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SCV junior high teacher launches ‘long-shot’ campaign for Senate

Posted: January 9, 2016 12:22 p.m.
Updated: January 9, 2016 12:22 p.m.
Von Hougo. Von Hougo.
Von Hougo.

Successful politicians usually have a few things going for them: strong name recognition with voters, political party support and plenty of money.

Saugus resident Von Hougo is admittedly short in all those areas, but that hasn’t stopped him from launching what he freely acknowledges is a “long-shot” bid for one of California’s seats in the U.S. Senate.

“I think it’s a long shot,” he said in an interview this week. “But you go through history, and a lot of the changes in our country have been absolute long shots.”

How will Hougo, an eighth-grade science and video production teacher at Arroyo Seco Junior High School, get the word out about his candidacy? By running a grassroots campaign driven by social media.

How will he compete financially? He doesn’t plan to.

“I’m not even going to try,” he said. “I’m not taking any donations because any donation makes you beholden to somebody.”

Hougo has never run for political office before, but the way he sees it, that’s a good thing.

“At this point, if you vote for a candidate from either party, what you’re essentially voting for is for them to vote on party lines every time,” he said. “What I’m giving people here is a chance to have their vote count on every single issue.”

Hougo is a Republican — “because that’s the box I checked when I was 18,” he said — but he’s “conservative or liberal depending on the issue.”

His campaign includes one major platform. Hougo wants to create a secure website where eligible California voters could choose whether to support or oppose any bill that comes before the Senate.

Whichever side is the public’s will, he said, “that’s the way I would vote every single time.”

Hougo faces an undeniable uphill battle in the race to replace retiring Democratic Sen. Barbara Boxer.

The primary election looms in June, and other candidates have huge leads both in terms of exposure and the size of their war chests.

Despite all that, Hougo said he’s not backing down.

“If I could pull this off somehow, and it’d be a miracle if I could, every politician in this country would have to take notice,” he said.
On Twitter @LukeMMoney


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