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Republican congressional candidate Nicholas Di Iorio is such a long shot in his bid to unseat Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-Manhattan) that he and his campaign manager are proposing to turn his campaign into a paying gig -- a reality show.
In a letter to the Federal Election Commission on June 4, and follow-up conversations, Di Iorio's campaign manager, Joseph Shippee, said he had been approached by a producer and a lawyer looking for two congressional candidates "whose odds of winning were very low."
Ever optimistic, Shippee continued, "Nick appears to fit this description: He is running as a Republican in New York."
After describing how the show might work, Shippee's first question to the FEC was: "Are Nick and I allowed to be paid?"
The FEC has not issued an advisory opinion on the request yet.
Shippee said in the letter that he and Di Iorio didn't cook this up with friends -- he said the people who approached them were not friends and that he had never been in contact with them before.
In further conversations with the FEC, according to an email attached to the letter, Shippee said Di Iorio had already signed a consent agreement with the show's producers, and that the cable network potentially interested is the Esquire Network, which caters to 25- to 50-year-old men. If Esquire doesn't buy it, it's dead.
The producers would film interviews with Di Iorio and others in the campaign, closed-door meetings with Di Iorio and the staff, and his public appearances. The show wouldn't air until after the election, and any ads that ran before the election would not include his name.
Di Iorio and Shippee say they would get around the problem of any payments from the producers or network being considered in-kind payments to the campaign by simply taking the money themselves personally and by delaying the airing of the show until after they lost the election.