- The Washington Times - Saturday, November 1, 2014

Elections would be dull affairs indeed without the gaffes, glitches and outright weirdness that inevitably crop up before voters put an end to the madness on the first Tuesday in November. And the 2014 races, featuring pig testicles, personal fans and keg stands, were no exception.

In the high drama and low comedy that is American democracy, here are some of the unanticipated and less-than-calculated moments that made this year’s midterms, once again, an election to remember:

That’s not my name, part I: Colorado Democratic Sen. Mark Udall was told during a Denver Post debate that he had earned the nickname “Mark Uterus” for his relentless focus on women’s health in his campaign. Minutes later, @MarkUterus had his own account on Twitter.

Plus, he refuses to take a stand: Texas Democrat Wendy Davis ran a television ad on legal fairness showing a wheelchair and explaining that “a tree fell onto Greg Abbott,” her Republican gubernatorial foe, who’s a paraplegic. A Davis surrogate later described the GOP nominee as “this guy who just kind of rolls around.”

And lived to tell: Republican Rob Maness was shown binding the chomping snout of a bayou alligator in a Louisiana Senate ad.

Don’t get me started on his snowshoeing: Hitting where it hurts, X Games snowmobile champ Cory Davis criticized Democratic Sen. Mark Begich’s snowmobiling technique in an Alaska Senate ad.

Post-racial society: Flyers placed on cars in North Carolina showed a photo of a lynching and warned, “Kay Hagan Doesn’t WIN! Obama’s IMPEACHMENT Will Begin! Vote in 2014.” The Democratic incumbent disavowed any role in the fliers.

Maybe more candidates should try this: Call it Mountaineer Zen. West Virginia Democrat Natalie Tennant appeared in a two-minute Senate campaign video in which she smiles and frowns as music plays but doesn’t say anything.

That’s not my name, part II: First lady Michelle Obama referred to Democratic Rep. Bruce Braley as “Bruce Bailey” six times during a campaign appearance in the Iowa Senate race. Before being corrected by supporters, Mrs. Obama even directed supporters to “Vote.BruceBailey.com.”

Hence #Fangate: A Florida gubernatorial debate was delayed when Republican Gov. Rick Scott refused at first to participate after discovering Democrat Charlie Crist had a fan underneath his podium. The two campaigns debated whether the fan violated debate rules prohibiting “electronic devices.”

But she can kiss the PETA vote goodbye: Republican state Sen. Joni Ernst, little known at the time, made her mark in a crowded GOP Senate primary after running an ad called “Squeal” in which she tells voters she “grew up castrating hogs on an Iowa farm,” vowing to do essentially the same thing if she got to Washington. Ms. Ernst won the primary with over 56 percent of the vote.

Ready, aim: Second Amendment rights were on full display in political ads this year. Campaign commercials showed gun-wielding candidates shooting a television set, an elephant pinata and a copy of the 2,000-page Affordable Care Act. Shreveport, Louisiana, mayoral candidate Ollie Tyler made guns news of another kind when she admitted during the campaign that she killed her first husband in 1968 during a domestic violence incident.

So you’re saying he’s overqualified: In perhaps the gaffe of the year, Democratic Rep. Bruce Braley, running for Senate, was caught on videotape dissing Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley as a “farmer from Iowa who never went to law school.” Even worse, Mr. Braley was speaking to a group of trial lawyers at the time.

Talk about constituent service: Democratic Sen. Mary L. Landrieu helped squirt beer into the mouth of a local reveler doing a keg stand before a Louisiana State University game, then was videotaped dancing the “Wobble” at a Southern University homecoming game a few days later. To those who called the antics undignified for a three-term senator, Ms. Landrieu replied that her critics “need to get a life.”

Exposed: Kansas Democrat Kelly Kultala ran an ad called “Naked Truth” showing a “dramatic reenactment” of Republican Rep. Kevin Yoder, his private parts strategically obscured, in a swimming pool after he admitted to skinny-dipping in the Sea of Galilee during a trip to Israel. “The naked truth is Yoder voted to cut Medicare for seniors,” one ad contended.

You shall not pass: Arizona GOP congressional candidate Adam Kwasman joined a crowd blocking a bus of what he thought were illegal border-crossing children being moved to a shelter. It turns out the bus was carrying school kids going to a YMCA camp.

Close enough:First lady Michelle Obama described Democratic Sen. Mark Udall as a “fifth-generation Coloradan” at a campaign rally. He was born in Arizona.

That’s not my name, part III: Arizona Republican Scott Michael Fistler legally changed his name to “Cesar Chavez” in an attempt to run as a Democrat in the state’s 7th Congressional district. But he failed to qualify for the primary ballot after a judge ruled three were too many invalid signatures on his nominating petition.

 

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