White House Gate-Crasher Running for Governor as 'Independent Republican'

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Tareq Salahi — the less glamorous half of the couple who crashed President Obama's first state dinner in 2009 — is running for governor in Virginia as an "Independent Republican," the Hampton Roads Daily Press reports. The former The Real Housewives of D.C. star has been flirting with a run for governor since last fall, but clashed with the state party over signing a pledge, required for all Republican candidates, to support the eventual nominee. Salahi said he couldn't support Virginia attorney general Ken Cuccinelli, a conservative who led the court fight against Obamacare.

Cuccinelli allies changed the nominating system from a primary to a closed convention, the Daily Press explains, which led to a more traditional candidate, Lt. Gov. Bob Bolling, to drop out of the race and flirt with an independent candidacy. In his press release, Salahi said Republicans "are weary of the GOP's growing inability to produce a candidate with enough bipartisan appeal to win a general election" and that "[p]andering to extremist agendas is alienating voters." However, Salahi isn't just running for the sake of the party. He first told reporters he might run after Cuccinelli filed a suit against Salahi over his wine-tour business, alleging it ripped off customers.

Just because Salahi is running as an independent doesn't mean he's not very serious about his campaign. In December, TMZ reported Salahi rented a tour bus once used by President Obama. The gossip site reported Salahi thought it would bring him "good luck." But crashing Obama's fancy White House party brought him mixed luck in the past. Salahi filed for divorce from his wife Michaele Salahi after she ran away with a Journey guitarist.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.