Move over Mickey Mouse, Ham Sandwich is working on a write-in campaign.
Prince William area Republicans didn’t offer a candidate for Commonwealth’s Attorney this year, but that hasn’t stopped a conservative write-in campaign for Hamilton “Ham” Sandwich, Esq.
The movement’s Web site says Ham Sandwich was born at Omar’s Drive-In in 1956 and was raised in Virginia.
Interest in Sandwich has skyrocketed since his mention on National Public Radio’s “Wait, Wait Don’t Tell Me” quiz show on Saturday, said Greg Letiecq, spokesman for the campaign.
“This is a feel good, nice race and politics can be sort of depressing sometimes with how ugly it gets,” Letiecq said. “But this is an opportunity for folks to get involved in a happy way and not feel like they’re participating in ugliness.”
Regarding the candidate’s qualifications, one local expert – Mary Ann Kauchak, food columnist for the Potomac News and Manassas Journal Messenger – said that a decent ham sandwich should be “good and smoky.”
“The Cuban sandwich is the hottest thing in the deli world, right now,” Kauchak said. “I’m not really crazy about Virginia ham, though. You need a sweet biscuit to go with Virginia ham and a good pickle helps, too.”
Ham Sandwich’s campaign manager is “Dillon Pikkel,” who was quoted in a recent press release, “The voters are clearly hungry for Ham Sandwich’s positive message and compelling vision.”
Sandwich’s candidacy seems ridiculous to Commonwealth’s Attorney Paul Ebert, the Democratic incumbent who hasn’t faced a challenger for 12 years.
The lack of challengers is a signal that voters are happy with the job he’s doing, he said.
“I guess I’ll be in a position to devour my opponent,” he said in a phone interview on Tuesday.
Ebert said he would decline any request by Sandwich to debate him.
The idea to promote a sandwich as a candidate for the county’s top prosecutor came from another local blogger, Jim Riley, said Letiecq.
“He’s been lamenting that no one wanted to run against [Ebert],” Letiecq said. “Write-in candidates are the last bastion of true democracy. Parties can’t mess with it. It can’t be subjected to conventions.”
“People say they don’t have a choice,” Letiecq said. “Well you do, you have to mount a write-in campaign.”
Sandwich won’t criticize Ebert because he plans to sign a clean-campaign pledge, Letiecq said.
And Ebert said he’s not going to bash Sandwich.
“It’s a free world,” he said.
Letiecq is working now to organize a political action committee to begin raising money and holding campaign events according to Virginia’s election laws.
“We might break some new legal ground there,” he said.
But he doesn’t want to break the law. That’s why his group didn’t try to get Sandwich on the ballot.
“The purpose is to not just make a good showing, but to actually win this race,” he said.
He hopes to have people standing in front of polls to teach voters how to cast write-in candidate votes on Election Day. He estimates that Sandwich would need thousands of write-in votes.
It’s not unusual for fictitious names to appear on write-in ballots.
Mickey Mouse nearly always makes a showing and last year in Manassas one voter cast support for Donkey Kong, a decades-old video game character.
Letiecq said Sandwich has mass appeal.
“Obviously he has a very rich cultural background that should resonate strongly with voters of all cultures,” he said. “Ham Sandwich is truly an American story.”
A loyal campaign supporter, Letiecq said he doesn’t actually eat ham sandwiches.
“Because it’s not a good idea for a campaign person to consume his candidate, I generally have turkey clubs.”
To view the Web site go to votehamsandwich.com.