His flavour? Strawberry kiwi. His goal? To break through to the hearts of young voters.
B.C. comedian Danny Nunes is running to be the next mayor of Terrace — dressed in a red Kool-Aid Man costume.
“Rather than break through walls we’re gonna break through your hearts,” the 35-year old said, holding a sign that reads “Oh Yeah!” while campaigning on Lazelle Avenue last weekend.
“That’s going to be a Hallmark card, by the way.”
Nunes chose the Kool-Aid man as a satirical nod to his idol, Andy Kaufman.
“I am sure you have heard the phrase, ‘don’t drink the Kool-Aid’ during elections or about political parties,” he wrote.
Nunes runs a video production business in Kitimat called Matthew Mask Productions, producing comedy sketches and generating revenue through advertisements and sponsorships. His Dare To Be Stupid Show has gained an audience of close to 200,000 subscribers and has been featured on Canadian and American media channels, including Much Music, The Comedy Network, and G4TV.
His campaign video has received over 3,000 views since it was posted on July 19. Nunes said he hopes his run will attract a younger demographic to the polls this October.
“It’s an emphasis on trying to get young people out to the polls to vote, and try and get the voter turnout in Terrace up a little bit higher than usual,” he said.
Terrace saw a 31.7 per cent voter turnout during the last municipal election in 2014, with only 2,444 ballots cast out of a pool of 7,716 eligible voters.
Since his announcement, Nunes has been popping into several events downtown, talking with residents while dressed head to toe like a gigantic jug of juice — an approach, he hopes, will bring a new outlook on this election cycle.
“We find that a lot of local issues here don’t come to the forefront because it seems like the voter demographic is very skewed for an older audience, so we have a giant mascot Kool-Aid Man costume,” he said. “It’s a unique way of telling people there’s an election coming up. How do you get young people to turn out to the polls? This is how you do it. Through Kool-Aid.”
Though he is new to campaigning in Terrace, this isn’t the first time Nunes has made a run for the mayor’s seat. In 2011 he ran for the mayor of neighbouring Kitimat, where he still lives, and despite his slogan “Don’t Vote for Danny,” he received 3.5 per cent of the vote — that’s 100 people checking off his name at the ballot box.
So what happens if he wins?
“I would probably weep in the corner in a fetal position wondering ‘why did you vote for me?’” Nunes said with a laugh.
Terrace Mayor Carol Leclerc said she first saw Nunes in the Kool-Aid man costume when she was getting coffee downtown and didn’t make the connection at first.
“It seemed a bit of a satire is what it seemed like, but yeah, if Danny wants to put his name forward, he should put his name forward,” Leclerc said over the phone, mentioning that she believes it’s important to get more of the electorate out to the polls.
”I think that we definitely need more voters to come out.”
Elected as Terrace’s first female mayor in 2014, Leclerc said she is ready to put her name back into the race.
“It’s a great job to be the mayor when you’re passionate about your community, you’ve got the time to put in for your community, you want to hear what people’s interests are and try to do good things for your community. Why wouldn’t you run for mayor?”
Whether Terrace is ready for the Kool-Aid man or not, Nunes officially made his decision public outside City Hall as he picked up his nomination papers on July 27. He said he’s also looking into whether he can run to be the mayor of Kitimat at the same time and has a meeting scheduled with Elections BC next week to go over the details.