WASHINGTON -- It’s getting hard to keep up with who’s running for president.
No, we’re not talking about the ballooning GOP field, which contained 17 candidates as of last Wednesday, when former Virginia Gov. Jim Gilmore officially entered the race.
There are actually a lot more people who have filed the official Federal Election Commission paperwork to become a candidate. As of Tuesday, there are 536 candidates officially registered on the FEC website as 2016 presidential hopefuls. Quite a few of them have some, shall we say, creative names.
One of them, who joined the ever-growing field of candidates last month, is listed as “Deez Nuts.”
According to Nuts' FEC form, he (or she? or they?) lives in Iowa and is running as an independent.
Nuts is pulling in some decent poll numbers -- at least according to one poll:
Another candidate named “Sydneys Voluptuous Buttocks” filed the FEC form in March. The person who filled out the form, George Boria, told The Huffington Post that the idea started as a joke among him and his friends.
“I was with a couple friends, and one said, ‘Everyone should vote for my butt as the president,’ so I went with it,” he said. “The idea became that every politician is an asshole, so why not elect a real one?”
Boria, a college student from Buffalo, New York, said that the Sydney in question is a friend of his. He assured HuffPost that he filled out the form with Sydney’s permission.
“I said I was gonna file, and she said, ‘Go for it,’” he said. “She’s surprised that it went as far as it did, but I think she’s amused by it.”
The first step toward becoming a candidate is filling out the FEC Form 2, which is an official “statement of candidacy.” The FEC treats each submitted form equally, regardless of whether the applicant is Deez Nuts or Jeb Bush, according to spokesperson Christian Hilland.
“Anyone can file the FEC Form 2,” Hilland told HuffPost. “Whenever a form gets filed, we put it on the website. If it’s submitted electronically, once it hits our server, it becomes visible within seconds.”
The form consists of a single page with basic information, like name and address, and a place to register an official campaign committee. The FEC does not screen the forms or verify any of the candidates’ identities. As long as the information is filled in and submitted either by mail or online, the forms go up on the FEC’s candidate website.
“Any report that’s filed, we wouldn’t try to hide it. We’re a disclosure agency,” Hilland said.
That’s why in addition to the usual campaign committee names, like “Bernie 2016” or “Rand Paul for President,” there are committees like “Turk’s Ultrapatriotic Campaign Action Committee,” registered by a Mr. Turk Yolninetimes Fratterson.
There are some vaguely familiar names as well. Last week, “Ms. Brystol Palyn” submitted the FEC form, listing her platform as “1. Reduce teen pregnancies 2. Bring back prayer in public schools 3. Teach creation science in public schools.” Someone going by “Sara Paylin” filled out the form and appears to have registered with the Jewish/Christian National Party.
Some of the candidates may not even be human, like Mr. Crawfish B. Crawfish of New Orleans. Crawfish’s form does not list an address, just “Bayou,” so HuffPost was unable to confirm his identity.
The only confirmed animal candidate, a cat named Limberbutt McCubbins, filed the FEC paperwork earlier this month. McCubbins is a declared “Demo-cat” and tells voters, “Together, we cat.”
His campaign manager, Isaac Weiss, told HuffPost that McCubbins believes in protecting the environment and legalizing catnip. In addition, McCubbins would have opposed the invasion of Iraq because the "climate is not favorable for a house cat."
On a more serious note, Weiss thinks that McCubbins’ candidacy sheds light on how easy it is to file the paperwork to run for the country’s highest office. Evidently, you don’t even need a real name to complete the form. Some of the forms also have fake addresses listed, as HuffPost discovered when trying to confirm the real identities of some of the candidates.
While anyone can submit the form, Hilland noted that the FEC does not officially consider someone a candidate until he or she raises or spends at least $5,000. So unless any of these candidates find the funds to advance their candidacy, the FEC filing will be their only claim to fame.
However, if you’re Deez Nuts, it might be worth taking the leap. (Unfortunately, HuffPost could not reach Deez Nuts for comment, despite multiple attempts.)
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