Cary Dolego, a former Green Party write-in candidate for the 2010 Arizona governor's race, was found among homeless people in a Ukrainian town last week following a failed quest for love.
A Youtube video (see below) shows Dolego, 53, sitting on a bed in a hospital ward, explaining to an interviewer how he arrived in Chernovtsy to meet a woman.
Dolego had originally traveled to the Ukraine on a "romance tour" to meet potential brides -- as explained in an ABC News special on international matchmaking that featured him.
It's unclear whether he drew many, or any, write-in votes in the 2010 election. (Update -- we were looking at the wrong Web info. As commenter Thane points out, the AZ Secretary of State's site records clearly that Dolego received a grand total of 12 votes.) Green Party candidate Larry Gist, whose name was on the ballot, drew more than 12,000 votes.
Still, Dolego -- formerly of Queen Creek -- went through the motions after filing for his candidacy in 2010. He was interviewed by blogger/artist Ryn Gargulinski and filled out a questionnaire for the Center for Arizona Policy.
In the questionnaire, Dolego describes himself as a divorced father of three (including one son who's a Phoenix police officer), a former 15-year employee for the state Department of Economic Security and a current employee of Wells Fargo.
We learned about his predicament from a couple of news articles today on the Internet.
The first one, published on www.unian.net, tells how volunteers of the "People's help" city shelter in Chernovtsy discovered him at a train station:
At the railway station they saw a man in a neglected condition who stood out against a background of homeless people; however he spoke perfect English. He had documents, a personal computer and a business suit.
The article, written in somewhat stilted English, says that Dolego traveled to the Ukraine in May on a vague business trip, hoping to share his ideas about air- and sea-travel safety.
He ran out of money after his bank account was frozen for unknown reasons, then got kicked out of his apartment. He'd been corresponding for "months" with Yulia, a woman surgeon in Chernovtsy, so he decided to go there to see if she could help him out. But he never did find her.
After being rescued from the streets by the social workers and placed in a homeless shelter, Dolego was taken to a local hospital and treated for pneumonia. He was still at the hospital as of yesterday.
In the video, Dolego explains how he e-mailed Yulia to let her know he was coming.
"But she probably wouldn't recognize me because I have been wearing -- I could show you here -- a very distinctly different Russian hat," he tells the interviewer. "Yulia, I love you dearly, and I'm hoping that we can finally make contact..."
Another article by the RIAN News agency noted that Dolego was featured in the ABC broadcast in August. The news special shows Dolego preparing for the trip, excited about the prospect of finding a "marriage-minded" woman.
"It's just going to be an extraordinary experience -- I'm looking forward to it," he says before his flight, adding that it would be "ideal" if he returned home in a few weeks with a potential mate.
Cameras followed him to the Ukraine, where "Julia," an Odessa woman, was supposed to meet him at the airport. She turned out to be a no-show. But the matchmaking service soon set Dolego up with other dates. In one scene, he's shown chatting over drinks with several women.
After the news crew went home, Dolego's plan went seriously awry.
But he's still hopeful.
Dolego could have gone home at U.S. Embassy expense, but then he wouldn't have been able to return to the Ukraine because of a visa problem, according to unian.net. He's "decided to find his beloved in Chernovtsy at all costs, even if he has to hole up," the article says.
Love will find a way -- and hopefully before the Ukrainian winter sets in.
UPDATE: The Moscow Times just published a story about Dolego with a few extra details under the headline, "Would-Be U.S. Governor Mistaken for Ukrainian Bum."
MORE UPDATES: Dolego gets rejected by "Yulia."
Keep Phoenix New Times Free... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Phoenix with no paywalls.