Third-party can­di­dates face long odds in 2018

The Wichita Eagle (Sunday) - - News - BY HUNTER WOODALL

They have al­most no chance to win their elec­tions.

But in Kansas, third­party can­di­dates could play a cru­cial part in de­cid­ing who wins Tues­day.

With close races for gov­er­nor and two con­gres­sional seats in Kansas, a hand­ful of can­di­dates could play spoiler by tak­ing votes from the ma­jor party can­di­dates.

In the Kansas gov­er­nor’s race, much has been made of in­de­pen­dent

Greg Or­man, who has polled around 10 per­cent for much of the race, far be­hind Repub­li­can Kris Kobach and Demo­crat Laura Kelly.

But he is not the only third-party can­di­date try­ing to make his mark in the race. Or­man has ac­tu­ally polled closer to two other third-party can­di­dates than com­pet­ing for the lead with Kobach and Kelly.

Lib­er­tar­ian Jeff Cald­well is bas­ing his cam­paign on “the cor­rup­tion that’s go­ing on in Topeka,” which he said he has seen first­hand in the leg­isla­tive com­mit­tee process.

Cald­well is fo­cused on shrink­ing gov­ern­ment spend­ing, cut­ting taxes and de­fend­ing the sec­ond amend­ment. He wants to le­gal­ize mar­i­juana, hemp and sports bet­ting, with the money go­ing to school fund­ing.

He said he’s get­ting sup­port from “a mix of ev­ery­one.”

“I’ve had a com­mu­nist write me a whole page say­ing that he sup­ports me and I have an­ar­chists who sup­port me and I have ev­ery­thing in be­tween,” Cald­well said.

The other in­de­pen­dent in the gov­er­nor’s race is Rick Kloos of Topeka, who serves as the di­rec­tor of God’s Store­house, “a church that op­er­ates as a thrift store,” ac­cord­ing to its web­site.

Kloos de­scribes him­self as a “pro-life, frus­trated Repub­li­can that went in­de­pen­dent.” Part of his cam­paign plat­form calls for ex­pand­ing Med­ic­aid, al­low­ing the DACA dream­ers to have a path to be­com­ing cit­i­zens and sup­port­ing in­dus­trial hemp.

He es­ti­mates that he has put thou­sands of dol­lars meant for his re­tire­ment into his long­shot bid to be­come gov­er­nor.

In Kansas’ 3rd con­gres­sional dis­trict, Chris Clem­mons could help de­cide who wins the race be­tween Demo­crat Sharice Davids and Repub­li­can U.S. Rep. Kevin Yoder.

Clem­mons’ guid­ing phi­los­o­phy: it is none of his busi­ness what you do with your life, with your prop­erty. His main is­sue is fo­cus­ing on the fourth and fifth amend­ments and his con­cern that they are “quickly be­ing erased from the bill of rights.”

“I re­ally don’t have much of a de­sire to be a con­gress­men, but I’m do­ing it more out of that sense of ur­gency,” Clem­mons said. “Some­thing needs to be done now be­fore it’s too late.”

A sim­i­lar can­di­date could also throw off the cal­cu­lus in the 2nd con­gres­sional dis­trict where Repub­li­can Steve Watkins and Demo­crat Paul Davids are in a close race to suc­ceed Repub­li­can Rep. Lynn Jenk­ins.

Lib­er­tar­ian Kelly Stan­d­ley de­scribed him­self as a busi­ness­man. He be­lieves every stu­dent should have free ed­u­ca­tion up to a bach­e­lor’s de­gree and that the Af­ford­able Care Act should not be re­pealed, but fixed.

While Stan­d­ley’s poli­cies may align more with Davis than Watkins, he showed lit­tle con­cern about his can­di­dacy mean­ing Watkins could win.

“If that ends up hap­pen­ing then I’ll end up fight­ing even harder but with­out the proper po­si­tion to do it with,” he said.

Stan­d­ley said he wants to “try and con­vince peo­ple in this state, in this dis­trict, that a third party per­son can ac­tu­ally work with them and for them at a na­tional level.”

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