UPDATED: July 18, 12:27 p.m.
Tareq Salahi claims he’s running for the congressional seat now held by Rep. Eric Cantor (R-Va.), but there’s one teensy problem with his nascent campaign — namely, that he’s not a candidate at all.
On Wednesday, the White House crasher told a reporter at Richmond’s Style Weekly that he had submitted 3,000 signatures to election officials, making him eligible to get on the ballot as a candidate of the Independent Green Party of Virginia. Turns out, Salahi submitted only 2,051 signatures, and of those, only 480 were voters from the right district, the assistant to the office of the commissioner of the Virginia Department of Elections tells us. That’s far short of the 1,000 needed, and the deadline for getting more has long passed.
Salahi was notified of his failure to meet the requirements on July 7, the assistant said.
CC Harris, Salahi’s erstwhile campaign manager, seemed surprised to hear this when we called to clarify, saying Salahi had been hoping to hear back from the department after submitting his paperwork. Hmm…
This is the third elected office the former reality TV star has chased: He announced he planned a gubernatorial run (but didn’t collect the requisite signatures), then briefly ran for the seat being vacated by retiring Rep. Frank Wolf (R-Va.).
So when he announced his latest bid, Virginia’s political class wasn’t exactly quaking. More of an eye roll, really.
This time, though, Salahi had honed his message, telling Style Weekly that his riches-to-rags story makes him attuned to the plight of his potential constituents. “I’ve made millions and I’ve been through difficult times,” he told the paper. “The elite candidates can’t say that. They were born with a silver spoon in their mouths. I’ve been through all of it. That’s what you have to go through to understand the hard times people are going through in District 7.”
The “difficult times” he alluded to (a nasty divorce, money woes, multiple lawsuits) might not be behind him: He’s been renting his Front Royal home to vacationers to stave off foreclosure, which has ticked off neighbors who say the manse has become a party pad and led to a fight at the town’s board of supervisors.
Salahi’s got more drama in his past than your average pol. He and then-wife Michaele infamously crashed a 2009 state dinner at the White House, the fallout of which was captured on Bravo’s “Real Housewives of DC.”
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