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The Tentacle


July 29, 2002

There Is Another Choice For Governor

Michael Barnes

I have seen some columns and news articles lately that have made some very interesting points about the fragile and uncertain lead Kathleen Kennedy Townsend has over Robert Ehrlich, as well as articles and columns extolling the value of electing Ms. Townsend over Mr. Ehrlich.

I think, however, that there may be yet another choice out there this election year. Spear Lancaster, who filed his intent to run for governor well before Mr. Ehrlich or Ms. Townsend, is another mark on the ballot that should not be discounted.

Who is Mr. Lancaster? Spear is the Libertarian candidate for governor. Along with Lt. Governor candidate Lorenzo Gaztañaga, this could be one of the most watched races for governor this election year.

Even though faced with Maryland's complex ballot access laws, which make getting a third party candidate on the ballot a task Herculean in nature, it is very likely that Mr. Lancaster will be on November's ballot.

As of July 24th, hardworking members of the Libertarian Party have gathered over 30,000 signatures to get him on the ballot. In addition to many other hurdles, current Maryland election law requires third party candidates to gather 1% of the registered voters in the state for a statewide office.

2.7 million registered voters.

1%.

27,000 signatures needed.

It looks good.

Is voting for a third party candidate a wasted vote? No. The only wasted vote is the vote not cast.

Won't voting for a third party candidate take away from the votes of one of the two major party candidates? Certainly does, in fact in the past election there were many races where third parties 'spoiled' elections for both major parties.

Can a third party or independent candidate win? Hmm. Go ask Jesse Ventura, of Minnesota, or Angus King, of Maine.

Do I think Mr. Lancaster will win? I hope so. But even if he makes a small showing, it will hopefully be enough to make some people in Annapolis stand up and take notice that there are Marylanders who are looking for something new, something refreshing, something not so bad as what we have gotten from the two major parties over the years.

People speak of voting for the lesser of two evils. Bush the Elder defeated Michael Dukakis with many voters uttering the above mantra. Some would even say that the reason behind Bush's loss to Clinton in 1992 wasn't just because of the Ross Perot factor (though it certainly had an impact), but the fact that many people saw that Clinton at that time seemed to have a lot less baggage. Boy, were we dumb?

One thing you have to remember:

When you vote for the lesser of two evils, you are still voting for EVIL.



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