Alan Benyak has some advice for anyone who hasn’t shared his experience of spending a week as a political football.
“I actually would tell anybody,” said Benyak, “that if someone asks you to volunteer for some governor’s ad, not to do it.”
In 2014, the lawyer and occasional film actor found himself at the center of a mini-controversy on the campaign trail. Then-candidate Tom Wolf’s gubernatorial campaign yanked a television ad from the airwaves after it was reported that featured supporter Benyak had also starred in “Breeding Farm,” a smutty horror film with frontal nudity and depictions of torture.
The Wolf campaign hastened to distance itself from Benyak, who was featured among other Jeep owners speaking in support of Wolf. The governor made his devotion to his Jeep a central theme of his folksy gubernatorial campaign.
“I was asked to be in that ad because I, at the time, drove a Jeep,” said Benyak. “I’d never do that again.”
Now, Benyak is returning to the political stage, hoping for more than a cameo role. He’s seeking the Democratic nomination for the state House seat of retiring Rep. Pete Daley.
The Washington County Democratic chair expects a “wild and woolly” race for the House seat. Benyak will face at least two Democratic opponents in the primary, and two people have announced their bid for the Republican nomination.
If Benyak wins, he said he’ll look forward to meeting the man whose accomplishments he touted in a short-lived television spot.
“I think the governor’s staff really overreacted at the time by pulling an ad for silly reasons,” said Benyak. “They really allowed someone to get their goat — and I would hope that their press people have improved.”