(DETROIT) — Primary election season has presented quite the spread of interesting, and flat-out peculiar, candidates, but none quite like this. Meet Taras Nykoriak, the unsuccessful candidate for the Michigan state Senate 2nd District seat who said he recently returned from the front lines of the Ukrainian-Russian conflict.
He raised eyebrows after releasing a campaign ad that features him standing in front of what appears to be a digital backdrop of a cathedral wearing priest-like clothing. He begins the ad saying, “Standing firm with the people of Ukraine – the only protection my breast plate of righteousness, my cross – I was at the front lines of the Russian-Ukrainian conflict and I’m ready to stand with the same weapons to protect and defend my constituents in Detroit’s 2nd Senate District.”
Nykoriak, who in an interview with ABC News said, “I call Putin ‘Osama Bin Putin,’” is one of the irregular, but not uncommon, perennial candidates who run for elected office every cycle. His efforts this time around failed to produce any better results than the previous attempts, as he finished last Tuesday in a Democratic primary against incumbent state Sen. Bert Johnson.
In his interview, he went on to detail his travels to Ukraine. “I was there maybe four times since the Ukrainian crisis broke out. I was there during some of the riots, and then I came to the U.S. to prepare for the elections. I went back [to Ukraine] with 28 bulletproof vests for the soldiers and some face masks and that was the last time I was there. I went to the front lines near the Ukrainian-Russian border.”
When asked why exactly he was running for the Michigan state senate seat, he said his primary goal would have been to advocate on behalf of Ukraine. “It would help to have a voice for the Ukrainian people in Michigan.”
Nykoriak was not completely ignorant of other obligations he might have possibly had as a state senator. He cited another source of motivation as well. “The second reason is to help my constituents.”
Although he finished dead last, he apparently persuaded some people to vote for him, receiving 721 votes, or 4 percent of the ballots.
Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio
Mike Price, EastIdahoNews.com
Stephen Collinson, CNN
David Goldman, CNN
Jeremy Diamond, CNN