How Iowa farm boy, 15, is pranking the presidential race
(ABC) -- It all started as a joke by a 15-year-old kid on a small-town Iowa farm. But before long, the independent presidential contender was thrust into national headlines.
His name: “Deez Nuts.”
Sophomore student Brady Olson, who lives on a corn, soybean and beef cattle farm in Wallingford, Iowa, filed a statement of candidacy form under the name “Deez Nuts” with the Federal Election Commission in late-July.
"The form was very generic, and barely needed anything to go with it," the 15-year-old told ABC News in an email interview today.
When asked why he chose that name, Brady responded with two words: "good marketing."
And it's working. The unexpected independent is surging into the national political spotlight. His Twitter account had more than 1,500 followers as of this morning. He has a campaign website featuring a strategy to get on every ballot in the country.
But his momentum doesn’t stop there. In a three-way race between Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton and Deez Nuts, a company called Public Policy Polling released an auto-dial poll with the joke candidate garnering 9 percent in North Carolina, 8 percent in Minnesota and 7 percent in Iowa.
"[I] never thought it would go this far, but now I have to run with it," said Brady, who told ABC News that, "besides myself," he supports Democrat Bernie Sanders and the former governor of New Mexico, libertarian Gary Johnson.
The media attention has been surreal, Brady’s dad, Mark Olson, told ABC News.
“[Brady] said something about filing something for the presidency. When your 15-year-old tells you that, you kind of laugh it off,” Olson said. “We’re so far out of our realm of what we do with this whole thing. I was just surprised that he was able to do what he did.
“[Brady] is getting [media requests] faster than he can answer them,” he added.
“Deez Nuts” is a popular Internet meme today, thanks to a recent video on “Vine,” but its origin can be traced back to hip-hop artist Dr. Dre’s debut album in 1992 called “The Chronic.”
So where does Deez Nuts stand on the issues? He supports deportation of undocumented immigrants without a path to citizenship, as well as a balanced budget amendment. But he also supports the Iran deal and developing green energy sources, according to the issues page of his website.
So move over, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump: Brady is going to take his candidacy “as far as America wants to take it," he told the Rolling Stone.
But the Deez Nuts campaign may hit an unexpected roadblock next week. “When school starts,” Brady’s dad said, “that’s the priority.”
Of course, there are other roadblocks. The Constitution requires the president to be at least 35 years old. And while the bottom of the FEC form does warn that “submission of false, erroneous or incomplete information” may result in a penalty, more substantial vetting happens after candidates start taking in donations and filing campaign finance forms for his committee, "Deez Nuts For President 2016."
Still, the unlikely presidential hopeful has gathered the attention of some celebrity backers, like actors George Takei and Anson Mount, and NFL player Torrey Smith.
We may not be seeing the name “Deez Nuts” on a real ballot anytime soon, but should we keep our eyes open for Brady Olson?
“It wouldn’t surprise me,” his dad said. “He’s frustrated that he can’t run for anything yet. The last election he was up all night following the results and the polls. He’s actually quite knowledgeable about politics for a 15 year old.”
Mark Olson says that while the story has been light and fun so far, it points to a larger issue: “It kind of shows the frustration with most Americans and the whole process. They are so desperate for somebody different.”
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