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Kinky Friedman claims that he started his country-western band, Kinky Friedman and the Texas Jewboys, “in the jungles of Borneo” while in the Peace Corps in 1968. They released their first LP, Sold American, in 1973, and since then Friedman has toured with Bob Dylan, become the first “full-blooded Jew” to perform on the Grand Ole Opry stage and managed to pen 17 bestselling mystery novels. And now he could be the next Governor of Texas.
The 61-year-old (who says he got his name “mostly” on account of his hair) is not the first fringe candidate to run for a major political office, and he’s certainly not the most obscure (in a January poll taken by Rasmussen reports, he had claimed 12 percent of the votes). And clearly, by hawking 13-inch Kinky action figures for $29.99 a piece on his website and on TV, he understands the way in which resource-challenged hopefuls must embrace 21st century means of taking fundraising directly to the people. Thankfully, he has a sense of humor about the situation as well, declaring, “as the first Jewish Governor of Texas, I’ll reduce the speed limit to 54.95.”
Besides, any gubernatorial longshot short on cash is usually in it not necessarily to win it, but to create a wider platform for views and a greater awareness of himself in general. Or as the Kinkster describes his bid: It’s “spiritual” and a “twisted Camelot.” Heeb caught up with him just as his campaign had begun to pick up steam.