With the help of reality TV, a local man aims for the White House

| 28 Sep 2011 | 02:13

    SPARTA - There's a possibility that Ed Schwartz of Sparta could become the next president of the United States. Schwartz, 49, has applied to become one of 12 individuals chosen to participate on Showtime's reality TV series "American Candidate." The show is to be aired starting in June, with a winner selected in October, just in time for the election. The selection of the 12 candidates is to be made sometime this month. Although Schwartz says he is taking this one step at a time, should he be chosen, he is considering taking a leave of absence from his full-time job to travel the country and debate the other 11 candidates. The cable station FX ran a television advertisement about 18 months ago, looking for applicants for its reality show. Schwartz took this opportunity and ran with it. He sent in his 25-page application along with the required video, only to find out FX dropped the program because of financial reasons. Later, Schwartz was contacted by Showtime, which chose to host the program instead. Showtime now sponsors approximately 200 Web sites, one for each of the potential candidates for the show. Schwartz, who has been living in Sparta for almost two years, has been involved in politics all his life. In junior high school he opened debates on the Vietnam War and in high school helped to organize the first U.S. Senate campaign for Bill Bradley. He has hosted a radio political talk show and ran for local offices in Orange County, N.Y. Currently, Schwartz is commuting from Sparta to West Virginia, where he is the president of the International Academy of Design and Technology, a school that offers associates' degrees in communications and technology areas. He and his family have plans to eventually move to West Virginia. "Unfortunately, I have never settled down in an area long enough to run for town council or to get involved locally. My career has forced me and my family to move all over the United States and I haven't settled in one place long enough to do this," said Schwartz. "Other than writing letters to the editor, the only other venue I've had to be vocal on issues that are important to me has been the Internet." According to the reality show organizers, the winner of the show will win $200,000, which can be used to declare as a write-in run for the presidency. "The idea of a reality television show sends the wrong signal but they are doing it correctly. The reality of becoming president through this show is minimal, but you never know where it can go," said Schwartz. "The average person can lead this country. You have to have a knowledge base and surround yourself with the best and the brightest. I'd hire the best people to advise me to get where I want to go with my visions." To learn more about Schwartz's platform or for more information on the show, visit americancandidate.com