Allan Levene is bringing the term "carpetbagger" into the 21st century.
Earlier this year, the 64-year-old Georgia Republican was running for Congress in four different states, a move that is as legal as it is revolutionary. After various setbacks forced him to pull out of GOP primaries in Minnesota and Michigan, he has refocused his efforts on his campaigns for Georgia's 11th District and Hawaii's 1st -- making him the first person ever to run for Congress in multiple states simultaneously.
The U.S. Constitution only requires that a member of Congress be a resident of the state upon election, which allows Levene to run in both primaries and establish his residency in either state prior to the general election. Of the Founding Fathers' apparent oversight, Levene told the Atlanta Journal Constitution, they "couldn't conceive of people running in more than one geographic area."
Although Levene's tactic is groundbreaking, he has almost no shot of winning either race. As Roll Call put it, "To make a fascinating story short, what he amply manifests in ego and aspiration he totally lacks in political acumen."
Levene, a naturalized U.S. citizen who was born in England, is a self-employed IT expert and holds political views that are a bit unconventional. Politico described him as a mix of Julian Assange and Alexis de Tocqueville. He has argued that the U.S. financial system will completely collapse in the next five years, and his platform includes such original proposals as eliminating all corporate taxes and creating a "New Israel" out of land in Texas. (Levene is Jewish.)
Levene's story remains fascinating if only because of its ingenuity.
Getting elected may be a local game, but Levene has based his campaigns on the premise that "my ideas transcend local politics." In an interview with NPR, he equated his strategy with Hillary Clinton's decision to move to New York for her Senate campaign.
"No matter where you win a seat in Congress," he told CNN, "you go to the same building. You do the same work. You can work for your constituents, which all have similar needs, but the key is you go to Washington and help solve the country's problems."
While Politico points out that politicians running in border districts could potentially benefit from Levene's strategy, Thomas Mann, a congressional scholar at the Brookings Institution, told The Huffington Post that Levene's strategy is "completely flakey" and that he "can't imagine such a scenario" ever working.
It is especially difficult to understand Levene's strategy in Hawaii, a state he has only visited three times in his life, and where an understanding local quirks, federal earmarks and the unique culture are almost as important as which high school you attended.