Top Republican challengers, 2020

The class of the field

State Library of Victoria, Melbourne, Australia.

Until this weekend, [Donnie] Bolena was also a candidate for the Sixth District congressional seat currently held by U.S. Rep. Lucy McBath, D-Marietta... On Saturday, two days after identifying himself as “a white nationalist,” Bolena said he was persuaded by state and Fulton County GOP officials to exit the contest. “Some of it was self-inflicted. Some of it wasn’t. My account was hacked. Things have taken place,” said Bolena, wearing a red Donald Trump re-election cap, in a 22-minute Facebook video. — Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Wisc-2: Moody “The Sauk County Assassin” Gleeb. Current Treasurer of the Sauk County Republican Party, Gleeb was until recently mainly known for his youthful career as a semi-pro wrestler, which he has exploited in his maiden Congressional effort by campaigning in his old Lucha Libre-style costume, for which he is now a good forty pounds overweight. “But hey! That’s okay!” growls Gleeb, who speaks exclusively in a Sgt. Slaughter voice when campaigning, “this thing’s lycra-polyester. It moves when I move, baby! And I’m movin’ and groovin’ to Washington, D.C.! Rrrraawwwwk!” Gleeb entertains crowds by announcing that he will “murdalize” and “pulverize” incumbent Democrat Marc Pocan, and was once removed by police from his own rally at the West Towne Mall in Madison because he refused to take off his mask. “This isn’t America, this is Russia,” Gleeb screamed as he was put in the back of a cruiser.

Tenn-5: Prentice Jones. The son of a prosperous local banker, Jones is only 16 years old, but already a hit with conservatives nationwide for his “I’m Smart, You’re Dumb” YouTube videos in which he debates cardboard cut-outs of prominent young female Democrats. He has also called out current conservative youth icon Ben Shapiro, claiming he himself would “never be ratio’d like that” because “unlike Ben, I really am smart and you really are dumb.” The Harpeth Hall junior regularly challenges incumbent Jim Cooper to debate as well, which Cooper has refused on the grounds that Jones is Constitutionally unable to serve until he turns 25, a point Jones disputes on Natural Law grounds and invites all comers to debate with him on Saturday afternoons in Nashville’s Centennial Park. Jones is suing the city of Nashville for failing to protect him from being given a wedgie on several such occasions.

Fla.-9: Darrin Soto. This Kissimmee florist’s campaign strategy is to lay claim to votes cast for his Democratic opponent, incumbent Darren Soto, on the grounds that confused voters were actually trying to vote for him. The Republican Soto apparently changed his name solely for this purpose. He seems to be of Sudanese extraction and it is rumored his birth name was Gulli Gosh. He speaks very little English and has provoked controversy on the one subject on which he can make himself understood to most Fla.-9 voters: the Florida coral reef. “Him blow up,” Soto cries at his ill-attended campaigns rallies. “Mehk bomb, drop hem down. B-kuuuu! Reef goan.” He always affects hurt and confusion when this sentiment is booed but, owing to the language barrier, it is not known whether Soto (R.) is hurt and confused that spectators disagree, or that he is misunderstood, or that he is unaware he is running for elective office.

Tex.-34: Clem Warsh. Warsh’s daring, some would say foolhardy strategy is to challenge Democratic incumbent Filemon Vela in perhaps the most Hispanic district in the United States as an out and proud anti-Hispanic racist. Warsh claims not to even be from Texas, but from “the white Texas, Oklahoma,” and tours the district wearing homemade armor like Ned Kelly and screaming abuse at Mexicans. Warsh’s campaign is on hiatus as he recovers from injuries received when a spectator pushed a rattlesnake into his helmet.

Calif.-12: A machine that diffuses poisonous gas and emits loud noises. In House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s district, the Republican Party, acknowledging certain defeat, has elected to offer as a gesture of protest a “candidate” that is actually a metal box that diffuses through vents phosgene, cyanogen chloride, carbon monoxide, and other gases lethal to humans, and emits deafening shrieks and roars. Local authorities will not allow it to appear in public, which the local GOP claims, and conservatives around the country agree, is “big government socialist tyranny.” The machine is currently housed in a small stone- and lead-lined structure on the Sea Cliff estate of heiress Gertrud Sansiblee, a major San Francisco Republican Party donor, where it diffuses and emits continuously, its sounds muffled, its gases recirculated. Several prominent Republicans have made pilgrimages to the machine; after first donning protective gear, they enter through an airlock and sit grimly in Queen Anne lounge chairs, watching smoke rise from it and its surface vibrate from the sound. After a few minutes they exit and decontaminate in a nearby shed constructed for that purpose. All of them have come away renewed in purpose. “The machine that diffuses poisonous gas and emits loud noises,” says Devin Nunes (R., Calif.-22), “is the future of the Republican Party and the future of America.”