Throughout the performance, hecklers tried to drown out Feucht with bullhorns, cut off his power and pour Superglue on one band member’s keyboard. But Feucht remained defiant.
“They killed our generators at one point,” he later wrote on his Facebook page, “yet through it all … SEATTLE NEVER STOPPED SINGING!!”
The son of medical missionaries, Feucht (pronounced FOYT) has a reputation in Christian circles as an upbeat folk-flavored contemporary musician and founder of Burn 24-7, a global organization that helps churches establish round-the-clock worship teams. When he and his wife, Kate, decided to start a family several years ago, they moved from Dallas to Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, where they attended a church called Life Center.
“Sean was appreciated, but he wasn’t around that much,” said Charles Stock, senior pastor at Life Center and a spiritual adviser for Burn 24-7. (In addition to running Burn 24-7, Feucht was doing international missionary work.) “He traveled relentlessly. He had a tremendous amount of energy and stamina. He’s a force of nature.”
In 2016, the family relocated to Northern California and joined Bethel Church, a charismatic Christian megacongregation in the city of Redding. Bethel, which has about 11,000 members, is known for its Bethel Music label and its School of Supernatural Ministry, a nonaccredited program that teaches how to “heal the sick, prophesy, preach, pray, cast out demons.” For years, Feucht was a volunteer worship leader at the church, playing guitar as he led the congregation in singing. In 2018, he recorded an album, “Wild,” under the Bethel label.
Then, last year, with no political experience to his name, he announced he was running for Congress, portraying himself as a “non-politician.”
“I am running as the guy with long hair,” he told podcaster Sean Tabatt. “I am running as the guy with four kids. … The heart of the Founding Fathers was that representatives would be normal, everyday people.”
Because the congressional district where he lives, surrounding Redding, was already in GOP hands, Feucht ran as a Republican for California’s 3rd Congressional District, about a two-hour drive down Interstate 5. The Sacramento County Republican Party unanimously endorsed the other GOP candidate, Air Force veteran Tamika Hamilton. “We didn’t know him,” Betsy Mahan, the party chair, says of Feucht. “We thought Tamika Hamilton had the qualifications we needed. It wasn’t anything against him.”
Despite being a first-time candidate, Feucht got national press coverage as “the long-haired conservative millennial running for Congress,” as a Washington Examiner headline put it, and was interviewed by Fox News. Contributions came in from around the country, including $5,000 from Huck PAC, founded by former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee to support conservative candidates. (Huckabee wrote the forward for Feucht’s new memoir, Brazen.) A who’s who of the Pentecostal charismatic movement also chipped in, including several leaders out of Bethel, as did bluegrass singer Ricky Skaggs. In total, Feucht raised nearly $333,000.
The one missing segment were voters from the 3rd District. “Donations to Sean’s campaign are not mostly from the people in his district, or even his state,” Annelise Pierce, a freelance journalist in Redding reported in a local news site in February.
Although Feucht presented himself as a political outsider, he cultivated ties to national politicians during his campaign. When the White House hosted a “faith briefing” in December, Feucht, along with the two founders of Bethel Music, was among the 50 Christian worship leaders and pastors invited. Afterward, Feucht posted a photo on Instagram of himself with Vice President Mike Pence; he later turned a more professional photo of him and Pence into a campaign poster. In a photo President Donald Trump took with attendees, Feucht is conspicuously reaching out to touch the president on his left arm.
“I couldn’t be more proud to serve as vice president to a president who stands without apology for the sanctity of human life. I’m pro life, I don’t apologize for it.”
Amazing job tonight @vp 🙏🏽🇺🇸#vpdebate #HoldTheLine pic.twitter.com/0czWcss2hN
— Sean Feucht (@seanfeucht) October 8, 2020
A Bethel spokesman said Feucht was not representing the church at the event and that his invitation came through a political connection. Neither the White House press office nor Pence’s office responded to inquiries about the event.
In March, Feucht placed a distant third in the open primary, behind Hamilton and the Democratic incumbent, John Garamendi. By then, Covid was in full force, and everything, including services at Bethel, was shutting down. But Feucht wasn’t done with politics. In May, he founded the nonprofit Hold the Line, which he describes as a “political activist movement” to encourage churchgoers and young people to become more politically active. It would also provide the framework for organizing and funding his future concerts.
“I was super bummed when I didn’t advance beyond the primary,” Feucht told podcaster David Harris. “I was ready to just quit, and the Lord began speaking to me saying now is the time … to focus on America.”