Florida Politics

‘He-Man’ qualifies for special Florida Senate election ballot

“He-Man” is running for the Florida Senate in Miami — and no, he says he did not make up his nickname for the sake of politics.

Christian “He-Man” Schlaerth qualified Tuesday for the Senate District 40 special election. His name will appear that way on the Sept. 26 ballot.

Schlaerth filed a sworn affidavit attesting that his nickname is real: It’s what his rugby teammates have called him for years, he told the Miami Herald.

“In rugby tradition, we have nicknames. Your teammates usually give it to you,” Schlaerth said, recounting when he joined the University of Miami’s college team in 2005. “I showed up to practice, and I was the biggest, strongest guy on the team at the time.”

And so, “He-Man” was born.

As evidence that his nickname existed before the election, as required by Florida law to be on the ballot, Schlaerth provided the state with a copy of a May 2017 newsletter for the German American Social Club which lists “Christian ‘He-Man’ Schlaerth” as a candidate for the board.

“It’s how I get introduced to people a lot,” Schlaerth told the Herald. “My campaign manager, he didn’t know my name was Christian for the first six weeks I knew him.”

The campaign manager, David Neil Jones, attested in his own affidavit filed with the Florida Division of Elections that he met Schlaerth in June 2016.

“I was introduced to him as ‘He-Man,’ call him by that nickname and can affirm that he is generally known by that nickname,” Jones wrote.

Schlaerth, an adjunct sociology professor at Barry University, Miami Dade College and the University of Miami, is running without party affiliation to replace Sen. Frank Artiles, a Republican who resigned last month. Schlaerth is a registered Democrat, though he said he is disillusioned with the party following President Donald Trump’s win last November.

He declined to provide a candidate photo, saying he hasn’t posed for a professional portrait yet.

“I’m running because I care,” said Schlaerth, 36, who is originally from western New York. “The other candidates are all career politicians. I've adopted Miami as my home, and I really do care about the people in my district.”

Schlaerth intends to run as an “anti-establishment” candidate.

“But that doesn’t necessarily mean I’m crazy,” he said. “I’m trying to bring something fresh to the state Senate.”

He most identifies with the “Social Democratic Labor Party,” he said — a group he helped found with his friends in January unregistered with the state — and hopes to “fight for the worker.” He pledged not to take money from corporate donors and run on the slogan — adapted from the He-Man comics — “We have the power.”

“Being an elected official means you’re a public servant,” he said. “I’m not doing this to enrich myself.”

Miami Herald writer Martin Vassolo contributed to this report.