What do a felon, an adulterer, an alleged fraudster and a man accused of sexual harassment have in common?
All four are running for U.S. Congress, and despite controversies, all of these candidates have chances of winning on Election Day.
These candidates include a House candidate from California who has been accused of sexual harassment, a New York congressman who has been federally indicted on tax fraud, an ex-governor turned ex-con from Louisiana as well as a Louisiana representative who came to be known as the “kissing congressman.”
After serving almost nine years in prison after an extortion conviction, Edwin Edwards is running to represent Louisiana’s 6th District.
Edwards was first elected to Congress 50 years ago and went on to win four terms as a Democratic governor by using campaign slogans such as, “Vote for the crook. It’s important.”
In the current cycle, Edwards faces a tougher race as a Democrat in the district Mitt Romney won 2-1 in the 2012 presidential race.
Also running for Congress in Louisiana is Rep. Vance McAllister, the Republican congressman caught by a security camera kissing his scheduler earlier this year.
McAllister dropped his reelection bid, but returned to the race with the support of his wife, Kelly McAllister, who appeared with him in a campaign ad saying, “I'm blessed to have a husband who owns up to his mistakes.”
Republican candidate Carl DeMaio of San Diego has faced allegations of sexual harassment during his congressional campaign.
Former campaign staffer Todd Bosnich told CNN DeMaio repeatedly touched him inappropriately.
“He reached over into my lap and grabbed my crotch, and I flipped out,” Bosnich said, describing one incident.
Another time, Bosnich said DeMaio called him into his office as he was masturbating.
DeMaio denies the allegations and says his accuser broke into his campaign office after he was fired earlier this year, though no charges were filed.
Despite the negative headlines, DeMaio’s campaign is still neck and neck.
Polls show Rep. Michael Grimm (R-New York) has a slight lead over his opponent, even though Grimm will fight charges next month that include perjury, obstruction of justice and tax evasion.
Grimm gained publicity in January when he threatened to throw a reporter off a balcony after the reporter asked about alleged financial wrongdoing in his campaign.
Grimm told the reporter, “I’ll break you in half. Like a boy.”
Notwithstanding this incident, former New York Mayor and Republican presidential candidate Rudy Guiliani endorsed Grimm for Congress.
David Wasserman, the U.S. House editor for The Cook Political Report, describes 2014 as a great year for “bad boys” in Congress, saying few election cycles involve this many congressional candidates with legal or personal troubles who also have strong chances of winning.
“As long as you're wearing the right colored jersey in your district, it doesn't matter if you're wearing a jumpsuit in a couple of months, you still have a shot at winning your seat in Congress,” Wasserman told CNN.
Anderson Cooper goes beyond the headlines to tell stories from many points of view, so you can make up your own mind about the news. Tune in weeknights at 8 and 10 ET on CNN.
Questions or comments? Send an email
Want to know more? Go behind the scenes with