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Rick James' famous name hurts campaign

April 13, 2005 at 9:36 PM

HATTIESBURG, Miss., April 13 (UPI) -- A Hattiesburg, Miss., city council hopeful with a famous name says his campaign signs are being stolen by local fans of another Rick James.

Rick James, a Democratic council candidate in Hattiesburg's Ward 4, shares his name with the recently deceased funk singer/songwriter popularized by an infamous sketch on Comedy Central's "Chapelle's Show," which lampooned James the artist, the Jackson Clarion-Ledger reported.

"My mama gave me that name," James the politician said. "I didn't just pluck it out of the air for a publicity stunt."

He added: "We can put 10 signs up, and they're gone the next morning, At $5 a pop, I figure we're out about $400. We're not rich people and we're down to about eight signs.

"And it's affecting the election. You see your opponents' signs up everywhere, but where's mine? On somebody's wall, I suppose."

James' plight gained national attention when his wife, Diane, e-mailed Comedy Central with a request for reimbursement.

"I wrote them half-jokingly," she said, "but the next thing I know, the New York Post is calling and Comedy Central is releasing a statement."

In its statement, the network said it regretted the thefts, but made no mention of reimbursement, the Clarion-Ledger said.

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