There’s been a familiar voice from the rock ‘n’ roll era who Democrats have turned to in special elections to help them hit the right notes with voters.
Crooner Jon “Bowzer” Bauman, of the ‘50s-style rock and roll group Sha Na Na, has appeared time and again on the trail with candidates, particularly working to reach out to seniors who may fondly remember the group from their television show, on air from 1977 until 1982, but later nationally syndicated.
And he’s at it again for Democrat Elizabeth Colbert Busch in Tuesday’s bitter contest against Republican Mark Sanford.
The gregarious singer and actor always plays up the charm he had on the show, and changes the words from one of their covers of “Blue Moon.”
“Bom bom bom bom a dang a dang dang, vote for Colbert Busch,” the singer crowed on the trail in this week in South Carolina.
“She’s got a lot of syllables ,” Bowzer told msnbc by phone, where he was canvassing in Charleston. “It’s harder than other candidates.”
Bowzer’s no stranger to the special election circuit. His first appearance was in the 2010 Pennsylvania special election where Democrat Mark Critz won. In 2011, he was on hand for a pair of heated specials in New York. He saw Democrat Kathy Hochul win a GOP-held seat, but in the Queens-based district where he grew up, his candidate Democrat David Weprin lost to Republican Bob Turner.
Until that special election to succeed Anthony Weiner, he had a perfect record, and some Democrats even joked he was their good luck charm. He’s even done wake-up calls for Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee staffers, though he didn’t for the South Carolina race.
But he says his travel isn’t on the DCCC’s dime, with the singer paying his own way to the contests. He also appears as a spokesman for the Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare.
“One of the things about special elections is that they’re the only thing going on at that time so everybody’s attention is focused generally on the special,” said Bowzer. “In special elections you can really focus your race on one candidate.”
But one thing he saves for a victory party with the candidate: the signature “muscle” pose he did on the show.”
“I am looking forward to doing that tonight,” laughed Bowzer.