70-year-old Los Angeles native Ted “Theo” Crisell is a well-traveled, passionate patriot and a life-long “dark horse” political candidate. He has run and lost elections for the Orange County school board (at the age of 21), Los Angeles mayor, US Congress, and California governor in 2014. Now he’s running for governor for the second time for the 2018 election.
“People say, ‘What do you want to accomplish?’ I say, ‘I want to get on the ballot,'” he said at a recent interview with Epoch Times.
“I’m the little guy. I’m a peon. I’m a nobody.”
But this may be simple modesty, coupled with a determination not to take large donations from anyone, ever, and the realization that it may not work, again.
“I’m asking for one dollar,” he said, with a twinkle in his eye. “I’d love to have you donate. Give me a dollar. And invite me to your house for a cup of tea with some friends, and I want to ask all of them for one dollar.”
Crisell’s resume may make him an even more unique candidate.
He has studied economics, business, philosophy, and law, and has been an actor since the age of seven. He is a flamenco dancer, tennis player, martial artist, and sailor. He has traveled around the world five times, visited 74 countries, and lived in India for two years, where he at one time worked with Mother Teresa.
He was also a Rotary International Graduate Scholar, the recipient of a Freedom Foundation Award, was named student body president at Chapman University World Campus Afloat and Orange Coast College, ran his own development and construction company for 20 years, and founded the World Peace Project, for which he has worked as an international speaker for 40 years.
“I’ve always been in conversation for peace,” he said. “I’ve been failing so far, because I’m not doing a good job. Peace is not with us yet. But I’ve found self-peace.”
Crisell’s most passionate concerns are the plight of the homeless and the education of children. He supports 100 percent free education and ensuring California teachers are the highest paid and best educated in the world.
“If you’ve got anybody who’s downtrodden or [considered] ‘the little people,’ I’m on their side. You want to know where I am on every issue? I’m on [the side of] the underdog. I’m not on [the side of] the powerful and the wealthy and the rich.”
The candidate does however want to work with the rich to somehow create a profitable way to get the homeless off of the streets and into housing.
“I know the wealthy mentality. I’ve been wealthy, but I’m also now poor. But I’m not poor mentally. But I know that you have to give them (the wealthy) incentives. Let’s give the poor people incentives, the 99 percent, and the one and two percent, the elite. Let’s give them the incentive to grow America, incentive to grow California. Give them advantages.”
Crisell supports controversial issues such as Calexit: California declaring independence from the US (but Oregon, Washington, and maybe Nevada can come too). He also wants to bring ocean water inland to places like the shrinking Salton Sea, invest in desalination plants, and create whole new cities.
However, he acknowledges that he does not have all the answers.
“I want the best and the brightest,” he said. “I want people brighter than me around me. I want to be challenged.”
For his campaign, Crisell plans to visit 58 Indian tribes in California, many community colleges, and as many minority communities as possible. His heroes include John F. Kennedy, Mahatma Gandhi, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Nelson Mandella, and Bernie Sanders.
He has had sharp words for other California gubernatorial candidates, Gavin Newsom and Antonio Villaraigosa, who both had extramarital affairs and have admitted to alcohol abuse. But he especially loves criticizing soon-to-be president Donald Trump, calling him “dangerous” and “evil.”
“Trump is nuts, absolutely insane,” he said. “The president of the Phillipines is a raving maniac, and they thought he’ll get better while he’s in power. He’s gotten worse. Trump will not get better with power. He will get worse and worse and worse. Guaranteed.”
Crisell says California won’t have these issues with himself as governor.
“I’m about ethics. I’m about integrity. I’m about honesty. I’m about values. I’m about compassion, not greed. I’m about caring about people.”
Crisell still acts in movies professionally and has produced his own independent films under Crisell Global Productions. He even taught Dustin Hoffman how to dance the flamenco in Little Fockers.
He also enjoys tutoring children in math and reading in his free time.
“You have to have purpose. You have to have meaning. My life has meaning. It’s to help people, do good,” he said. “I figure I could sit at home and watch TV and be an old 70 year old man or I can be an activist.”
Crisell laments the state of modern society, comparing it to a sinking Titanic, where people are jumping off the sides, descending into substance abuse, and committing suicide.
“But there’s a group of us, a small group up here playing violins, dancing, singing, drinking champagne, and we’re saying, ‘Come up and join us.’ And if enough of us come up here, we could right the ship.”
“I’m going to run a heck of a campaign for a nobody,” he said.