Who's the saddest candidate in America?

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One of the most striking things about the 2010 election season has been the number of candidates we can only describe as “sad.” Sad can mean a lot of things, but we’re determined to pin things down and hand out our new “Saddest Candidate” award. So who are the contenders, and what kind of “sad” do they or their campaigns embody?

First up is perk-a-manic Christine O’Donnell, the GOP’s U.S. Senate candidate in Delaware. She represents the type of sad which tells the world that no matter how much publicity she gets, “I don’t even know what I’m saying half the time.” Her clueless qualities have surfaced repeatedly, in her nonsensical statements on women serving in the military, evolution, scientists supposedly breeding mice with fully functioning human brains, and, of all things, her opposition to masturbation.

Second on the list is the “I’m a jerk, showing my ass to the world” kind of sad, proudly embodied and showcased by Carl Paladino, the GOP’s gubernatorial candidate in New York, whose crass manner and outright physical threats (he told a reporter, “I’ll take you out, buddy!”) have placed him so far behind in the race, he may as well go on vacation from now till Election Day.

Next, there’s Alvin Greene, the surprise Democratic candidate for the U.S. Senate in South Carolina, whose low-budget campaign’s highlight was his sad job-creation proposal for bringing an Alvin Greene Action Figure industry to S.C. And that was before he was indicted for showing pornography to a college student (even sadder is Greene’s claim that he was just trying to flirt with the young woman). The saddest thing, however, has been the press’ gradual realization that Greene, as they say in S.C., “ain’t quite right,” which has mercifully led them to back off Greene a bit.

Those are three sad candidates, for sure, but our grand winner has to be Dan Maes. Never heard of him? That’s kind of the point. Maes is the official Republican candidate for governor of Colorado (another Tea Party upset), but hardly anyone takes the guy seriously, his campaign is almost broke, and, even sadder, the longer he campaigns, the more supporters abandon him. His own party leaders have urged him to withdraw from the race, even after another, more famous right-wing nut, former congressman Tom Tancredo, entered the race as an independent. Maes has campaigned on a standard “character, business experience, and success” GOP platform, but it turned out he’s actually a failed businessman, struggling to stay above the poverty line, and using campaign funds to pay his mortgage. He called a Denver bike-sharing plan a UN plot that threatens citizens’ freedom (we’re not making this up); and has generally acted like such an unhinged doofus that even his former Tea Party supporters are dumping him.  The latest polls for the Colorado governor’s race have Democrat John Hickenlooper at 46.1%, Tom Tancredo  at 34.7%, and Maes trailing behind at 14.5%. And, as TalkingPointsMemo reports, if all that isn’t sad enough, Maes is trying to make a big deal out of his new, shiny endorsement from Palin. No, not Sarah Palin; not Todd or Bristol Palin, either. Not even Monty Python’s Michael Palin. Maes’ endorsement is from Jim Palin, Sarah’s father-in-law – which pretty much clinches the “Saddest Candidate” title, in our humble but well-informed opinion.

Sad Dan Maes, GOP candidate for governor of Colorado
  • Sad Dan Maes, GOP candidate for governor of Colorado

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