JEFFERSON CITY — A temporary tattoo calling for the legalization of marijuana marks Missouri's Libertarian candidate for U.S. Senate. Jonathan Dine also sports other campaign messages on his body.
"I had a friend who is a tattoo artist give me a fake tattoo with my name ... and 'Libertarian Party' across my back," Dine, of Kansas City, said.
Dine is campaigning on a traditional Libertarian platform that calls for more individual rights, the legalization of marijuana and shorter term limits for elected officials. The last issue is important, he said, because caps on political service can limit corruption and help protect Americans' freedoms.
Dine is a single parent and works as a personal trainer for Snap Fitness, which has several clubs in the Kansas City area. He acknowledges it's not the typical resume for a Senate candidate.
"I think that's what the people want and need," Dine said. "A new voice and someone the people can identify with, stepping away from the career politician."
Although Dine has no political experience, he said running for elected office has been on his mind for a while.
Snap Fitness owner Marc Lewis said Dine has worked with him for more than a year. He said he admires Dine's campaign.
"That's one thing that I see in him, wanting to change or fix things that are broken in our political system," Lewis said.
His opponent in the Libertarian primary, Cisse Spragins, said Dine is bringing new techniques and strategies to the campaign.
"He has done a very good job of reaching younger voters," Spragins said. "He primarily used social media for his campaigning, and he is targeting younger voters. He is pretty young himself."
The two main contenders in the race for Missouri's open U.S. Senate seat, Secretary of State Robin Carnahan and U.S. Rep. Roy Blunt, also have used social media to connect with younger voters. But Dine also appeals to younger people by attending concerts around the state, such as Wakarusa and Rock Fest, to gain name recognition and to spread the message of the Libertarian Party.
Dine said the massive campaign contributions reported by Carnahan and Blunt demonstrate that they are career politicians who are entrenched in the system. While Blunt and Carnahan have raised millions of dollars in campaign contributions, Dine reports only about $1,000 from his contributors.
That money has been enough to make yard signs and campaign throughout the state, Dine said.