This clown wants your vote for Congress.
In this case, that isn't a negative description. Steve Lough, a candidate for Congress in South Carolina's 5th District, is a former professional clown for the Ringling Brothers circus.
Lough is leaning into his unusual resume, appearing in clown makeup in a promotional photo and registering the domain name ClownForCongress.com.
"They joke that the president and Congress are all clowns," Lough said in announcing his candidacy. "Well, in my professional opinion, they are the worst clowns I've ever seen."
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A Democrat, Lough says he wants to use his clowning to promote universal access to health care and the need to reform U.S. gun laws. The Camden native says the 2012 shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School hit him hard because, at the time, he was working in North Carolina schools as part of anti-bullying initiative.
"For the next six months, I couldn't sleep, felt depressed, and every time I worked with a 6-year-old volunteer in the show, I was reminded of the horror of that day in Newtown," Lough said. "When none of our gun laws changed, I got mad."
Lough says he graduated from both Dartmouth College and Ringling Bros. Barnum & Bailey Clown College. He said he volunteered for Barack Obama's presidential campaigns in 2008 and 2012 and Vermont U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders' bid for the Democratic nomination in 2016.
Two other Democrats have filed to run against GOP incumbent U.S. Rep. Ralph Norman, R-Rock Hill, in the 5th District race. Also in the race are Archie Parnell, who narrowly lost to Norman in a 2017 special election, and Mark Ali of Rock Hill.