From Chicago to California — and pizza tours to politics — this political newcomer who’s making a long shot bid to dethrone a nationally known incumbent has had no shortage of career and life experiences.
And then there’s this eye-catching ballot name: G. “Maebe A. Girl” Pudlo, who hopes to become the nation’s first drag queen in Congress.
“Maebe A. Girl is genderfluid/trans, and her pronouns are she/her,” according to her campaign website. She is one of seven Democrats looking to unseat Los Angeles area congressman Adam Schiff, who as chairman of the House Intelligence Committee oversaw key impeachment hearings. The primary is March 3.
While Schiff commanded the attention of millions during the hearings, Pudlo draws a few dozen folks to shows at The Offbeat, a bar sandwiched between a nail salon and a liquor store in L.A.’s Highland Park neighborhood.
She favors six-inch heels, skin-tight miniskirts and a platinum blonde bob when she’s on stage. The heels shrink and the skirts lengthen when she takes her seat on the Silver Lake Neighborhood Council, an unpaid position to which she was elected last year.
“I go with what I consider to be my more natural woman look,” she said. “Obviously, I stand out because I’m already 6-feet-2.”
It’s clear she’s serious about unseating Schiff, even if she appears to have little chance of doing so. Schiff had more than $8.1 million to spend on re-election, according to the most recently available campaign finance records. She had $3,419.
“He’s supposed to be a representative of this particular district, and there are a lot of local issues that have worsened in his tenure, specifically homelessness,” Pudlo said.
Is she even on Schiff’s radar?
“I think he takes me seriously, and that’s why he’s not giving me any sort of attention,” she said. “I’m an unconventional candidate and I bring things that he can’t necessarily.”
Schiff’s office did not respond to a request for comment.
The candidate known as Maebe A. Girl was born in Pittsburgh. Back then she went by her birth name, George Pudlo. Her family moved to the Chicago area when she was nine; she lived here through her late 20s. She didn’t do drag — or identify as a woman — when she was in Chicago. The Sun-Times featured her, as George Pudlo, back in 2010, leading “Second City Pizza Tours.”
Not long after that, she decided to run for mayor of Chicago but failed to get the required number of signatures to get on the ballot.
“I always see him as little Georgie,” said Pudlo’s grandmother, Margaret Pudlo, who lives in Pittsburgh.
“Georgie” might not win the election, but she has a bright future, said her grandmother, noting that, as a kid, her grandchild always carried a $2 bill.
“That’s why I always said he was going to be a millionaire,” she said.
Pudlo began doing drag about five years ago, after moving to L.A. On stage, she does U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos, First Lady Melania Trump and former White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders — among other characters.
“Starting drag brought me back into politics,” she said. “Just the mere act of going out and performing in drag is a political and social statement.”