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Jesse Kelly, 2-time congressional also-ran, back on Twitter after ban

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Jesse Kelly, 2-time congressional also-ran, back on Twitter after ban

  • Jesse Kelly giving a speech the night of his 2012 special election primary win.
    Will Seberger/ Jesse Kelly giving a speech the night of his 2012 special election primary win.

Jesse Kelly, who twice lost Tucson-area races for Congress and has sold RVs in Texas while maintaining a profile as a rightwing pundit, was booted off Twitter over the weekend, but his account was back in action Wednesday.

Kelly, a Marine veteran who ran in Arizona's CD8 in 2010 and 2012, has hosted a Houston-area talk radio show and worked for recreational vehicle dealer ExploreUSA RV Supercenter, as well as a brief stint working for Citizens United.

The former Republican congressional candidate announced his being back on the social media platform Wednesday morning with an "I have returned" meme that placed his own backwards baseball-capped head over a famous photograph of Gen. Douglas MacArthur returning to the Philippines during World War II.

Kelly had said that he did not know which of his tweets prompted the move. His account was removed from Twitter on Sunday, an action that was described as "permanent" in a message from the company that Kelly reportedly shared with author Sean Parnell.

"We have become a nation of sensitive losers who care about words," he posted at the Federalist. "We care about how things 'make us feel.' The exception these days is the man who just wants to put his talent and his thoughts in the marketplace of ideas and see if people will buy it."

In the overblown style Kelly has cultivated in his social media and blogging, he called himself a "clairvoyant genius" and said "I had almost 80,000 followers and those poor people are now left aimlessly wandering the social media landscape in search of a greatness they’ll never find again. Now, I don’t really care because I’m just going to start a new account and it will be even better than my last one (if that’s possible)."

He didn't offer any further details about the return of his account Wednesday.

"The account was temporarily suspended for violating the Twitter Rules and has been reinstated," a corporate spokesperson told The Hill.

Kelly, who lost to U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords by about 4,000 votes and dropped the 2012 special election to replace her in losing by 13,000 votes to Ron Barber, characterized his being banned from the privately owned social media service as "censorship."

"Censorship is a horrible thing, but it has one fatal flaw: It doesn’t work. Voices break out. They cannot be contained. Twitter banning me from their platform only hurts them in the long run. They’ll continue to marginalize themselves, and I will continue to grow," he wrote.

Kelly reportedly told rightwing writers that he received a short message from Twitter: "Your account was permanently suspended due to multiple or repeat violations of the Twitter rules. The account will not restored. Please do not respond to this email as replies and new appeals for this account will not be monitored."

Kelly, the Tea Party-backed candidate in his attempted runs for elected office, has repeatedly tossed off heated rhetoric online. He referred to U.S. Sen. Jeff Flake as a coward for cooperating with "the enemy" in delaying the confirmation vote on Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, pondered "how hot Eve was" and posted musings about a second U.S. Civil War.

In his second stab at Congress, Kelly endlessly repeated a mantra about "lower taxes, more jobs, and lower gas prices by using American energy," as well as "promising" that gas prices would spike to $5 per gallon if President Barack Obama were re-elected.

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