WASHINGTON – Third-party candidates Steve Krukar and Bob Auerbach do not expect to win the 5th District congressional race. They just want to give voters an alternative to the same old two-party candidates.
They are alternatives, all right, from way right and way left of center, standard-bearers for two political parties that were recognized by the state for the first time this year, making it easier for them to get their names on the ballot.
Krukar, 46, represents the conservative Constitution Party (formerly the U.S. Taxpayers Party), an outfit that aims to “restore” America to the Christianity and limited government of the Founding Fathers.
A flight attendant who lives in Bowie, Krukar is a strict constructionist who often begins sentences with “we the people” and can quote chapter, line and verse from Article I of the Constitution on congressional powers.
He grew up in Milwaukee, has degrees in architecture and public communication, and sees taxation as the root of all evil, eating away at Americans’ prosperity.
“We the people have lost control of our own lives,” he said. “We need to reclaim responsibility.”
While he said the response to his message is positive, Krukar’s presence on the campaign trail has been fitful. Infrequent events have been squeezed in between his flying schedule and taking care of his two toddlers.
“I am more of an average person who sees a need,” he said.
The same might apply to Green Party candidate Bob Auerbach, a retired librarian who, at 84, is the oldest person on the Maryland ballot.
Born in New York, Auerbach dates his political activism back to the 1928 election of Herbert Hoover, one of the few times, he said, he ever supported a major party candidate.
He turned to progressive third parties, he said, because the major parties are “too militaristic. They don’t support poor people and don’t help minorities.”
Auerbach was a member of the People’s Party for the tumultuous 1972 election, when the renowned pediatrician Dr. Benjamin Spock was the party’s presidential candidate.
He remembers Spock as “very kind. He never tried to dominate any meetings,” he said.
Auerbach joined the Greens in the 1980s and ran for the 5th District seat two years ago as a write-in candidate, winning 186 votes. He is running again this year because of the war in Iraq.
“Both the Democrat and Republican candidates support war. Somebody has to stand up for peace,” he said.
Like Krukar, Auerbach runs a minimalist campaign of intermittent appearances and shoe-string funding. Besides the war, he said, his main issue is opposition to the USA Patriot Act and its impact on civil liberties.
“Librarians are stronger against the Patriot Act than other people,” he said. “We believe in freedom of reading.”
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