Reggie "Pukey" McKnight has decided to run for class president of his eighth grade because he believes that "it's not negative to want to make things better" and he's tired of the school elections being a popularity contest that promises outrageous things that will never get done. He hasn't been popular since “The Incident”—not that he was every really popular, but now he's even more uncool. (“The Incident” is not fully explained in detail until much later in the novel, but it’s embarrassing.) With the help of his two best friends, Ruthie and Joe C., Reggie's out to prove that you can win if you really believe in something, even if you’re unpopular. He's doing it for the underdogs.