RICHMOND, Virginia – Tareq Salahi, a Virginia vintner who achieved notoriety for crashing a White House party and later saw his wife run off with a guitarist for the rock band Journey, now says he will run as a Republican for governor of Virginia.
In a move that provoked rolled eyes and guffaws within Richmond's political chattering classes, Salahi filled out and submitted a candidacy declaration Tuesday. It came one day after another Republican candidate for governor, Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, sued Salahi and his winery. The suit claims they cheated customers who bought winery tours.
Salahi's declaration of candidacy is meaningless until Jan. 1, 2013. Virginia law prohibits the State Board of Elections from accepting the declarations until the year in which the elections are scheduled, said board senior official Chris Piper. The state's elections will be in November 2013.
Salahi and his wife, Michaele, breezed in uninvited to a White House state dinner in 2009, and were able to meet President Barack Obama. Their brazen exploit sparked concern about the Secret Service's effectiveness.
The notoriety also landed Michaele a role in the reality television series "Real Housewives of D.C.," which was canceled after one season. Later, she was kicked off another reality program, "Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew" when it became clear she was addicted to nothing more than publicity.
In more attention grabbing last year, Tareq Salahi reported that his wife had been abducted. But she had actually run off with Neal Schon, the lead guitarist for Journey. A $50 million lawsuit Tareq filed against Michaele over the breakup was dismissed.
There was no reply Wednesday to telephone messages and emails The Associated Press left for Salahi and his publicist.
Word that he had filled out a candidacy declaration was first reported on the celebrity site TMZ, and produced levity in Richmond.