It's not often that celebrity gossip site TMZ breaks Virginia political news. But then, it's not often that a White House party crasher runs for governor.
Tareq Salahi, 42, of Front Royal is pursuing the state's top job. He has filed for candidacy as a Republican in next year's gubernatorial contest, according to the site, which published a declaration of candidacy form filled out by Salahi and notarized.
Matt Abell of the Virginia State Board of Elections confirmed that he had spoken to Salahi associates about the processes, and noted that the declaration of candidacy form cannot be accepted until next year.
Salahi is the socialite and former vineyard owner who, along with then-wife Michaele, infamously crashed a White House state dinner President Barack Obama held in honor of Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in 2009.
The incident precipitated Salahi's resignation from the board of the Virginia Tourism Corp., to which he had been appointed by Gov. Timothy M. Kaine after serving on state wine boards since 2000.
The notoriety earned a spot on Bravo's "The Real Housewives of D.C." for Michaele. But the couple divorced last year after she was linked romantically to a band member from the 1980s rock group Journey.
The news of Salahi's bid for the governorship comes just days after Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, who is also running for governor as a Republican, filed suit against Salahi for allegedly cheating customers who bought wine tours from his Northern Virginia company.
Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling also is seeking the Republican nomination for governor.
Salahi could not immediately be reached for comment.
He reportedly told TMZ: "I am troubled to see how our current political figureheads continue to waste taxpayer dollars! I'm a big believer in limited government, keeping taxes, regulation and litigation low, and if I do win, everyone is invited to crash the inauguration!"
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