LEWISTON – People who have names that range from unpleasant-sounding to downright disturbing are seeking public office in record numbers, analysts say.
“Even for a June primary, we’re seeing a lot of candidates for legislature whose names evoke embarrassing bodily functions or medical procedures we’d rather not think about,” said John Tojamb, professor of Political Science at Bates College.
And likely voters have taken notice.
For example, people in Lewiston and Auburn are being asked to vote for a Democrat named Wayne Werts. “That’s just way to close to ‘warts’ for my taste,” said Lewiston resident Andy Skatlicker. “Couldn’t they find someone who sounds less repulsive?”
In Orono, signs have popped up urging support for someone named Carol Lord Klitch. “When I hear the word ‘Klitch,’ I immediately picture a nasty old hag who smells like rotting fish and has mold growing in her face wrinkles,” says Lorraine Missing-Nips, a student at the University of Maine. “That’s probably unfair, but it’s just human nature, you know?”
Tojamb says he has interviewed hundreds of likely voters statewide who are having similar reactions. ”People are disappointed in their choices, and are wondering why they can’t choose from poetic-sounding names that just roll off the tongue,” he reports. “They look at a ballot with names like James Schatz (Blue Hill), Adam Spey (Kennebunk), and Gordon Mank (Rockland), and they wonder how they’re supposed to pick from such shitty-sounding choices, since they have no other information about these people besides what their names sound like.”
The 2012 election season is also witnessing a number of people with names that are disturbing in a might-go-to-prison-someday kind of way.
“Donald Skillings is running for legislature in Skowhegan, despite the fact that his name is only one letter away from ‘killings,’ and could easily be defaced or misread,” explains Tojamb. “Then you have Doreen Sheive from Augusta, whose name suggests she’s going to jam a small knife into your gut at any moment.”
Other candidates have names that are just plain embarrassing, such as Jessica Chubbock, a Republican from Edgecomb. “I’ve never met her,” says Ed Goathumper of Newcastle. “She’s probably a nice lady, but I bet she weighs 300 pounds. You just don’t see many skinny people around with a name like ‘Chubbock.’”
Madeline Leach of Castine, Matthew Moonen (Portland), and Joseph Kumiszcza (Cumberland) are among the dozens of other candidates who somehow felt they could win an election despite their nomenclature.
Then there’s Lewiston’s Doreen Christ. “Can you imagine having the nerve to put up signs saying ‘Christ for Legislature?’” asks Tojamb. “That’s just wrong.”
But the candidate’s strategy of being named after the central figure in a major world religion seems to be paying off with some voters. “Hell, yeah, I’ll vote for Christ, dude,” says Brett Gingivitis, 19, of Sabattus. “Maybe He’s returned right under our noses and taken the form of a redneck town councilor. I sure don’t want to piss Him off, if that’s true, know what I’m sayin’?”