5 Most Terrifying Congresspeople Elected Last Night
About a week ago, Salon ran an interesting item, headlined, "The 10 most terrifying would-be congressmen." I put it aside with a little note to myself: "Check to see how many of these nutjobs actually win."
The answer: half of them.
Salon's Justin Elliott and Mark Benjamin explained they "looked around and identified the 10 Republican House candidates with the most bizarre, unnerving and downright alarming baggage who just might sneak through." As of this morning, Tom Ganley (R) in Ohio's 13th, Jeff Perry (R) in Massachusetts' 10th, Brad Zaun (R) in Iowa's 3rd, and Ilario Pantano (R) in North Carolina's 7th have all lost, while Jesse Kelly (R) in Arizona's 8th appears to be losing in a not-yet-called race.
So, which of the five "most terrifying would-be congressmen" won? Some real doozies:
Allen West (R) in Florida's 22nd
West first gained notoriety during his military service in Iraq, when he was forced to retire from the Army for engaging in abusive interrogation techniques. More recently, he's incorporated violent rhetoric into his campaign speeches, and made demonstrably ridiculous claims about his own background. Last month, we learned about West's ties to a violent gang of criminals, which the Justice Department believes is involved in drug running, arson, prostitution, robbery, and murder. Yesterday, he won by eight points.
Renee Ellmers in North Carolina's 2nd
Ellmers is perhaps best known for running on a virulently anti-Muslim platform, and based much of her advertising on her opposition to the Park51 project (which is nowhere near her district). In September, she appeared utterly humiliated during an interview with CNN's Anderson Cooper, but nevertheless narrowly won yesterday.
Austin Scott in Georgia's 8th
Scott ran on a platform that would, among other things, push mandatory drug testing for those Americans who receive unemployment benefits. He won by five points.
Scott DesJarlais in Tennessee's 4th
Roll Call reported a couple of months ago that DesJarlais, during a messy break-up with his ex-wife, allegedly held a gun in his mouth for three hours and was accused of spousal abuse. He nevertheless defeated incumbent Rep. Lincoln Davis (D) yesterday in a landslide.
Ben Quayle in Arizona's 3rd
Quayle, the son of the ridiculed former V.P., is perhaps best known for having contributed to a raunchy, sex-themed website -- and then lying about it. Yesterday, he won by double-digits.