Campaign 2000: The Elvis National Party, Part III: Elvis Party Split, Rouge Candidate Could Be Awarded Matching Funds
BILLINGS, MN — In a stunning announcement given in the lobby of the Montana State House this morning, Elvis Aron Presley has stepped forward to claim the candidacy of the Elvis National Party. The shocking move has left the Elvis Party divided and put the Federal Elections Committee in the difficult position of deciding which ticket should get the matching government funds to run its campaign.
"I have remained silent for as long as I could," said Presley, widely thought to be dead since 16 August 1977. "The Elvis National Party claims to stand for the things that I would stand for, to voice the opinions that I would voice, but instead it has turned into a forum devoid of merit, having very little to do with anything Elvis-related. Elvis Jerome has taken something pure and twisted it to serve his own ends, and I simply won't stand for it any longer. Like school vouchers. How could anyone think that I, Elvis Presley, would support school vouchers? And term limits? Elvis does not support term limits. Let me make that point as clear as I can make it. As the man this party was named for, I demand to be placed at its head and to run alongside the other legitimate candidates for president."
The husky Presley, wearing a trademark white sequined jumpsuit with an American flag cape, was introduced at the press conference by long-time Elvis Party member and National Society of Elvis Spotters president, Howard Gervis. When later asked about the announcement, he said, "This is exactly what I have always wanted. This is what the Elvis party was meant to be. There is no question which candidate I will support. I think it is clear where party loyalties should lie."
The announcement comes just as Elvis Jerome Presley and running mate Ron Calhoon have begun to show their largest gains in the polls. Polls published yesterday show Elvis National Party support as high as six percent in some key southern states and as high as eighteen percent in Nevada and Hawaii, a large enough margin to worry Republican candidate George W. Bush and Democratic candidate Al Gore. It is uncertain what effect the recent and unexpected reappearance of "the King" will have on the party.
From a campaign stop in Topeka, Kansas, Elvis Jerome Presley, or "Eee Jay," as the media has taken to calling him, said, "This is absolutely ridiculous. Everyone knows that Elvis died years ago. The fact that this imposter is able to grab so much media attention and so much FEC attention is just another sign that the election process in this country needs revamping. The man is dead. End of story."
It is far from the end of the story for the FEC, however. Although the $12.6 million in matching funds is still expected to go to the already-nominated Elvis Jerome, an official inquiry has been established to look into the matter. The situation has been complicated by Elvis Party leadership calling for a new round of primaries and a new convention in light of this morning's announcement. Early polls show that as many as a third of Elvis Party membership supports a new round of caucuses.
Elvis Jerome aides are still holding firm to their stand that Elvis Aron Presley is dead and therefore ineligible for matching funds. But the Eee Jay camp does recognize the potential influence of another Elvis in the national spotlight. In what appears to be an effort at hedging their bets pending the outcome of DNA testing, Elvis Jerome released a statement pointing out that "even if this new candidate is the real article, the King has very little political experience and would therefore be ill-equipped to handle the nation's highest office." Elvis Aron defended himself by pointing out that while working in a bait shop in Goose Creek, Montana over the last two decades he was active in local politics, even serving one term as mayor, though under an assumed name.
While the results of DNA testing are not due back for almost a month, the FEC is expected to announce its decision later this week. Both sides plan on appealing if they are unhappy with the decision. Regardless of the outcome of the FEC funding award, many fear that a party rift this late in the campaign may be a death blow to any hope the Elvis Party has of making an impact on this year's election. Said one Elvis Party member, "I don't know if he's the real Elvis or not. But he couldn't have picked a better time to kill the Elvis Party."
[Continue to Part IV.]