The Isaac Hayes Who Doesn't Sing

Young Boozer, Krystal Ball, Say 'Vote for Me' Despite Odd Names

Isaac Hayes is a Republican minister and first-time candidate running for a congressional seat in Illinois. He's up against Jesse Jackson, Jr., the current Democratic congressman and son of the Rev. Jesse Jackson.

Mr. Hayes, 36, is not the late singer-songwriter famed for the theme song from the 1970s cult film, "Shaft." The son of a minister, "my parents allegedly named me after Isaac in the Bible," he says. He didn't like that as a kid. Now, he says, "I think my mom and dad were geniuses."

Mr. Hayes, who is black, has themed his campaign, "Let's give Jesse the SHAFT."

He hasn't the money to conduct polls or use the Shaft riff for his radio advertisement, but Mr. Hayes says he is running a strong challenge to Mr. Jackson. The shared name, he believes, is an "icebreaker" among African-Americans suspicious of the politician's conservatism. Mr. Jackson's campaign says the congressman is still solidly in the lead.

"I'm not the musician, but I do have hot-buttered soul," says Mr. Hayes, referring to the artist's 1969 album, "Hot Buttered Soul."

Comment: Others: Young Boozer, "Dick" Swett, Krystal Ball, Rich Whitney (his surname was misspelled as "Whitey" on touch-screen voting machines in some mostly black wards)

At one point in his race, Mr. Boozer received a cryptic email. "I predict you are going to win your election," it read. It was sent by Krystal Ball.

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