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The staff of the Tampa Bay Times

The most unusual name on the 2008 ballot




Pole sitter H. David Werder waves from his 30 foot pole along Gulf To Bay Boulevard in Clearwater in November 1983. Werder sat on the pole for 439 days and came down from his perch in January 1984. [Steve Hasel | Times (1983)]

UPDATE: Read full story here.

Go the the state elections Web site to see the full list of candidates on this year's ballot and you'll find probably the most unusual name ever: H. David "the flag-pole sitter" Werder. Seriously, check it out.

Werder is a candidate for the Democratic primary in the 5th Congressional District, a seat held by Republican Virginia "Ginny" Brown-Waite of Brooksville.

His official ballot name references his legend as Clearwater's most famous trespasser. From November 1982 to Jan. 21, 1984, Werder sat atop the 30-foot flagpole, setting a world-record 439 days, 11 hours and 6 minutes.

Werder was given permission to sit on the flagpole by the owners of Jersey Jim Towers, an appliance store, then at Gulf-to-Bay Boulevard and U.S. 19 (now the home of Sam's Club), who thought it would be good publicity.

As time passed, Werder said he was there to break the Guinness Book of World Records mark for pole sitting, to seek "fortune and fame" and to protest the price of gas -- then an appalling $1.20 a gallon.

Hernando County elections chief Annie Williams couldn't believe it when told of Werder's official ballot name. She's still checking to see if that's how voters will see it Aug. 26.

--John Frank, Times staff writer

[Last modified: Wednesday, May 26, 2010 11:29am]


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