Jesse T. Smith, the Democratic Party’s candidate in Alabama’s 3rd Congressional District, has had trouble gaining much traction in the heavily Republican area.
The 3rd District is rated R+16 on the Cook Partisan Voting Index, meaning that a generic Republican on the ballot starts with a 16-point advantage over a generic Democrat. On top of that, Smith is challenging Mike Rogers, a well-known and popular incumbent who has been representing his District in Congress since 2003. In 2012, 90 percent of House Members who sought re-election.
The long odds have compelled Smith to take an unorthodox approach to his campaign.
Most recently, he unsuccessfully attempted to stage what he claimed to be the country’s first ever “Twitter debate.” The effort was unsuccessful mainly because he was the only candidate debating, as Mike Rogers apparently didn’t even know the so-called debate was taking place.
On Monday, Smith decided to take a different approach: say something outlandish in hopes of getting attention — and it may just work, although it might not be the kind of attention he wants.
Monday night just after 10 p.m., Smith sent out a tweet from his campaign account claiming that the Republican majority in Congress is “worse than ISIL,” commonly known now as the Islamic State, a terrorist organization sweeping across Iraq and Syria and slaughtering thousands in its wake.
Included in the tweet was an image of Uncle Sam kneeling in prayer, saying “Dear God, I bow my head and ask, if it by (sic) Thy will, please save this land from those who seek to destroy it. Amen.”
— JT Smith (@jt4congress2014) September 2, 2014
Smith is a U.S. Army veteran who served two tours in Bosnia, two tours in Germany and two combat tours in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom, where he says he was “among one of the first convoys to enter Tikrit Iraq prior to the capture of Saddam Hussein, so he presumably understands the weight of his claims against Congressional Republicans.
A request for comment from the Smith campaign was not immediately returned.
UPDATE: Smith posted this on his Facebook page in an attempt to clarify his comments:
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