Every political campaign has an iconic image: one that keeps popping up long after the campaign banners have come down. Kevin Faulconer’s mayoral campaign was no exception — we can’t forget the especially animated man we first saw on Election Day.
We wanted to know more about the now-familiar face of the guy who’s earned the nickname “Faulconer Man.” Meet Chad Michael Terry.
We chatted with Terry about the memorable shot and found he’s just as excited as he looks to be the face of Faulconer mayoral win.
This interview has been condensed and edited for clarity.
Was it typical for you to get this excited during Faulconer’s rallies?
No. That is absolutely the antithesis of what most people see [of me]. I’m very reserved most of the time and people have said to me that very rarely have they even seen me crack a smile, let alone go rabid like that.
It was a crazy day. We were at campaign headquarters, and it was a hive of activity. We were doing the last minute push into neighborhoods to hang doorhangers. At one point, Faulconer had everyone outside and was rallying the troops.
My excitement was a culmination of a progressively brighter picture throughout the campaign. We were feeling better and better about the outlook and we were all in such good moods. I think that’s what sort of pushed it over the edge for me.
How did you find out that your photo was popping up online?
I had no idea the picture had even been taken until someone told me several weeks later. I was talking to Carl DeMaio on Inauguration Day when he asked me, “Have you see the picture Liam Dillon tweeted?” He told me “Go to Voice of San Diego and your picture is right there!”
By the time I left the inauguration, two other people had said something about the photo. That’s when I contacted Dillon, and told him who I was.
What are your reactions to the photo?
My initial reaction to it was, “Hey, that’s pretty fun!” But what really stunned me was the reaction afterwards. The fact that I am still getting reactions from that photo … it doesn’t seem possible that that one little photo has gotten so much attention.
I went online and saw this photo had been retweeted from a paper in Minnesota. It was all over the place … it’s just amazing.
I’m just so happy that there is a photo of me with Faulconer’s name underneath it that is still bouncing around out there.
How did you get involved Faulconer’s campaign?
I’m a lifelong Republican to begin with. But then-Councilman Faulconer came to our club, the Log Cabin Republicans of San Diego, which is primarily made up of gay and lesbian Republicans and conservatives. He asked for our help. So we went to campaign headquarters and organized a club-wide night to make phone calls.
I was in a unique position where I could avail myself to the campaign staff to what they needed. I was at campaign headquarters so much that someone mistook me for a staffer.
What was it about Faulconer that inspired your excitement and support?
I appreciated that Faulconer sought out all of the communities in San Diego that some party or another takes for granted, i.e., the gay community, i.e., the black community, i.e., the Hispanic community. He would not cede those communities to the Democrats, period.
San Diego needed some good news. We were ready to have someone with integrity at the helm of the ship. I don’t have to agree with everything Faulconer has ever done to support him. I just felt like the time was right for him.
Are you still following Faulconer’s moves in San Diego?
I just left San Diego six weeks ago after a decade of living there. Quite honestly I prolonged my stayed in San Diego just for the special election. I still have friends who let me know what is going on.
I miss San Diego immensely. But every time that picture of me pops up it brings back the fact that a little part of San Diego is with me all the time. And I love the fact that it’s bringing so much lightheartedness to other people’s lives.
It’s just a fun thing.
Correction: A previous version of this post misquoted Terry about Faulconer’s outreach efforts. The correct wording is: “He would not cede those communities to the Democrats, period.” We regret the error.