First two names picked for Bill Maher's 'Flip a District' contest

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Comedian Bill Maher on Friday named the first two congressmen, Republican Reps. Blake Farenthold (Texas) and Michael Grimm (N.Y.), in his "Flip a District" bracket.  

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Grimm made the list because of his dustup with a reporter after the State of the Union address earlier this year, when he threatened to throw the reporter off a balcony for asking a question about his ethics investigation. 

"He is a guy who thrust himself into the running this year by threatening to throw a reporter of the balcony in the Capitol," Maher said on his program "Real Time with Bill Maher." "He seems to be all of Staten Island distilled in one man, and there is a lot of enthusiasm out there for making him go away."

Maher, however, said he is pulling for Farenthold to ultimately win the comedian's bracket competition, asserting the congressman is the "poster boy" for "Flip a District.” Farenthold won a tight race in 2010. His seat became safely Republican after redistricting, and he ended up winning by about 18 points in 2012. 

Because Maher's effort is aimed at competitive districts, he said the race would have to tighten for it to be considered. 

"Folks, we need a realistic chance," Maher said. "So if pajama boy is going to be our guy, you folks down there in Corpus Christie district need to get his lead down into single digits. I am not a miracle worker." 

Maher is soliciting suggestions through social media for 16 names in an NCAA-style bracket. His staff will eventually narrow the field down to one. Maher will then actively campaign against that congressman in an attempt to unseat the incumbent.  

Maher has said there are a lot of "terrible, entrenched" incumbents in the House, and his effort is aimed at ousting one of them by using his celebrity to shine a light on the race. He is expected to travel to the chosen district to perform stand-up comedy and highlight the chosen lawmaker on his television program.

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