A Guide To Third-Party Candidates
Third-party candidates are often written off as long shots or unrealistic. But this November, observers are expecting them to do better than usual.
Polls show voters are tired of both parties. As NPR's Tamara Keith reports, that could be creating an opening for third-party candidates in statewide elections.
Richard Winger, editor of Ballot Access News, says Libertarians have been slowly gaining steam at the state level, but he's now predicting record-breaking vote counts for statewide, top-office candidates this midterm season.
With many candidates pulling 5 to 15 percent in the polls and so many close races this election, the major-party campaigns have more than a few reasons to worry.
Here are some of the independent candidates poised to affect the November race:
Candidate for: U.S. Senate, Kansas
"We're sending the worst of both parties [to Washington]. Bitter partisans who care more about pleasing extremists than they do solving problems. I've tried both parties and, like lots of Kansans, I've been disappointed. That's why I'm running for the U.S. Senate as an independent." (Source: Kansas State Fair)
Occupation: pizza deliveryman
Candidate for: U.S. Senate, North Carolina
"I started out thinking, 'If I get any more votes than just my own, hey, bonus ...' But now I really feel like the views I am putting out there to stop all war and stop spending more money than we have are really resonating across the political spectrum." (Source: NPR)
Occupation: peace officer
Candidate for: U.S. Senate, Kentucky
"Like you, I am not a politician. However, I have reached a point where I can no longer remain silent. Our career politicians have failed us. Our government has overstepped it's bounds and has compromised our way of life. It's now time for us, the regular people of Kentucky, to stand up and demand that our elected representatives actually listen to us — the people they are supposed to represent." (Source: David4Senate.com)
Occupation: military technician
Candidate for: U.S. Senate, Alaska
"Alaskans deserve an alternative choice, one that can change the status quo and move us toward a freer, safer and more prosperous society. I believe my life in Alaska and voice I add to the debate offers Alaskans that choice." (Source: Alaska Dispatch)
Candidate for: U.S. Senate, Georgia
"I believe electing someone to the Senate like me, who knows what it's like to work a job, have a boss, and make ends meet on a regular budget, would bring a valuable perspective to the Senate." (Source: TIME)
Candidate for: governor, Alaska
"I'm so absolutely convinced that the only way that Alaska's going to commercialize our gas is for the state of Alaska to take control and to be the owner of the gas pipeline. Built by the private sector, people who are already here, and operated by Alaskans.
"It's time for Alaskans to act like Alaskans, and look back at what got us statehood, what got us the trans-Alaska oil pipeline, how hard Alaska's worked for that. It's time we continue that on through the gas pipeline project, and that we do it now on our timeframe, on our terms, for the future of our children and our grandchildren." (Source: WalkerMallottforAlaska.com)
Occupation: entrepreneur, software engineer, lawyer
Candidate for: U.S. Senate, Virginia
"This is your opportunity to vote against the status quo in Washington ... Libertarians stand for an open society, open-minded and open for business and we want to make sure that people understand this. It's economic freedom and personal liberty. I don't want the government telling me how to live my life, and I don't want to tell you how to live yours.
"It's not going to be a contested race between them, so you might as well register a really strong protest vote against Washington ... Vote for me. Get the Libertarian party major party status, improve Virginia politics. If you don't do that, then I think you're throwing your vote away." (Source: WDBJ)
Occupation: IT consultant
Candidate for: governor, Florida
"If you actually want to change the government, people have to change the way they vote ... No vote of conscience is a wasted vote, ever.
"I'm a middle-class guy. I face the same problems that Floridians are facing. I'm not living in an ivory castle like Rick Scott and Charlie Crist." (Source: Miami Herald)
Candidate for: governor, Connecticut
"At the end of the day I am a builder. I deliver a product. ... We are bleeding with waste and I believe most people in government know it, they just don't know how to address it." (Source: CT Mirror)
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