People who have never actually held elected office decide they can run for Congress all the time. Often, it's because they're rich, or crazy, or both. Other times, it's because they're married to someone who has held elected office. Sometimes, it's because they were mentioned in a stump speech by a famous politician and became A Thing, briefly. Sometimes, it's entirely unclear why. Rarely is it because they almost single-handedly stopped a major terrorist attack in the middle of New York City. In fact, this is the first time that's happening: Duane Jackson, the Times Square T-shirt and purse vendor who stopped a car bombing in 2010, is challenging Republican incumbent Nan Hayworth for the House seat in the traditionally moderate nineteenth district, outside New York City.
Jackson, a disabled Vietnam vet and, now we know, Democrat, lives in Buchanan, home to the Indian Point Power Plant. He told the Associated Press that he's used to the bright lights of fame. "I had a call from President (Barack) Obama, I had people from all over the world come and thank me for, you know, seeing something and saying something." Presumably, a version of that last bit's his working campaign slogan as well. He knows some guys who can sell campaign merchandise, too.