Politics

Dem Senate Candidate: Being Called a ‘Tool’ is a Good Thing

As a Princeton student, Ohio hopeful championed bright pastel polos, making ‘a ton of money’

P.G. Sittenfeld / Facebook

P.G. Sittenfeld, a Democratic candidate for the U.S. Senate in Ohio, encouraged freshmen at Princeton University to celebrate being called a "tool" when he was a student there.

Sittenfeld, a 30-year-old Cincinnati city councilman, penned a 2005 opinion article for the Daily Princetonian meant to educate the incoming class of students on the "ropes" of Princeton.

"It’s … probable that you will be called a ‘tool.’ You may even be dubbed a ‘massive tool,’ or, for the truly elect, a ‘power tool,’" Sittenfeld, then a junior, advised incoming freshmen.

"To be a tool at Princeton most often means that you’re a participant in student government, are an uber-preppy dresser and are going to make a ton of money after college. All of which suggests you’re doing alright for yourself."

The English major directed the "sweet, naïve" freshmen to thank individuals who dubbed them with the slang word.

"The next time someone points out your toolishness, no need to lose your temper. Instead, just smile, say thank you and go change into an even brighter pastel polo shirt," Sittenfeld wrote.

According to Sittenfeld, "overeager tool bags" were a fixture on the Princeton University campus.

Sittenfeld also warned new students not to assume that the "promiscuous blondes" attending the university were not as hardworking as their peers.

"You may find yourself feeling intimidated by how impressive your peers are–including some you might not even expect. You know that promiscuous blonde down the hall? Yeah, well, she spends her weekends volunteering in Trenton and in a couple of years she’ll be the one graduating Phi Beta Kappa," he said.

Sittenfeld penned several pieces for the Princeton newspaper during his time at the school, commenting on the tradition of "spooning" and the function of the "man date," among other topics. He has also made contributions to the New York Times.

Sittenfeld will compete against Ted Strickland, the state’s former governor, in the 2016 Democratic primary for the chance to face Sen. Rob Portman in the general contest.

Polls suggest that the city councilman is the underdog. As of late August, 88 percent of Ohio adults hadn’t heard enough about Sittenfeld to develop an opinion of him, according to a Quinnipiac University survey.

While Strickland has ties to Bill and Hillary Clinton that could prove fruitful in his pursuit of the nomination, alumni from both the Obama and Bill Clinton administrations have helped Sittenfeld raise money for his Senate bid.

When Sittenfeld announced he would run for Senate, the National Republican Senatorial Committee said his entry in the race proved that the Democratic Party has hit "rock bottom."

"Clearly, national Democrats have hit rock bottom if they are hitching their electoral hopes in Ohio to an overly ambitious 30-year-old city councilman whose Senate candidacy is nothing more than a disingenuous attempt to get closer to his ‘hero’ President Obama and his reckless policies," Andrew Bozek, the committee’s communications director, said.

"While Rob Portman wakes up every day fighting for Ohio families, P.G. Sittenfeld wakes up thinking about what office he can run for next to advance his political career."

The Sittenfeld campaign did not immediately respond to a request for comment.