One of the three Illinois Republicans slugging it out for the G.O.P. nomination for the House seat held by Democrat Lane Evans is using high-caliber weapons to secure his spot on the ballot. MICHAEL CURTISS, M.D., a general practitioner from western Illinois, raised about $50,000 in funds by raffling guns on the Internet. Currently up for grabs is a .50-cal. rifle that Democratic Chicago Representative Rod Blagojevich is trying to ban--the ArmaLite AR-50. Curtiss snidely refers to it as the "Blagojevich Special." At least 1,000 tickets at $20 a pop have been sold. Curtiss insists that the raffles promote awareness about the "threatened" Second Amendment--as well as raise cash. Winners get a gun-safety course from the National Rifle Association. But if the dark horse Curtiss wins the March 21 primary, he'll up the ante. An aide told TIME that the small-town doctor may offer up a cannon for the general election: "It will be a Revolutionary War replica. But it will actually work." Now there's something to make your day.
--By Wendy Cole/Chicago