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Inside Politics

Springer for the Senate?

By Bill Schneider
CNN Political Unit

Jerry Springer
Jerry Springer

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WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Most candidates struggle to get attention and name recognition. Here's one who doesn't have to.

This week, talk show host Jerry Springer filed papers so he can raise money to run for U.S. senator from Ohio next year. He's a liberal Democrat, in a state that hasn't elected a Democrat to statewide office since 1992. What is he thinking?

On a June 12 episode of "Crossfire," Springer said, "Let's have at least one voice that is outside of the box, isn't part of Washington, that isn't part of the elite, [and] that isn't ... trying to fit into the club."

Springer claims to speak for a neglected constituency. What, people who curse and throw furniture? Well ... yes.

"Someone has to be fighting and speaking just for ordinary hard-working Americans that don't have all the breaks," said Springer.

Fighting, he knows.

But here are some things you might not know about Springer.

In the 1970s, he served five terms on the Cincinnati City Council. And got elected mayor in 1977 -- at age 33.

He survived a personal scandal.

"I once wrote a check to a prostitute, which was five years before I ever became mayor of Cincinnati," said Springer on "Wolf Blitzer Reports" in January.

He's been a generous Democratic campaign contributor, giving $20,000 to the New York Democratic Party's 2000 Senate campaign. Hillary Rodham Clinton owes him.

He won eight Emmies as a TV news anchor and political analyst. Political analyst? How low can you go?

And Springer's got a powerful campaign theme: "I don't need this."

"Running for office isn't going to make me famous," Springer said. "Running for office isn't going to make me rich. Running for office isn't going to do anything for my career. It's just something I might care about."

And, it's just something that might get him the political Play of the Week.

You know what? Even if they both get elected next year, we will never see a race for president between Jerry Springer, Democrat, and Arnold Schwarzenegger, Republican, who is considering a run for the governor's office in California.

Both of them were born overseas -- Schwarzenegger in Austria, Springer in England. That makes them ineligible to be president.

As our Political Editor John Mercurio says, "A nation's dream, vanished, in an instant.''


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