Texas Candidate: Yes, That's a Body Double Riding Bull in Ad

Jersey native Dan Rodimer is taking flak over his new ad
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 30, 2021 8:44 AM CDT

A congressional candidate who lost in November is running again. That in itself isn't so surprising, but Dan Rodimer is making headlines because he's now running in an entirely different state—he lost in Nevada and is now running in Texas only months later. More than that, though, the Republican is making headlines because he made an ad about bull-riding that has drawn ridicule from both sides of the political aisle, reports the Washington Post. Coverage:

  • The ad: Watch it here. A gravelly voiced Rodimer, or "Big Dan," drawls about defeating the "communists in DC," and Nancy Pelosi in particular, while wearing a cowboy hat. The video purports to show him riding a bull, though it never shows Rodimer's face.
  • In contrast: When Rodimer ran in Nevada, he had a much different persona, and seemingly a higher-pitched voice, as a suburban dad and small-business owner, per American Independent. See ads here and here.

  • Criticism: Democratic candidate Lydia Bean tweeted, "I know you're new around here so let me introduce you to an important Texas phrase: all hat, no cattle. Doesn't take a bull to notice someone completely full of it." But it wasn't just Democrats pouncing. "Fake Texan makes fake video of fake bull ride," tweeted GOP Rep. Matt Gaetz of Florida. "We already have enough phonies in Congress," he wrote. "Texans, please send this Nevada man back to his true home state (where he lost two prior elections)."
  • An admission: In an interview with CNN Monday, Rodimer acknowledged what internet sleuths have alleged: that the ad used a body double. But Rodimer (a New Jersey native and former pro wrestler) insists he rode the animal. "I actually stayed on for 11 seconds and the only reason I was able to get off—well, unfortunately my hand was stuck, so I couldn't get off sooner—we didn't get the full filming of it, and, yeah, we had other people jump in to be body doubles."
  • In defense: In regard to his voice, Rodimer tells CNN it's "shot" from campaigning, which is why it sounds so different. And of accusations that he's not a real Texan: "You know, we have an old saying here in Texas—'I may not have been born in Texas, but I got here as fast as I could.' And that's why we came back." Rodimer's campaign website says he used to live in Houston and Galveston, though neither is near the district where he's running, south of Dallas.
  • Old accusations: All of this is dredging up old allegations against Rodimer, including two 911 calls in 2018 made by his girlfriend (now wife) alleging that he stole money, guns, and jewelry from her. However, she defended her husband in a campaign video of her own. Rodimer, who stands 6-7, also pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor battery charge in 2010, while in college, over an altercation at a Waffle House, per the Post. He addressed that in a campaign spot in Nevada. And the AP reported in 2019 that he was accused of punching men outside nightclubs in 2011 and 2013, though neither incident resulted in charges.
(More congressional candidates stories.)

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