Among the 11 people who want to be mayor of Minneapolis are three people who claim Democratic Farmer-Labor allegiances, one Socialist Worker's Party candidate, a Libertarian and a man from something called the Edgertonite Party, which believes in communism, that the region should secede from the United States and that Laura Ingalls Wilder is God.
Electoral politics in Minnesota have never been dull.
Then there is the fledgling candidacy of one Joey Lombard, a 22-year-old unemployed musician who lists his "political party or principle" as "Is Awesome."
On his Facebook page, Lombard counsels that voters "just fill in 'Joey Lombard is Awesome' as your first choice for mayor, and leave the rest of the ballot blank, it's that simple!"
I called Joey Lombard and asked him what makes him awesome.
"Just in general," he said. "Everybody I know thinks so."
I mentioned that my colleague pointed out candidates were allowed three words for their political party name or principle, and that Lombard seemed to have missed the opportunity to belong to the "Is Totally Awesome" party.
"Arggggggggh, man!" said Lombard, sounding genuinely upset. "I didn't even think of that."
It's possible that political careers were built upon shakier foundations. After all, Minnesotans have elected a wrestler and a comedian, and the state has survived. But I wondered how Lombard decided to run for mayor.
"My girlfriend was always whining about how I don't do enough for the world," said Lombard. "So I said, 'OK, I'm going to run for mayor of Minneapolis and make everybody love each other."
So, even though he quit his job at Macy's ("Not a good idea, in retrospect"), Lombard plunked down the 20 bucks and began to run for mayor. How did his girlfriend respond?
"She thought I was making a mockery of the electoral system," Lombard said.
And his parents?
"At first they thought it was a horrible idea," he said. "They think it is a joke. But they're growing on it."
So, it's not a joke?
"Well, it was at first. But then I looked at the people running, and they don't have any more experience than I do," Lombard said. "I might be able to do some good."
On his website, Lombard says that years of playing Sim City, a computer game that allows the player to build a make-believe city, has given him a good idea of how one should run. "I admit I've never managed a real city," he said.
I told him that prior to being elected, Mayor R.T. Rybak had never managed a city, either.
"That's a good point," said Lombard, who added that his lack of experience also means he is not corrupt. And because he's single, "I can't get into any issues with Argentine reporters," he said.
On his Facebook page, Lombard shows some affinity for political B.S., however: All his favorites are from Minneapolis-connected artists. His favorite movies range from "Purple Rain" to "Mallrats," and his top television shows include "Mary Tyler Moore" and "Bullwinkle." His activities include "playing piano and guitar in Minneapolis" and "telling amusing anecdotes in Minneapolis."
Lombard has promised to keep his campaign expenses under $100. "It's all word-of-mouth," he said. When Lombard sent me an e-mail, he signed it, "Joey Lombard, practically the mayor."
I asked Lombard whether he would promise that if he got elected, he would not run for governor while in office.
"Absolutely," he said.
Lombard's biggest idea is to make kids in school do mandatory volunteer work. Lombard went to a Catholic junior high, and Henry High School, and volunteering was a good thing, he said.
Yet, Lombard's decision to think globally and act and run for office locally didn't win over his girlfriend, who was more concerned with cultural domination of the ruling elite.
"She dumped me," he said with sigh. "She said I didn't care enough about hegemony."
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