Third-party candidates face long odds in 2018
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.”