Americana: The Happy Hobo

Melvin Perkins, 55, the Republican hobo of Baltimore's skid row, has run for office many times before, so no one paid much heed when he was the only candidate to qualify on the ballot against an immensely popular Democratic Congressman, Goodloe Byron. Then Byron, 49, died while running along the Potomac River, and his widow took his place on the ballot. Perkins' chances of winning were never good, but they got even worse when he was tossed in jail for assaulting a woman bus driver. Undaunted, he pointed out: "We've had plenty of Congressmen who ended up in jail. What's wrong...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now

Subscribe
Subscribe

Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on TIME.com

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!