Daniel "The Wig Man" Vovak, who ran for president, the U.S. Senate and other offices wearing a Colonial-style periwig, died of cancer Saturday at Casey House hospice in Montgomery County, according to David Vovak, a brother. The Rockville resident was 39.
Vovak first came to my attention in 2006, when he ran for Senate in a Republican primary eventually won by then-Lt. Gov. Michael Steele. Here's what I wrote at the time:
"[W]hen Daniel Vovak declares on the steps of the State House this morning that he is running as a Republican for U.S. Senate, he will throw his wig into the ring. His poofy, white, George-Washington-on-the-best-hair-day-in-his-life wig, to be precise.
"'I wear the wig because it attracts attention,' Vovak, 33, says on his Web site, www.vovak.politicalgateway.com.
"I'm not sure what's more startling - the pile of white curls atop the guy's head or his seemingly self-aware explanation for them.
"'I only wear it when I'm campaigning,' he adds in an interview. Phew. That's a relief. Thought for a minute there that we had kind of an oddball candidate on our hands."
The day that column appeared in The Sun, I saw Vovak at the State House and figured he'd be annoyed by what I'd written. He couldn't have been more pleased. I'd put his name in the paper. And I think that was pretty much all he was looking for.
He'd sought the GOP nomination for U.S. Senate from Illinois in 2004. The state Republican committee, searching for someone to run against Barack Obama, gave Vovak an audience, despite the powdered 'do and the fact that he was living out of a car he called "Air Ford One." (He was a Marylander, to boot. But, hey, so was Alan Keyes.)
After the Maryland Senate race, Vovak announced he was making a movie based on the Monica Lewinsky affair. His title: "The Blue Dress." Who knows if the venture ever would have materialized, but Vovak did get Paula Jones to agree to appear.
Last spring, he launched a bid for Montgomery County executive. He'd also run for state GOP chairman.
"He always had to have a project he was working on," David Vovak, of Cleveland, told me in a telephone interview Monday. "When the presidential run didn't work out, he ran for Senate. When those things went away, he had this idea for 'The Blue Dress' on the back burner. ... He was always one of those people who wanted to be on top. He wanted to be president of the United States. When that didn't work, he wanted to be a senator and then a movie producer."