GOP presidential candidate Mark Everson has an unusual, personal, and emotional pitch to voters.
Everson, the relatively unknown former IRS Commissioner under George W. Bush, became the first Republican to officially launch a presidential campaign on Thursday. He kicked off his bid by releasing a when he released a 16 page “Letter to America” that focused on both his policy ideas and past personal problems
In his letter, Everson disclosed his past extramarital affair, divorce and the abortion of his unborn child.
While Everson served as head of the tax agency from 2003 to 2007, his first wife, Nanette, worked as chief ethics counsel for the Bush White House. They had three children together before their marriage ended.
Everson’s letter described the “dramatic changes” that occurred in his personal life after the Bush administration, During his six-months as CEO of the American Red Cross in 2007, he engaged in an affair with a married subordinate who ultimately became pregnant.
He left the non-profit after the board requested his resignation in November 2007. He subsequently divorced his first wife and welcomed a fourth child from his extramarital relationship. Everson has not remarried but is raising a five-year-old son with his former mistress in Mississippi.
“My marriage failed. It was entirely my fault. I am not proud of the job I did as a husband. And like many Americans, my youngest child’s mother and I were not married when he was born,” Everson wrote in a section of the letter titled “Social Issues.”
In a corresponding YouTube video for his campaign launch Everson also acknowledged his turbulent personal life.
“I’ve made mistakes but at 60, I’m wiser and humbler than I once was,” he said.
Everson also used the letter to share his views on abortion in his letter and open up about his own “painful” experience with the subject.
“Many years ago, an unborn child of mine was aborted, and I still wonder what that man or woman would be like today,” he writes.
Everson opposes the termination of a pregnancy unless the woman’s life is at risk.
While deeply personal in some portions, the letter also presents the rationale behind the six pillars of his campaign platform: his support for providing amnesty to undocumented immigrants, the re-establishment of the draft (which may or may not include women), his pledge to serve only one term in the White House, tax reform, the call for corporate responsibility, and deficit reduction.
Everson, a native New Yorker, had previously served as deputy commissioner for the Immigration and Naturalization Service under President Ronald Reagan. He entered the private sector in the nineties, before he returned to the government to work for Bush.
From 2009-2010, Everson served in the cabinet of Indiana’s Republican governor, Mitch Daniels. He is now with the tax services company, alliantgroup.
Everson’s campaign will be based in Mississippi but the bulk of his staff will be in Iowa, his spokesman told Business Insider.
With a “small staff in place” currently, the spokesman said fundraising efforts will begin Thursday. Additional team members will be added in Iowa to focus on targeting the state’s 99 counties by August.
Everson told the Associated Press he has an estimated net worth of $US3 million and plans to invest $US250,000 in his campaign.
“I wouldn’t be doing this if I didn’t believe I’ve got a chance,” he told the AP, adding, “I think that who becomes president is not up to Wall Street and the fat cats across the country. It’s up to the voters.”
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