Chris Lytle lost his first election last week, but he’s not giving up the fight.
The UFC veteran finished second out of three candidates in a Republican primary for a seat in the Indiana State Senate. He had 30 percent of the vote, falling short of the 41 percent that supported Michael R. Crider.
“I didn’t quite get in, but I’ll live to fight another day, I guess,” Lytle told the Sherdog Radio Network’s “Savage Dog Show.” “It was obviously very, very dirty. They didn’t want people like me in there. They did a lot to try to keep me out. It was a very eye-opening experience. It was very disheartening to see how things are really done on that level. I think as a country, as a state and everything, we’re in some serious trouble here.”
Lytle is known for his toe-to-toe wars in the Octagon, but he was stunned by the tactics he encountered in his first political foray. At least initially, he was leaning toward making this first election his last.
“They spent a lot of money and they used a lot of their tactics to try to keep me out,” Lytle said. “At first I was like, you know what? If I try and do it again, they’re just going to continue to do the same type of tactics. But the competitive side of me and everything, I don’t want to stop at this. … If we want to keep on business as usual, the status quo -- a politician gets in there and does nothing -- everybody’s got to withdraw or not engage. The only way to stop it is everybody has to step up and start running. Normal people, people who actually pay attention. So yeah, I’m going to run again.”
Although at times Lytle’s fight career was brought up against him, he doesn’t think it was a factor in the race.
“Most people have never heard of me,” he said. “I had to go and earn their votes based on what I would say. It had nothing to do with fighting. I’d say 90 percent of the people who voted didn’t even know I ever competed in fighting.”
What hurt, said Lytle, was the use of push polling. The former welterweight contender said voters in his district were called and led to believe things about him that weren’t true, like that he had once said the only reason he fought professionally was because he can’t hit his kids and he has to hit somebody.
“They were calling everybody in my district and telling them things like that,” Lytle said.
Negative campaigning aside, Lytle hopes to get more young people to vote the next time he runs.
“I’ve just got to get to places where I can get more people to vote,” he said. “The people who are UFC fans, they’re not usually voting in primaries. I’ll be honest with you. I’ve got to get those type of people to actually come out and vote. If I get those people to come out and vote, the 18- to 35-year-olds, I’ll dominate.”
Listen to the full interview (beginning at 1:36:55).