Re: The optics don't look good
Well, yes he has: multiple general elections in fact.
He didn't face a general election as leader of his party, therefore standing to be prime minister.
And whilst it is correct to state that a voter elects their local MP, we all know that the candidate for PM is at least as important. That's why it's the PM candidates that go around the country visiting constituencies other than their own and why it is PM candidates that that do these nationwide TV debate things.
Because it's the swing votes that gets the PM in number 10 under FPtP constituencies that are borderline, and it's the reason that Labour have been especially ineffective since Corbyn has been leader.
Someone who is voting age might be expected to know that.