A former professional clown wants to join the circus in Washington.
Steve Lough, who has worked for Ringling Bros. circus, is running for the Democratic nomination in South Carolina’s 5th Congressional District.
And, he’s leaning into his past profession. His campaign website is registered under the domain clownforcongress.com which includes a photo of him in clown makeup and videos of him juggling, asking South Carolinians to get out and vote in the June primary. His campaign signage features the “o” in his name as a red clown nose.
His campaign slogan – “Aim High! Vote Lough!” – is a play on the phonetics of his name, which is pronounced like “low.”
Lough is one of three Democrats candidates vying to face off against Republican incumbent Rep. Ralph Norman, who was a former real estate developer before he was elected to Congress. He won last year’s special election to replace former Rep. Mick Mulvaney, who left the House to serve as the director of the office of management and budget.
Norman eked out a 51-48 percent victory against Democrat Archie Parnell, a former Goldman-Sachs managing director and ex-tax attorney for ExxonMobil, in a district Trump won by 18 percentage points in 2016.
Despite last year’s competitive race for the seat, experts currently believe Norman will likely win reelection in November. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee recently added the race to its list of battlefield districts, hoping a presumed strong year for them will flip this seat held by Republicans since 2011.
The other Democrats in the current primary field include Parnell and Mark Ali, a former undocumented immigrant, according to his Facebook page.
Lough also has Ivy League chops; he graduated from Dartmouth College with a degree in anthropology before attending Ringling Bros. Barnum & Bailey Clown College and later joining a troupe.
Lough, a first-time candidate, said he’s against arming teachers in schools, supports an assault weapons ban, wants a single payer health care system and believes Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals recipients should be naturalized citizens, according to his campaign website.
Lough said on his website that horror of the 2012 shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut is what motivated to him to consider a run for public office and he touted his experience in the circus as a prerequisite.
“Living on the train, touring America by rail and working with performers, both human and animal, from all different parts of the world was the best education of all!” he wrote on his campaign page. “When you sweat beside a person and laugh with them, wherever they are from, whatever the color of their skin, whatever God they worship, you learn to love all of humanity. Those values, love, mutual respect and a common goal of working together to put on The Greatest Show On Earth are what Steve hopes to bring to the Congress of the greatest country on earth!”