Jimmy Farris loses bid in Idaho; sports’ other election-night winners, losers

November 7, 2012

(Matt McClain / Special to The Washington Post)

Former Washington Redskins wide receiver Jimmy Farris, inspired to run for office by Barack Obama’s 2008 election, lost his longshot bid to upset a Republican incumbent in Idaho’s 1st District congressional race Tuesday night.

He isn’t likely to abandon his political aspirations, though. As he told The Post’s Rick Maese recently: “I hope now is that time for me,” he said. “But if I don’t win, I’ll take the time off, get a job, live in the real world for a while. And then I’ll gear back up and do it all again in 2014.”

Farris wasn’t the only man with NFL ties involved in Tuesday’s election. George Allen, a Republican and the brother of Washington Redskins General Manager Bruce Allen and son of the former Redskins coach George Allen, lost to Tim Kaine in the Virginia U.S. Senate race.  

A man with another tie to a classic NFL team, Tom Rooney, fared better. Rooney, a nephew of Pittsburgh Steelers owner Dan Rooney, easily won re-election to his House of Representatives seat in Florida. Rooney is a Republican; Dan Rooney was appointed ambassador to Ireland by President Obama in 2009.

Two other former NFL players also lost their bids for election. Clint Didier, former Redskins tight end, was defeated in his race to become the public lands commissioner in Washington and Phil Hansen, former Buffalo Bills tight end, lost in his bid for a seat in the Minnesota legislature. He was running as a Republican.

Jon Runyan, a Republican and former lineman for, among other teams, the Philadelphia Eagles, held onto his Congressional seat in New Jersey.

Athletes with basketball ties came up short overall. Although Fred Smith, the former Harlem Globetrotters player, won his bid for a seat in the Arkansas legislature as a Green Party candidate, Al Lawson, a Democrat, lost in a Florida Congressional race and Danny Tarkanian, son of former UNLV coach Jerry Tarkanian, lost in the Nevada race for a House seat.

Ben Chandler, the grandson of former baseball commissioner Happy Chandler, lost in Kentucky, where he was running for a House seat as a Democrat. Florida Republican Congressman Connie Mack IV, great-grandson of Baseball Hall of Famer Connie Mack, lost his bid for a Senate seat.

Linda McMahon, from the WWE, lost in Connecticut, where she was running as a Republican for a U.S. Senate seat. Jim Renacci, a Ohio Republican and former Arena Football League owner, was re-elected to the House of Representatives. 

After spending most of her career in traditional print sports journalism, Cindy began blogging and tweeting, first as NFL/Redskins editor, and, since August 2010, at The Early Lead. She also is the social media editor for Sports.
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