The first round of votes has come in: Reps. Michael G. Grimm of New York and Blake Farenthold of Texas are “fan favorites” — to be ousted from office in November.
The two lawmakers are among the total of 16 House Republicans who will be nominated via Twitter by the public over the coming weeks as part of political comedian and liberal firebrand Bill Maher’s #FlipaDistrict campaign .
Once all the candidates are narrowed down “bracket-style,” Maher will target the “winning” incumbent for defeat in the midterm elections.
Maher won’t be running himself, of course, but the host of HBO’s “Real Time” has plenty of money to throw behind the official Democratic challenger, plus a coterie of fans enthusiastic to aid in the effort. Grimm is the more vulnerable of the two lawmakers, hailing from a GOP-leaning district that still has proclivities to vote Democratic. In 2008, voters ushered in, albeit for one term, their first Democratic House member in decades. However, Grimm’s tenuous standing is due mostly to his checkered reputation in the House. He’s under federal investigation for campaign finance fraud and recently made national headlines for threatening to throw a local reporter off the Cannon balcony.
In a brief interview with CQ Roll Call a few weeks ago, Grimm signaled he wasn’t terribly concerned about popping up on Maher’s target list .
But on his show on Friday night, Maher said he’s keeping his fingers crossed that Farenthold will prevail.
“I’m pulling for this guy to win,” he explained. “He’s the poster boy for why we are doing this. He won in 2010 by 799 votes and then they redistricted it. They gerrymandered it and in 2012, he won, going away, by 18 points.”