Max Linn, a colorful figure who sought elected office from a variety of different parties over the years, has died of an apparent heart attack in Maine.
Linn is likely best known to IPR readers from his 2006 campaign for governor of Florida on the Reform Party ballot line. After being excluded from the first debate with his major party opponents, Linn successfully sued his way onto the stage (at the very last second) to participate in the final televised debate. Linn also made headlines when he landed his Cessna on the Interstate during the campaign, complaining of engine issues.
LIBRARY OF CONGRESS: Max Linn’s 2006 Campaign Website
The Reform Party ticket of Linn and his running mate, Avon Park mayor Tom Macklin, reportedly spent more than $1.8 million on the campaign (almost all of it Linn’s money). The duo ultimately captured about 1.9% of the vote.
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Linn even hired consultant Doug Friedline, who had helped get Jesse Ventura elected in 1998, to produce some ads for him, including this one:
After retiring, Linn moved to Maine and attempted to seek the Republican nomination for U.S. Senate in 2018, but was thwarted by fraudulent petition signatures in his effort to secure ballot access.
Despite having run for Congress in Florida as a Democrat, and once donating $2,300 to Barack Obama’s presidential campaign, Linn fully embraced the Donald Trump movement. He returned as an independent candidate in 2020, using the slogan “Trump Strong” on his campaign signage. Linn drew only 1.6% of the vote in that bid, finishing in last place and failing to derail Susan Collins’ re-election.
On the campaign trail, Linn’s antics attracted substantial media attention, most notably when he cut up a coronavirus face mask with scissors and stated “request denied!” several times when asked to stay on topic by a moderator.
Shortly after his defeat in November, the former financial planner even went so far as to attend the now infamous January 6th rally-turned-riot at the U.S. Capitol.
Earlier this year he again made headlines for allegedly pulling a gun on a former staffer who he had dispute with. Linn had apparently given the man money to invest in cryptocurrency and now wanted to use those funds to purchase drugs from Indonesia that he believed would cure COVID-19:
Steve Juskewitch, the attorney representing Linn, denied McDonald’s claims that his client wanted to use the money to buy drugs and that Linn threatened the former staffer with a gun. Juskewitch confirmed that Linn gave McDonald $225,000 to invest in cryptocurrency.
The lawyer said McDonald’s allegations against his client are “pure fabrication to divert attention from the cryptocurrency dispute.” He added that he had been working on closing a deal with McDonald in recent days to transfer access, but nothing has been agreed to, according to the Bangor Daily News.
Several media outlets have reported that Linn was found dead in a hot tub, and that he had a long history of heart trouble.