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Published: Thursday, 10/12/2006

Don't vote for me - please!

IN THE intense push to get out the vote during the final weeks before Election Day, it would appear that one candidate on the ballot in Minnesota has it all backwards. But the novelty of a would-be politician running scared of winning at least provides a comedic break from the contentious norm.

Paul Herold entered the primary for a city council seat in a suburb of Minneapolis-St. Paul with every intention of conducting a successful campaign. Yet soon after filing for the race, he landed a new job.

Unfortunately, he decided the new gig wouldn't leave him much time to be an effective officeholder. But the conflicted Mr. Herold missed a deadline for removing his name from the ballot and was stuck in a race he can't afford to win.

The desperate anti-hopeful pleaded with his local paper for non-support and volunteered to drive friends and neighbors to the polls providing they vote for anyone but him. But as bad luck would have it, Mr. Herold came in second in a three-way race, advancing to the general election in November.

Now he's aggressively campaigning for his opponent, urging people to retain the incumbent because it's the only way he'll get off the hook of serving in elected office. In a tumultuous campaign season where candidates fight bruising battles for votes, there's something oddly refreshing about the "Don't Elect Me" candidate from Blaine, Minn., running hard to lose.

Now, what happens if he wins? Well, it could revolutionize political campaigning.

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