Saturday, January 19, 2008


Kirkus Discoveries has reviewed Richard Grayson's WRITE-IN: Diary of a Congressional Candidate in Florida's Fourth Congressional District:

Diary of a Congressional Candidate in Florida's Fourth Congressional District

Author: Grayson, Richard

Review Date: JANUARY 18, 2008
Publisher:Dumbo Books
Pages: 128
Price (paperback): $9.95
Publication Date: February 22, 2007
ISBN (paperback): 978-0-6151-4111-4
Category: AUTHORS
Classification: NONFICTION

A witty campaign diary by a wannabe Congressman far too clever to ever be elected.

In the spring of 2004, Grayson announced (mainly to himself) his bid to unseat the firmly entrenched Republican incumbent in Florida’s fourth Congressional district. Grayson’s long-shot run was made even longer by a number of factors: First, a South Floridian, Grayson had neither the time nor the money to travel to the Florida fourth, located on the Georgia border. Second, unable to afford the $9,000 filing fee, he could only run as a write-in candidate. Third, he was a gay, pro-choice, anti-war, anti-death-penalty liberal running for office in the state’s most conservative district. These insurmountable challenges—and the biting humor with which Grayson faced them—led one sympathetic journalist to call him “every seasoned politician’s worst fear: a verbose, unknown, unrestrained, write-in mock-challenger.” Grayson chronicled his efforts as a “mock-challenger” in a series of postings on McSweeney’s Internet Tendency website, and here he collects these postings in a slim, delectable volume. The author’s wry deadpan punctuates almost every entry, and his commentary is equal parts funny, sad and true. He benefits as much from his own droll intelligence as from the fact that American politics seem to have devolved into a theatre of the absurd; some of the best laughs come from Grayson’s merely transcribing passages from election questionnaires, publicity packets and political journalism that he encounters during his “campaign.” Nonetheless, the critique of election politics that his run represents is as hilarious as it is completely legitimate; gerrymandering and the incredible advantages of incumbency have resulted in a system where challengers for U.S. House seats—both “mock” and real—are defeated the vast majority of the time. And after reading this, one is left with the sinking feeling that even a thousand Graysons might never change this broken system.

Funny and devastatingly incisive.

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