by Adam Beam, Associated Press –
FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — Lots of Republicans like to campaign with President Donald Trump; now a candidate in Kentucky wants to campaign as Trump.
Carl Nett, a Republican candidate for Secretary of State will appear on the ballot in the May primary as Carl “Trump” Nett. State law allows candidates to have a nickname printed on the ballot, but only if they submit an affidavit under oath attesting it is their real nickname and they are not using it to “gain an advantage on the ballot.”
Nett was in the news earlier this year for sending a threatening tweet to a Democratic congressman.
Nett’s affidavit, which was signed by seven other people, says he was such an enthusiastic early supporter of Trump’s presidential campaign that “establishment Republicans” began calling him “Trump” derisively. Since then, Nett said he has embraced the nickname to the point that people who attend Republican events often yell “Trump!” when he enters the room.
“It’s not used in any advantage or disadvantage,” Nett said in an interview. “We’re six, seven months out (from the primary). It’s hard to say what the landscape will look like. Trump may be impeached by that point, if you listen to some of those in the Democrat ranks.”
Trump won Kentucky by nearly 30 percentage points in 2016, winning all but two of the states’ 120 counties. Trump even won Elliott County in eastern Kentucky, which until then had never voted for a Republican presidential candidate since its founding in 1869.
Trump remains popular in the state. Most recently, he stumped for U.S. Rep. Andy Barr in Richmond, a rally that Barr has credited with helping him win a narrow re-election over Democrat Amy McGrath on Tuesday.
Kentucky has a history of candidates using colorful nicknames on the ballot. In May, the Lexington Herald-Leader reported Jason “Booger” Jude ran for jailer in Martin County, while Donald “Duck” Moore ran for re-election as the Jackson County clerk. Some candidates don’t take any chances and legally change their names. In the 1980s, an accountant running for state treasurer changed his name to “Robert Mead, C.P.A.” He won. A few years later, a physician changed his name to “Dr. Floyd Poore” in his run for governor. He lost.
Nett is running for Secretary of State in 2019. The office is currently held by Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes, who cannot seek re-election because of term limits.
Nett says he worked for the U.S. Secret Service in the 2000s. But in March, he was in the news for sending a tweet suggesting he wanted to shoot U.S. Rep. John Yarmuth.
Yarmuth had posted a photo of himself on Twitter wearing the letter “F” as a lapel pin to boast about the failing grade the NRA had given him. Nett then retweeted that post with the comment: “Move it over just a bit. I was trained center mass.”
Nett later apologized. At the time, a spokesman for Yarmuth said he referred the tweet to the U.S. Capitol Police. But Nett told The Associated Press on Friday he was never investigated or charged.
“It was protected free speech,” he said. “But being completely candid, it was a dumb tweet, particularly with what is going on in the world today.”