By Maddie Stone
WASHINGTON, D.C.—The first time Philip Stoddard, a professor of biology at Florida International University, ran for mayor of South Miami, he admits he had no idea what he was doing.
“My neighbors tricked me into it,” Stoddard, a thin man with graying hair and a matter-of-fact way of speaking, told Gizmodo. “I was invited over to someone’s house to find out who the candidate would be, to run against the ten year incumbent. And I discovered it was me.”
“I had no idea how to run a campaign,” he added.
But Stoddard soon learned that what he lacked in political experience he made up for in other ways. He studied hard and was quick to master new skills. Years of teaching college kids helped him to break down complex topics for lay audiences, and build stories out of disparate information. Most of all, he impressed would-be voters with his dogged, almost naive, commitment to facts.
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