Jack Kevorkian, the infamous advocate of physician-assisted suicide, has announced his plans to run for Congress for the ninth district of Michigan, Cybercast News Service reports.
Kevorkian, who has been nicknamed “Dr. Death,” has said he has assisted in more than 130 suicides. Michigan outlawed assisted suicide in 1998. In April 1999 Kevorkian was sentenced to 10 to 25 years for second-degree murder in the death of Thomas Youk, which he filmed. The film was later broadcast on the CBS newsmagazine show “60 Minutes.”
He was paroled on June 1, 2007, and will remain on parole for two years. His parole conditions require that he not assist in any suicides and that he treats neither disabled patients nor patients over the age of 62.
Kevorkian has said he will continue to press for the legalization of assisted suicide. "It's got to be legalized. That's the point," he told WJBK-TV in Detroit, Mich. "I'll work to have it legalized. But I won't break any laws doing it."
Kevorkian must gather a minimum of 3,000 signatures on nominating petitions by July 17 to appear as an independent on the November ballot. The congressional seat is currently occupied by Joe Knollenberg, a Republican.
Mike Brownfield, Knollenberg’s campaign manager, said Kevorkian’s campaign wouldn’t affect Congressman Knollenberg. According to Cybercast News Service, Brownfield suggested Knollenberg’s Democratic challenger, Gary Peters, would be more affected by a Kevorkian candidacy.
"Gary Peters is with Jack Kevorkian on the assisted suicide issue," Brownfield said. "They'll be competing for the same votes. There will be a clear choice for voters come November."
Julie Petrick, manager of Gary Peters’ campaign, said "Anyone can run for Congress, but we're focused on our race."
Petrick said she did not see Kevorkian’s run as damaging to Peters’ candidacy. She said that Peters voted against the law to ban assisted suicide in favor of a ballot referendum.
Meanwhile, Judie Brown, president of the American Life League, has called Kevorkian a “media hound.” She said Kevorkian’s congressional run was “another effort for him to grab headlines, to bring attention to physician-assisted suicide and to continue his ridiculous claims about himself."
"I think it's a joke, and I don't think he ever will actually run for Congress," Brown said.
Though Kevorkian is a convicted felon, Michigan law allows him to vote and to hold office now that he is out of prison.