Name Change: Candidates Ditch Their Birth-Names, Run for Office on Made-Up Names
Two House candidates are running under names they created themselves.
Nov. 6, 2012 -- At opposite ends of the country, two House candidates, with vastly different agendas, are running under names they made up themselves.
Voters in South Florida's 25th Congressional District will see an unfamiliar option on congressional ballots today: 32-year-old first-time candidate VoteForEddie.Com. Voters in Idaho's 1st Congressional District, meanwhile, will see a familiar choice: 72-year-old strawberry farmer "Pro-Life," who is making his fourth consecutive bid for major office.
They are the only two candidates running for federal office under such irregular names, according to the Associated Press list of nationwide candidates. They've undergone the legal name-changing ordeal, they say, with very different goals in mind.
Running against incumbent GOP Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart, 32-year-old Eddie Gonzalez thought he might have a better chance with a catchier name, one that could draw a few headlines and some Web traffic along with them. In early January, the candidate says, he legally changed his name to "VoteForEddie.com" and collected more than 2,300 signatures to qualify on the ballot as a party-unaffiliated House candidate. Although he still goes by Eddie, the Florida secretary of State's office confirms that his name will appear as "VoteForEddie.Com" on ballots.
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For VoteForEddie.Com, the point was getting on the ballot and launching a political career.
"My campaign wouldn't have been able to raise enough money, let alone send a flyer," VoteForEddie.com told ABC News. His family supported the decision, he said: "My parents thought it was incredibly original, and that it was impressive how much play an independent candidate can generate just by taking a unique approach to getting his name on the ballot."
A series of national interviews have made the change worth it. Eddie is pushing for a national energy policy to lower gas prices and lower oil-company profits, and he's proposed a tax cut for first-responders, a measure he believes could succeed at a local or state level. If his congressional bid fails, Eddie said he may run for city council or state rep. The name likely isn't permanent -- it depends on the election.
"If I am lucky enough to be elected, I will not be elected as VoteForEddie.Com. I would more than likely go back to Edmund Gonzalez," he told ABC News last month. This weekend, though, he wasn't so sure. "I'm gonna wait and see, because maybe enough voters actually like the fact that I'm completely different."
"Pro-Life" on the other hand, has been at this for a while.
The man formerly known as Marvin Richardson says he's been an anti-abortion activist for years, and that he first changed his middle name to "Pro-Life" in 2004, inspired by another anti-abortion activist who used the same name.
"The reason I did this was maybe because 'Pro-Life' Anderson -- he and I were friends. I watched him run for lieutenant governor. He was kind of a flamboyant guy. I'm not necessarily trying to be flamboyant. My whole reason that I do what I do is to make people accountable for hearing the truth, because I believe there's a great judgment where we'll all be judged -- that's what we're told in Scripture … so if people don't hear that abortion is murder, then they can't be judged for that."
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