Constitution Party candidate for the Missouri House of Representatives Cindy Redburn described running as a third party candidate like being in a hundred yard dash.
“You’re invited to a hundred yard dash, but you’re really not invited, you just get involved in the hundred yard dash,” Redburn said. “The two major parties start at the starting line. Everybody else started fifty yards back.”
Redburn is running for the district 96 Missouri State Representative position as the Constitution Party candidate. She ran because the other candidate for district 96 did not have an opponent.
Redburn said she is just glad to get her message out there; that people have another choice other than the big two.
Dean Hodge, a Libertarian candidate for the Missouri House of Representatives, said there should be a “no” vote on ballots, for when situations like that happen. If a candidate is running unopposed, there is no fear of losing, Hodge said, and there should always be that fear in the back of his or her mind.
Hodge is running for the district 103 Missouri State Representative position. One of the reasons Hodge said it is harder to run as a third party candidate is because of the lack of media. He said that several third party candidates that have an affiliated party are called “independent” in the media, if they’re even mentioned at all.
“In a lot of ways I feel like I’m black in the south in the 19th century,” Hodge said. “I’m there, and they walk around me so they know that I exist but they won’t talk to me.”
Zaki Baruti is running as an independent candidate for the St Louis County Executive position. He ran in 1984 and 1988 for governor with the Democratic Party and again in 2000 as the Green Party candidate.
This year, he said, most of the exclusion from debates and media is because he declared his intent to run late, on Oct. 15. When he ran in 2000 he did feel excluded by most major media outlets.
To combat this exclusion Baruti, Hodge, Redburn and Bill Slantz are using other forms of advertising to get their platform and names out there. They use social media, pamphlets and going door to door to make sure constituents know their stance of topics.
But, money isn’t the only barrier third party candidates have to hurdle. Ballot access in many states is not easy to gain. Redburn said in North Carolina in order to get on the ballot third parties have to get 86,666 validated registered voter signatures. In Texas a party has to get over 50,000 validated voter signatures from voters who did not vote in the primary elections.
Missouri has less restrictive laws and only requires 10,000 validated registered voter signatures. Also, a party has to gain two percent of votes for a state wide office to maintain ballot access through the next elections year. Redburn said two percent may sound like a small amount of votes but the Constitution Party struggles to make it each year and the Libertarians are struggling with it this year.
Slantz is the Libertarian candidate for a seat in the House of Representatives for the 2nd district.
He decided he was Libertarian about 25 years ago mostly because he didn’t like how much money was coming out of his paycheck or where the money went. Slantz said he plays a game with himself trying to boil issues down to their simplest and most basic elements. For him the Libertarian party did the same thing and it’s all about personal freedoms.
“I need to be tolerant of you and the way you want to live your life,” Slantz said. “I can’t expect you to live your life the way I want you to live your life.”