COLUMBUS, Ohio - Jerry Springer, the talk show host who put wife-swappers, strippers and skinheads on the air and then watched the punches fly, will file papers to run for the U.S. Senate as early as Friday, advisers said.
Springer, 59, the former Cincinnati mayor, will not decide whether to actually run until later this month, said Mike Ford, his political adviser.
The early filing is necessary to avoid getting into legal trouble for raising money without officially declaring a candidacy, Ford said.
Springer is airing 30-minute infomercials across the nation to raise money and build support for his possible run for the Democratic nomination next year.
The infomercial, paid for by Springer, is part biography and part fund-raiser. It explains how Springer's parents fled Nazi Germany for England, then moved to the United States just before Springer's fifth birthday. The ad seeks small donations and offers T-shirts, bumper stickers and CDs of Springer singing "rockabilly" music.
The infomercial will air for about two weeks in several U.S. cities including Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Memphis, Tenn., New Orleans, San Antonio and New York. Ford would not say how much it cost.
It was not immediately scheduled to air in Ohio because of concerns over equal access, meaning TV stations would have to offer equivalent time to other candidates.
The infomercial also addresses potential problems by Springer's talk show, known for its profanity, fistfights, cheating spouses and incestuous relationships.
Springer repeats a theme he has voiced several times in recent months - that his show is not responsible for problems in Ohio with schools, jobs and the economy.
The infomercial focuses on a comment by National Review commentator Jonah Goldberg on a Sunday morning talk show several months ago. Goldberg warned of new people brought to the polls by Springer, including "slack-jawed yokels, hicks, weirdos, pervs and whatnots."
The infomercial offers that quote on a T-shirt and inserted into a signed photograph of Springer next to a sign for Hicksville, Ohio. Springer refers to the quote and talks about wanting to reach out to "regular folks ... who weren't born with a silver spoon in your mouth."
State Sen. Eric Fingerhut, a Democrat, has already announced his candidacy for the Senate seat. The Democratic winner will probably take on Republican Sen. George Voinovich.
"A half-hour infomercial doesn't wipe out what he's been doing for a decade," Fingerhut said Thursday. "All it does tragically is identify Ohio with his level of entertainment."