Political satirist Bill Maher added U.S. Rep. Steve Southerland of Florida’s 2nd Congressional District as the newest candidate for his “Flip-A-District” contest.
Maher chooses two U.S. House members each week for a March Madness-type bracket competition as a way to discover exactly who is the “worst” congressional representative in America.
Since January, Maher asked his audience to submit names of their least favorite congressional representative, especially one who expects to face a tough challenge in the 2014 midterms.
After analysis, the show will choose one member of Congress, and Maher will follow up on the lawmakers through November by giving examples of the representative’s “terrible work” on the show.
He will also travel to perform his stand up routine in the chosen district, just to “stir up hostile feelings toward the show’s target,” according to the New York Times.
Maher calls the bracket “Tweet Sixteen.”
Throughout the 2014 election cycle, Real Time viewers — through the #FlipADistrict Twitter campaign — will decide which Representatives are placed in the bracket, and who will be the “winner” of the matchups.
Southerland represents Tallahassee and Panama City, as well as the eastern part of the Florida Panhandle.
Maher blasted the Bay County Republican, the co-owner and president of Southerland Family Funeral Homes, as a mortician that wants to “embalm” food stamps more than anything.
“He’s the leader in the House to reduce benefits, an evangelist who believes strongly in Jesus’ message to the poor – ‘shut up and get a job,’” Maher quipped.
The two-term Republican faces Democrat Gwen Graham, daughter of popular former governor and Sen. Bob Graham. She has been steadily wrangling with the Tea Party Republican over his calls for the repeal of Obamacare, his role in the 16-day federal shutdown last year and voting against the reauthorization of the Violence against Women Act.
In the Flip-a–District bracket, Southerland faces U.S. Rep. John Kline from Minnesota’s 2nd Congressional District, who been in the House since 2003. Students there mounted a Twitter campaign that sent Kline “skyrocketing all the way to No. 1,” because he wrote a proposal to reduce the budget deficit by raising rates on student loans.
If Southerland does make it through the bracket to become the ultimate “winner” in Maher’s Flip-a-District, he will then be the focus of negative ads sponsored by Maher’s SuperPAC during the November midterm elections, with the ultimate goal of sending the “worst” House member packing.