the United States, which has been labeled a hate group for its anti-gay rhetoric.
With a grand total of $278 in his campaign chest and only one yard sign, Clayton is running a bare-bones operation. Both the state and national Democratic Party disavowed him once he won the primary, but that still has not stopped Clayton. As he puts it in a way that no reasonable person can, “Jesus did not have a campaign staff. And he had the most successful campaign in human history.”
Was anyone left out? Let us know in the comments!