Politics & Government

Libertarians aim for 'major party' status in Kansas

Gubernatorial candidates Sam Brownback and Tom Holland will debate Saturday at the Kansas State Fair, but Libertarian candidate Andrew Gray will be stuck eyeing the corndogs like everybody else.

It's a familiar role for third-party candidates in Kansas, who often find themselves passing out fliers while the big-party candidates enjoy the spotlight. But Gray has a plan to ensure this will be the last time Libertarians are left on the outside looking in.

Thanks to record disgust with the two major parties and the likelihood of a lopsided governor’s race, Gray said he thought he could win 5 percent of the Nov. 2 vote, enough to secure the Libertarians "major party" status in Kansas.

"People sometimes think if they vote for a candidate who doesn't have a good chance of winning, they're throwing away their vote,” Gray said. "But this year we could really make a difference."

Republicans confident in Brownback's chances could vote Libertarian with clear consciences, he said. Democrats convinced that Holland stood little chance might do the same, he suggested. Voters unhappy with both parties? Gray likes them even better.

Five percent might sound like low expectations for someone who wants to be governor, but it would be a big improvement for a third party in Kansas. In 2006 only 1 percent of voters cast a ballot for the Libertarian candidate for governor. In 2002, the number was less than 1 percent.

To read the complete article, visit www.kansascity.com.