If you read our article on Campaign 2010's most storied self-funders, then you are already familiar with Tim D'Annunzio. He's just a guy with a million dollars and a dream: to be the next U.S. Congressman to represent North Carolina's eighth district. On May 4, he moved closer to that goal when he won his primary. His campaign, however, hit a bit of a snag when North Carolina GOP Chairman Tom Fetzer declared D'Annunzio to be "unfit for public office":
"By my personal observation of his behavior, and by acquaintance with his record and background, I consider Mr. D'Annunzio unfit for public office at any level," said Fetzer. "What he could do to the party as our nominee is secondary in my view to what he could do to the country if he got elected. If he got elected, for crying out loud, that would be a disaster."
Fetzer based his judgment on court records from a "contentious child-custody case" involving D'Annunzio:
The records are part of a contentious child-custody case, which included a 1995 psychiatric evaluation. The attending doctor said he couldn't say for sure that D'Annunzio suffered from any emotional disorders.
However, Dr. Rodolfo de los Santos Ongjoco wrote that D'Annunzio told him he once entered a drug program for heroin dependence and was jailed three times for offenses including burglary and assaulting a police officer.
In addition to these court documents, some of the content from D'Annunzio's blog, "Christ's War," was of concern to party officials:
On a blog called "Christ's War," D'Annunzio has acknowledged teenage arrests, jail time and a 1995 conviction for criminal trespassing stemming from a domestic dispute.
When Johnson urged voters this month to "look at our criminal records," D'Annunzio declined to elaborate.
"All the details I'm going to give are on that blog," he told the Observer. "I'm not going to go into details of my life 30 or some years ago."
On his blog, he described dropping out of school in Philadelphia at 15 "to escape an inner city culture of drugs, gangs, crime and violence." He joined the Army, but left a year later. "I fell back in with the same crowd and it wasn't long before I was in trouble with the law," he wrote.
He would later tell Ongjoco that he'd begun using heroin around that time. He told him he'd been jailed for robbing a postal jeep at 16, for burglary at 19 and later for assaulting a police officer.
All of this has led D'Annunzio to take to his campaign website to debunk the "myths" that have formed around his campaign. There, he addresses matters various and sundry, such as the claim that he was dishonorably discharged from the military (he provides documents to the contrary) and that he failed to pay child support (D'Annunzio says that he fell behind while he was "living below the poverty line" but went on to "paid the arrearage and monthly payments on time the remaining years").
He also addresses the claim that he is "a drug addict with a criminal past."
Fact: Tim had a troubled upbringing. He escaped a culture of gangs and drugs by joining the military and moving to the Ft. Bragg area, where he's lived for over 30 years. If you don't believe that Tim has no criminal record from his younger years, click here to view a report from a background check that Tim voluntarily did on himself.
I know what you are thinking and what you are thinking is this: "What? This guy was caught up in gangs?" I know, I know. But the aforementioned background check attests to the fact that D'Annunzio survived the mean streets of Darby, Pennsylvania (which are a little mean: Wikipedia notes that "About 35.5% of families and 20.6% of the population were below the poverty line, including 27.6% of those under age 18 and 11.1% of those age 65 or over.") without a criminal record.
Of course, the first myth D'Annunzio takes on is the best one:
Myth #1: Tim D'Annunzio is a "religious zealot" who believes he found the Ark of the Covenant, that he is the Messiah, and that God is going to drop a pyramid on Greenland.
Fact: It's no secret that Tim is a born-again Christian. When his life seemed to be falling apart, Tim turned to to Christ and began to study the Bible. As a Christian, he has interpreted God's word as written in the Bible to apply to the modern day. Tim believes God has a plan for his life, just as He does for all Christians. For this, Tim's religious views have been attacked and misinterpreted by the liberal news media.
Look. I could point out that D'Annunzio doesn't actually deny claiming to be the Messiah, or the finder of the Ark of the Covenant, or the maker of this claim about God's wrath. And I could note that by addressing this rumor on the internet, D'Annunzio is only lending it further traffic.
I'll only say that we should take a moment to bask in the fact that we have finally reached the point where some guy's belief that God was going to punish Greenland by dropping a pyramid on it is now of material relevance to American politics. Do we get to unlock a badge, or something?