The Pennsylvania police chief who recorded viral YouTube videos in which he fires guns and refers to Democrats as “libtards” has declared himself a write-in candidate for the Schuylkill County sheriff’s office, the Pottsville Republican-Herald reported Friday.
Mark Kessler, the police chief in Gilberton, Pa., announced the write-in campaign on his website and Facebook page this week.
“I’ve been kicking it around for a long time,” Kessler told the newspaper of his plans to run for the office, adding that he had switched his party affiliation from Republican to independent despite pressure from “Republican elites.”
“It’s going to be a tough run,” he added. “I probably have a popularity vote, but since my name isn’t on the ballot, it’s going to be tough. It will be a miracle if I win, but I’ll give it a shot. It will let me get my message out. Maybe the people of Schuylkill County will elect me as sheriff, but I’ll throw my name into the ring and see what happens. I’ll try my best.”
Kessler was suspended from his post for 30 days for using Gilberton Borough’s guns in the YouTube videos, and town officials plan to hold another disciplinary hearing on Sept. 19, according to the newspaper. The police chief recently told TPM that he’s been teaching people how to shoot guns in the interim and befriended James Yeager, a fellow gun rights activist.
Catherine Thompson is a senior editor for Talking Points Memo in New York City. She came to the site in 2013 and reported on national affairs. Previously, she worked as a research assistant to investigative reporter Wayne Barrett. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.