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Quirky facts about 2010 political candidates

By Robert Yoon, CNN Political Researcher
Rep. Heath Shuler, D-North Carolina, is a former NFL quarterback.
Rep. Heath Shuler, D-North Carolina, is a former NFL quarterback.
  • Several former NFL football players are running for office
  • Former governors are trying to return to their previous jobs
  • Reality show stars are also vying to head to Washington

Washington (CNN) -- CNN has your guide to some oddball facts about this year's crop of candidates.

Are you ready for some football (metaphors)?

* Former Washington Redskin and Tea Party activist Clint Didier, a Republican, ran for the U.S. Senate from Washington state. He lost the all-party primary to Democratic Sen. Patty Murray and Republican Dino Rossi.

* Rep. Heath Shuler, D-North Carolina, is a former NFL quarterback who played for the Washington Redskins, New Orleans Saints and Oakland Raiders.

* Former Houston Oilers and Philadelphia Eagles tackle Jon Runyan, a Republican, is running for the House against Rep. John Adler, D-New Jersey.

Former governors looking to drop the 'former'

* Former Maryland Republican Gov. Bob Ehrlich is trying to oust the man who ousted him, Gov. Martin O'Malley, a Democrat.

* Former Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad, a Republican, is trying to make Democratic Gov. Chet Culver a former governor.

* Really former California Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown hopes to reclaim the job he held almost 30 years ago.

* Former Oregon Democratic Gov. John Kitzhaber hopes to succeed the man who succeeded him, Democratic Gov. Ted Kulongoski.

* Former Georgia Democratic Gov. Roy Barnes wants to replace the man who beat him in 2002, Gov. Sonny Perdue, a Republican.

Former senators itching to come back

* Former Indiana GOP Sen. Dan Coats is running to replace retiring Democratic Sen. Evan Bayh.

* Former New Hampshire GOP Sen. Bob Smith, who lost his primary in 2002, moved to Florida to take a crack at running for the U.S. Senate there. The result? He lost in the primary.

You've head of Javert and Jean Valjean?

The award for best ongoing House grudge match goes to former Republican Rep. Mike Sodrel and Democratic Rep. Baron Hill, both of Indiana.

Sodrel first ran against Hill in 2002, when Hill was a sophomore member. Hill beat back that challenge, but then Sodrel was back two years later in 2004. He ousted Hill that year by a razor-thin margin. Not to be outdone, Hill then challenged the incumbent Sodrel in 2006 and won. In 2008, Sodrel was back at it again, but he lost by 20 points.

For those keeping score, that's four head-to-head matchups in four elections. The score so far: Hill 3, Sodrel 1. But just when you thought it was safe to go back to Indiana's 9th District, Sodrel filed to run against Hill a fifth time. But this time, he failed to win the primary. That means that 2010 will mark the first time in 10 years that Baron Hill has run against someone other than Mike Sodrel in the general election. Stay tuned ...

Reality show stars

* Former "Apprentice" contestant Surya Yalamanchili, a Democrat, is challenging Republican Rep. Jean Schmidt in Ohio.

* In 2006, fired "Apprentice: Season 2" hopeful Raj Peter Bhakta, a Republican, ran unsuccessfully against Democratic Rep. Allyson Schwartz in Pennsylvania.

* Former "Real World" star and lumberjack athlete/Republican Sean Duffy is running to replace retiring Democratic Rep. David Obey in Wisconsin.

* Former "Real World" star Kevin Powell, a Democrat, tried unsuccessfully to defeat Democratic Rep. Edolphus Towns in New York's September primary.

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