After almost getting arrested at a local nursing home during his campaign for U.S. Congress and encountering a crazed anarchist named “Monkey” outside the 9th District congressional debate in Bloomington, Libertarian Greg Knott seemed to take this year’s campaign with a grain of salt.
Sitting underneath the television at Kilroy’s Bar and Grill sipping on a Newcastle Brown Ale, Knott high-fived his two-person campaign staff as results rolled across the screen.
“The nursing home must have misunderstood the meaning of soliciting, which means asking somebody for something. We were just handing out information,” Knott said. “We left before the cops came, so that’s good.”
His staff consisted of his fiancee Heather Saylor as his personal assistant and IU senior Jonathan Hilton as his campaign manager.
“Five percent! Yeah!” Knott cheered, smiling and laughing with his colleagues.
In between cracking jokes and toasting Knott’s small percentage, Hilton remarked on his perspective of the opposing candidates.
“Todd Young is a decent fella, but he doesn’t hold a candle to the greatness that is Greg ‘NO BULL’ Knott,” Hilton said.
“NO BULL” was Knott’s campaign nickname, which he said was necessary in the race.
“Nicknames are allowed, so why not use that nickname as a platform as well?” he said.
“NO BULL” was also an acronym for Knott’s positions on the issues of government bailouts, the overhauling of tax cuts for jobs and lobbying in Washington D.C. He said his positions added to his appeal with a younger voter base.
“I do think I’m going to do well with the IU students,” Knott said. “We have mostly college-age males supporting us. The students may be naive, but they aren’t willfully ignorant. They are curious and want to learn.”
Knott said during the Oct. 18 debate, his points on governmental policy were not acknowledged as being valid by Republican Todd Young or Democrat Baron Hill.
But Knott didn’t seem phased by this, clinking glasses with his colleagues when his numbers remained at 5 percent an hour after the first round of results
Knott and Saylor said they knew his candidacy wasn’t being taken seriously, but that it was chalked up to be a good experience for the future.
Knott called himself a “recovering Republican,” similar to a recovering alcoholic,
He said in the future he may choose to run under the title of a Republican while maintaining his political views.
“I don’t know what they were pumping into the womb,” he said. “But my mother must have been listening to public policy, because I’ve always been interested in it.”
Knott’s congenial attitude should have lent itself to a more friendly candidacy race this year, but he said his attempts to befriend his opponents and their staff were not appreciated.
“After the Jasper debate, I invited my competitors’ staff to a German restaurant, but no one from the other campaigns came,” he said.
“The campaign staff — the people who sedate them — would have enjoyed it.”
Hilton reminisced about the 20 different kinds of sausage and German beer on tap the restaurant had, which he said he was glad to enjoy without the opposing parties.
Adding to the lighthearted mood of the evening, Hilton sarcastically remarked about the standoffish nature of Knott’s opponents.
“We usually have slumber parties and pillow fights,” Hilton said. “I was there for one. Todd Young got a bloody nose and Baron Hill refused to do it. Greg came out on top though.”
But reflecting on the campaign brought nostalgic feelings for Knott and his staff.
“On the way over, I got hit by a strange feeling,” Hilton said. “It was kind of like finishing a book — sort of relieved, but also sort of sad it’s over.”