Distinguished residents of the Pine View Senior Center,

On Tuesday, Nov. 2, our district will hold an election for its seat in the state senate, and you, as citizens of this great nation, will be called upon to take part in our democratic process and exercise that most vaunted right: the vote. I ask you, Pine View residents, when you enter that booth Tuesday, to vote for me, B. Paul Knefler. Because I have no hands-on experience in government, I stand before you with this promise: If I am elected, I will be truly surprised.

Some of you may recognize me as the guy who runs for office a lot. In the past, I've sought seats on the school board and in the city council. Last year, I even ran for mayor. Today, I cast my hat in the ring once more. The state-senate run marks my most ambitious, and most absurd, campaign to date. Please flabbergast me with your support.

As the independent candidate, I'll be facing off against Democratic incumbent Martin LaSoeur and Republican challenger Elizabeth Cowles. But unlike Mr. LaSoeur and Ms. Cowles, if I'm chosen to represent you in our state government, I will be amazed. For, as with my previous campaigns, this one will be characterized by poor organization, ill-defined purpose, and confusing rhetoric. From my opposition to "ideology" in the public-education system to my bizarre municipal-bond-burning stunt in front of City Hall, I will do nothing to convince you, the voters, that I am qualified to hold office.

Several elements of my personality doom my candidacy. Key among my flaws: I don't understand the issues. Many of you are upset about what you call "property taxes." I must say, I don't care about that issue. I've lived with my elderly mother in the same house since the day I was born. My mother holds the title to the home and is therefore responsible for the tax payment, which her pension and Social Security cover. Another common constituent concern is "urban sprawl." This issue, I don't understand. The papers this morning indicate that "a vociferous minority, angered by the town of Eden Grove's unauthorized annexation of nearby Munkado, is calling for the reform of state annexation laws and a reassertion of property rights for individuals." Very complicated.

Another factor contributing to my guaranteed failure is my fixation on a few narrow issues. Citizens, if you choose to let me represent you in our senate, I will eliminate public sewers. I associate sewers with the degradation of the individual citizen's autonomy. (The aforementioned municipal-bond-burning was related to this issue.) Also, I pledge to introduce the ovenbird to our district's ecosystem. The ovenbird is a magnificent bird.

My fellow citizens, a politician must serve his constituents tirelessly and understand their needs. I am not this man. During my travels across this district, I have met dozens of voters. I have seen them squirm under my glassy-eyed gaze. I have clasped their hands in my sweaty palms for much longer than is socially acceptable. I lack character and basic social skills. Why I must involve you, the people of this great state, in my vain grab for office is something that I will explain in a moment. For now, I promise each and every one of you that I will continue to campaign awkwardly until election day in November.

Right now, I am lagging in the polls, but I will mask my fear by adopting a blustery mien and peppering my conversation with grandiose, and usually misapplied, political terms. Few will be fooled, if the public's response to me at a recent debate on city cable channel 17 is a reliable indicator. When I wasn't making long-winded, irrelevant, disconnected remarks or staring into space, I burst into loud and inappropriate laughter. This performance earned me the ridicule of the local alternative weekly newspaper, which referred to me as a "drool case."

Yet, in the face of the obvious and inevitable, I will continue to stump for votes. Is it because I want the flacks at the state capitol to know that it's no longer politics-as-usual in the 31st district? Not really. Is it because I wish to sow the seeds of reform in the minds of voters? Eh, no. Such causes might motivate underdog candidates in their quest for public office, but they don't concern me. So why do I run? Because, good people, if you find it in your hearts to send me to the State Capitol next January, not only will you be springing me from my mother's home, but you will also rescue me from the drudgery of the 15 or 20 hours of work I put in at my uncle's grocery store each week.

Before I go, let me remind you that, unlike the other candidates who hide behind lies and half-truths, I offer only the facts. The first of these facts: I don't stand a chance. The second: If, by some freak occurrence, I am voted into office, I will suck as your senator. Seriously, if elected, I will absolutely blow balls. In return for your support, you will receive nothing.

Thank you, and God bless this state.