As the 2012 presidential race kicks into gear, a voter may well wonder: Who are these people, and what planet are they from?
Let's put it in perspective: The mainstream hopefuls may have weird ideas or crazy eyes, but the fact remains that, in terms of bizarreness, the current crop of candidates aren't within a light year of Prince Mongo, the centuries-old alien from Zambodia, or Scott Malcomson, whose alter ego is an anthropomorphic unicorn. Both candidates may have dwelled in fantastic realms, but they earned real votes, thousands of them, in actual elections.
Electoral history is filled with wacky perennial candidates. After all, one day aliens may land on Earth ask to be taken to your leader. Maybe the best candidate is the one that already speaks their language.
We dug through the election archives and found these 14 candidates who used fantasy, sci-fi and otherwordly concepts to campaign for office.
Robert "Prince Mongo" Hodges, Independent
Mayor of Memphis, Shelby County Mayor, Tennessee State Senate, 1978-2009
Background: Prince Mongo was born on the planet Zambodia more than 300 years ago, and though he says he's already royalty and a saint, he aspires to elected office. He wants to clean up city hall, but not his own front yard, A few years back, he was cited for the junk lying around his property. He spent more than a week in jail after showing up in court in green body paint with a rubber chicken.
Platform: His main campaign promise is to flush "political turds." In a televised debate he floated ideas ranging from issuing Uzis to all citizens to stocking more comic books in the public library. He also said he would rather invest in Saddam Hussein than a Memphis municipal bond and would use three take-home city-owned cars.
Result: In his most recent election, he received 267 votes, but in 1991 he received 3,000 votes and was considered a spoiler.
Lord Buckethead, Gremloid Party
British Parliament, 1987, 1992
Background: A spoof on Darth Vader, Lord Buckethead took on Margaret Thatcher in 1987 and John Major in 1992. It all seems to have been part of an elaborate marketing campaign for the 1984 sci-fi film Hyperspace (aka Gremloids):
Platform: Free bicycles and candy for children, according to The Guardian.
Result: 131 votes in 1987 and 107 votes in 1992, which was 16 more votes than the "Forward to Mars" Party.
Vermin Supreme, Independent
Background: A performance artist, activist and prankster, Vermin Supreme (his real name) almost always wears a boot on his head and carries a giant toothbrush. He also brags that he bit Jesse Jackson and hit Paul Tsongas in the face with an enema bag. He thinks he is the only 2012 candidate to have donated an organ.
Platform: Supreme's top priority is a mandatory tooth-brushing law, which would be enforced by government-sanctioned flying monkeys. He also says he has a well-established track record on zombie-preparedness issues and time travel, claiming to be the only candidate willing to support research to kill Adolf Hitler.
Result: 43 write-in votes in 2008, but 144 votes in the DC primary in 2004.
Loch David Crane
Loch David Crane, Democratic Party
Mayor of San Diego, 2012
Background: Crane is a skilled magician and eccentric performer best known for his "Star Trike," a Starship Enterprise replica mounted on a three-wheeled chopper that's been a Comic-Con legend since 1982. Crane has been running for mayor of San Diego for almost as long. He's also a brilliant orator:
Platform: This time around, he tells San Diego CityBeat, he cares about marijuana and border security. Apparently aliens are cool to boldly go and visit on their home planets, but not here, taking our already scarce jobs.
Result: Crane reached his electoral high in 1996 with 7,748 votes.
Scott Malcolmson, Reform Party
Governor of Arizona, 1998-2002
Background: Also know in the furry community as the unicorn Roy Calbeck, Scott Malcomson was not exactly on scritching terms with the leadership of his party. Quite the opposite: According to his Wikifur page, Malcolmson was perpetually attempting to gore Pat Buchanan.
Platform: I caught him at a debate in 2002 and noted his support for Native American sovereignty and two-liter bottles of Mountain Dew: Code Red.
Result: 8,371 votes in the 2002 general election. He failed to qualify for the ballot in 2002. It didn't help when he was cited for a traffic violation after trotting his campaign on a street median.
Jonathon "The Impaler" Sharkey
Jonathon Sharkey, Vampires, Witches, and Pagans Party/Independent/Reform Party/Republican
Governor of Minnesota, Congress, President, 1999-2012
Background: Luciferian Jonathon "The Impaler" Sharkey is not only a perennial competitor on the ballot, but a competitor in the pro wrestling ring. On the side, he sucks blood, makes videos of himself working out and gets arrested. He's also the cheesiest vampire ever:
Platform: As a 2006 gubernatorial candidate, Starkey had a 13-plank (or should we say "stake?") platform, with policies that included tax breaks and subsidies for farmers, a pledge not to send the National Guard to Iraq and a promise that he would personally and publicly "impale" terrorists.
Result: His 2006 campaign was finished when he was arrested in mid-campaign season. Election results must be like mirrors: He doesn't seem to have earned even to appear on any secretary of state's list.
Philip Sargent, Science Fiction Loony Party
Science Fiction Looney for Parliament, 1976
Background: According to a British sci-fi fan zine from the Prime Minister Harold Wilson era, Sargent was the first candidate recruited to run by the Cambridge University Science Fiction Society, a geek prankster club. He's now an expert on energy issues and posts boating pictures to Facebook.
Platform: To make the Guinness Book of World Records for candidate with the least amount of votes.
Result: Sargent proved more popular than he intended: He received 374 votes, significantly more than the 22 or fewer votes he needed to break the record.
Libby Hubbard, Democratic Party
Background: Although her name would appear as Libby Hubbard on the ballot, the public-access television star campaigned under the name Doctress Neutopia. Her candidacy was part of the Tucson Weekly's "Project White House" presidential competition. I bought her campaign T-shirt. She believes in Gaia.
Platform: Neutopia was always going on about something called "arcology," a sustainable societal system dreamed up by futurist architect Paolo Soleri. She also believes that the crop-circle aliens will save us from urban sprawl.
Result: 209 votes.
Gabriel Green, Universal (Flying Saucer) Party
President, 1960, 1972 and Senate, 1962
Background: Gabriel Green, a scientist from California, and his vice presidential nominee, Daniel Fry, both claimed to have been in contact with beings from outer space, who he said could "at any time take over between breakfast and lunch and make robots of all of us." Though that would be against their principles.
Platform: These "space people" drafted him to run for office and gave him a plan to solve America's multitude of problems. What was the plan? To serve man, of course.
Result: The Universal ticket picked up 199 votes in Iowa and a few write-in votes from the rest of the country.
Saint Michael Jesus Archangel
Michael Jesus Archangel, Republican Party
Background: Michael Jesus Archangel (reportedly his real name) describes himself as God the Great Holy Spirit, Saint Michael the Archangel and Jesus all in one, and also the CEO, president, treasurer and general counsel for the United Domains of Heaven Treasury Corporation. He has a secret CIA fax number.
Platform: He promises to use the War Powers Act to defeat Satan-worshipping Communazis (his word for Democrats) to free the world from poverty, war and taxation. He is against abortion and gay marriage.
Result: While he did announce his candidacy to the great amusement of message boards across the planet, it is unlikely he received any votes, except for maybe his own.
Warren R. Ashe, Democratic Party
Background: He claims to be the president of a Fortune 500 company and able to travel 500 years in the future (where he's already dropped off some sperm and DNA) using flux capacitors and wormholes. He also builds interplanetary spaceships capable of warp speed. According to his Project Vote smart page, he has had a long career in the military and his favorite recording artists are Jay-Z and "Snoops Dog." There are those who believe he is an alien-human hybrid (OK, only this guy).
Platform: Immigration seems to be his top issue, and he promises that illegal European immigrants will be treated the same as those of other ethnicities.
Result: There is no record of Ashe receiving any votes, but he did file official paperwork with the Federal Elections Commission.
Jeff Peckman, Natural Law Party
Background: Prior to running for mayor, Jeff Peckman was best known for campaigning for a ballot initiative to create an Extraterrestrial Affairs Commission. He claims to have evidence that the little grays have visited Earth. Peckman also markets "Metatron Technology," which blocks evil electromagnet rays and can promote ethical government with a bubble emanating from your computer.
Platform: Emphasizing that he's the only mayoral candidate who has the guts to face the issue of UFOs, Peckman also advocates for the use of brain fingerprinting by law enforcement and using medical marijuana to grow the local economy.
Results: In the mayoral race, he received 803 votes, less than 1 percent of the total electorate.
Michael Goodspaceguy Nelson, Independent
Senate, Congress, King County Executive, King County Council, 2006-2011
Background: A free-market economist whose favorite book is The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, Michael Nelson has become a perennial candidate in Washington state who refers to voters as his fellow "sheeple" and the planet as "Spaceship Earth." On the ballot, his name does, in fact, appear as "Goodspaceguy."
Platform: His top issue is that space colonization needs to be priority number one for both federal and local government. He also supports eliminating the minimum wage, improving parking and legalization of drugs, though he swears he doesn't personally partake. He's just naturally spacey.
Result: Goodspaceguy, as he is listed on the official results, picked up 1662 votes in 2011 King County council election, a whopping 4.69 percent of the total vote.
John Waite, Independent
Spokane City Council, Washington legislature, 2007-2011
Background: The owner of Merlyn's science fiction shop made nerd headlines when he campaigned on Free Comic Book day wearing a Starcraft costume. If Waite is ever elected, he won't be the only geek to represent Spokane: Current Councilman Jon Snyder used to be editor-in-chief of Star Wars Insider.
Platform: Job creation, public safety and "Defeating the Zerg Scourge and Balancing the Budget, Galaxywide."
Results: In 2011, he received 1,109 votes, or about 17 percent of the vote.