by Steven Hale
Jacob Maurer is a 30-year-old band director at Hillwood High School, and now, an official write-in candidate for U.S. Senate. Oh, and he does not believe that the federal government is secretly constructing a 400-yard-wide superhighway from Canada to Mexico. (We asked him directly.)
It's hard to decide which might be the bigger liability for Maurer in a statewide election: His pro-choice, pro-gay-marriage views or the fact that he says he'd "fit in with the New England left crowd." But his first campaign announcement shows he's savvy enough to identify his key demographic.
"Let's see if I can get 10 people in TN to type in my name at the polls," he wrote in a Facebook post on Wednesday. "My campaign slogan? I'm not Clayton or Corker."
As of this writing, 34 people have "liked" that post. Assuming a third of them turn out in November, Maurer will have exceeded that expectation. And as for people who are unhappy with the incumbent, U.S. Sen. Bob Corker, and embarrassed by his disavowed Democratic challenger Mark Clayton, there are certainly plenty.
“Well, you know the Clayton thing is a pretty big reason," Maurer tells Pith, when asked why he's getting in the race. "Obviously he’s not a viable candidate, not that I’m necessarily the most viable candidate in the world, but that’s just a total disaster, and I really think that in Tennessee people who are on the left side don’t get represented even by the Democrats that do get nominated because I think our party is just a little bit afraid to speak for what we really believe in in this state."
Along with being pro-choice and pro-gay-marriage, Maurer says that, while he doesn't agree with everything the president does, he supports him and will be voting for him in the general election.
"I think there’s just too many Tennesseans that are afraid to admit that,” Maurer says.
He strongly supports ObamaCare and says moving the state in a more progressive direction would help attract businesses.
So is he really going to, you know, try?
“I’m gonna do as much as I can," he says. "I teach high school, so obviously there’s no war chest. I’m going to do what I can, with what time I have to do it. Do I expect to go in and win this thing? No, I don’t."
Regardless, he says he believes it's important to get a voice in the race for lefties in the state who feel underrepresented. If he gets a decent amount of support this time, he says he'll run in the primary when Sen. Lamar Alexander is up for re-election in 2014.
Despite their displeasure with Clayton's candidacy, Maurer isn't likely to receive the endorsement of the Tennessee Democratic Party, which has encouraged Democrats to write in a candidate of their choice. Party spokesman Brandon Puttbrese says he would encourage anyone with a write-in campaign to "aggressively tell their story." He tells Pith that any decision on whether to endorse a write-in candidate, or who to endorse, would come from the party's executive committee.
The committee's next meeting is in September, and Puttbrese says he's sure this situation will be a "topic of conversation."
In any event, if you'd like to be an official write-in candidate for the U.S. Senate, fill out this form and file it with the state's Division of Elections no later than 50 days before the Nov. 6 general election.