Here’s one of the weirder political stories I’ve read. A man born in the UK but now a naturalized American citizen, Allan Levene, really, really wants to be in the House of Representatives. And he doesn’t care where he’s elected as he’s running in two different states (and tried to run from four).
Allan Levene is what you might call a way outside-the-Beltway candidate. That’s not just because he is British-born and grew up in West Ham, on London’s dodgy East End, playing in the rubble of bombed-out buildings leveled by the Blitz. Or because he’s running for Congress in Hawaii’s 1st congressional district, 5,000 miles away from Washington. It’s also because Levene is running for Congress in Georgia’s 11th district (where he lives) and tried to mount runs from Minnesota’s 6th, Michigan’s 8th and Michigan’s 14th districts—all in the same election cycle.
So far as anyone can tell, Levene is the first person in the history of the Republic to run for Congress in multiple states simultaneously. If that sounds illegal, it isn’t. The Constitution requires only that a candidate for the House be at least 25 years old, hold U.S. citizenship for at least seven years and reside in a state at the time he or she is elected to represent it. The FEC has weighed in, and Levene can go ahead with his campaigns, as long as he raises funds separately in each state.Of course, now that he’s passed muster with the regulators, he still has to face voters, and winning them over will be a harder task. Citing logistical issues and charges of carpetbagging—to say nothing of his unusual views—political observers have written off his chances. And a poll conducted in late March found he had just 0.3 percent support in the six-way Georgia Republican primary, though two-thirds of the participants remained undecided. Given the long odds, what would compel someone to take on not just one but multiple congressional campaigns?
Levene, driven by premonitions of economic doom and a naturalized citizen’s love of his adopted country, is just unconventional enough to try. And the campaign he’s running is so shot-through with urgency, so indifferent to political orthodoxy that you have to believe a Congressman Levene would shake up Washington. “I’m doing this in parallel, not in series,” he says, as if his political career were a math problem. He’s multiplied his chances of winning, but now he’s down to two shots—and even that almost certainly isn’t enough.
Of course it isn’t enough. He’s got no shot at being elected, I’m sure. But what a bizarre story.