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Three parties have candidates on Missouri presidential primary ballot

Thursday, February 2, 2012 | 6:00 a.m. CST; updated 11:40 a.m. CST, Thursday, February 2, 2012

REPUBLICANS

GARY JOHNSON

Taos, N.M.

Age: 59

Party affiliation: Libertarian

Campaign website: www.garyjohnson2012.com

Gary Johnson was born in Minot, N.D., but his family moved to New Mexico. He attended college at the University of New Mexico and graduated in 1975. Johnson served two terms as a Republican governor of New Mexico from 1995 through 2003.

While in office, he vetoed more than 750 bills, cut more than 1,200 government jobs without firing anyone and left the state with a budget surplus, according to his campaign website.

“I cut spending, I cut taxes, and I reduced the size of government," Johnson said in an email interview. "And I did so by standing firm, not being afraid to exercise common sense, and leading with a level of transparency that is sorely lacking in government today."

The result was the best job creation record of any candidate in this presidential election, Johnson said.

Johnson initially announced his candidacy for president in spring 2011 as part of the Republican Party, but he made the switch to Libertarian on Dec. 28.

“I spent several months learning first-hand that the elite national media and the Republican establishment were not prepared to hear a message of fiscal conservatism combined with tolerance and liberty for the individual,” Johnson said regarding the move.

He is on the Missouri ballot as a Republican, though.

Johnson’s plans if elected include spending cuts, dropping the corporate tax rate to zero to stimulate job creation, liberal immigration reform and balancing the budget by 2013.

He thinks the war on drugs is a waste and that legalizing marijuana will cut down on crime. According to his website, Johnson thinks that "by managing marijuana like alcohol and tobacco — regulating, taxing and enforcing its lawful use — America will be better off."

“I also feel very strongly that there are millions of Americans who share my belief that government needs to get out of our personal lives,” Johnson said. “From gay marriage to a woman's right to choose, government has no business making decisions that the individual is best equipped to make.”

Johnson also is an avid adventurer and athlete.

 

MITT ROMNEY

Belmont, Mass.

Age: 64

Party affiliation: Republican

Campaign website: www.mittromney.com

Mitt Romney’s political career started in 2002 when he was elected governor of Massachusetts. During his term, he was praised for leading an economic recovery prompted by budget cuts and programs to boost business, according to a biography on his campaign website. He eliminated a $3 billion deficit.

He also established health care reforms that have created nearly universal coverage for Massachusetts residents. Although his plan has been called a model for the health care reforms adopted through the Affordable Care Act passed by the Obama administration, he has argued that his was a solution tailored to his state alone and that other states should be free to pursue their own reforms.

Romney has a business background. He earned dual degrees from the Harvard law and business schools. After graduating, he founded Bain Capital, which spawned or rebuilt businesses such as Staples and Bright Horizons, then returned to the consulting firm Bain and Co. to lead it out of financial crisis. He also is credited with salvaging the 2002 Salt Lake City Winter Olympics after a bid-rigging scandal and the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, which created security concerns.

“Having worked and created jobs in the real economy, I understand the policies we must pursue to make the United States the best place in the world to do business,” he wrote in a campaign blog post. He intends to increase trade, promote energy production and labor flexibility, and invest in “human capital.”

"America's workforce is our country's greatest renewable natural resource,” Romney said.

Romney also intends to repeal and replace Obama’s health care law and create a market-based system that he thinks will empower states and lead to lower health care costs.

Missouri’s 7th District U.S. Rep. Billy Long, a Republican, is among those endorsing Romney for president.

“Missouri voters — as well as voters across the country — are looking for someone who will reverse President Obama’s failed policies,” Long said in a blog post on Romney’s website. “Mitt Romney will get rid of Obamacare, stop our government’s out-of-control spending and — most important of all — create jobs for the American people,” Long said.

Romney is married and has five sons.

 

MICHAEL J. MEEHAN

St. Louis

Age: 57

Party affiliation: Republican

Michael Meehan would be the first to tell you he isn’t a politician.

“What irks me is when the politicians say ‘the American people,’” Meehan said. “They don’t understand the American people.”

Meehan, a real estate broker living in south St. Louis County since 1993, felt the sting of the real estate collapse in 2007. He was angry, and he noticed the people around him were angry, too. Three years later he decided to do something about it by running for president.

He filed for the Missouri primary in October and secured his name on the New Hampshire primary ballot the following day. Financing himself, Meehan lived in New Hampshire for 62 days and talked to almost 100 folks daily leading up to the primary.

Meehan doesn’t profess to be an expert on every pressing political issue. His plan if elected is simple and twofold.

“First, we need to eliminate retirement and benefits for all of Congress when they leave office," he said. "Second, I’d go around Congress and institute a Convention by the People to create a constitutional amendment that would balance the budget.”

Meehan also wants an upheaval of our current education system. He holds that education should be a local issue without state intervention. He also wants to flip what he says is a government misallocation of funding. In his view, the high salaries of administrators should be reinvested to pay for textbooks, desks, teacher salaries and “anything that’s in front of the student.”

Although registered as a Republican, Meehan recognizes the need for bipartisanship. He envisions a Cabinet full of people who “get things done,” no matter their political affiliation. He emphasized his status as a man of the people, not of the dominant paradigm.

Despite his passion and charisma as a “natural salesman,” Meehan tallied 51 votes in New Hampshire. Ever the optimist, Meehan is confident his message won’t fall on deaf ears in his home state.

“Let’s make the Show-Me State the We’ll-Show-You State,” Meehan said. “We could really shake up the political institution.”

When Missourians go to the polls Tuesday, Meehan wants them to remember one phrase.

“I’m the fourth name down on the ballot, right under Mitt Romney. Skip Mitt, check Mike.”

 

KEITH DRUMMOND

Katy, Texas

Age: 43

Party affiliation: Republican

Campaign website: www.drummond2012.com

Keith Drummond is president and CEO of Iron Sky, a technology company that provides safety and surveillance systems to law enforcement agencies. He has little previous political experience and first landed on a GOP ballot in the New Hampshire primary on Jan. 10.

Drummond’s top three issues, according to his website, are jobs, the economy and national security.

“I am angry over many aspects of our federal government, but spending tops the list,” he said in an email interview.

Drummond would cut the budget to a level that “allows us to spend less than we take in.”

“I believe plans already introduced in Congress, such as the ‘One Cent Solution’ would be a great way to deal with our federal government’s spending crisis,” he said.

The One Cent Solution, according to its website, is a proposed plan for the federal government to cut one cent out of every dollar it spends for six years. Its aim is to reduce federal spending by $7.5 trillion over 10 years and to balance the budget by 2019.

If elected president, Drummond said, he would repeal President Barack Obama’s health care plan, cut corporate and personal taxes and change the U.S. mission in the Middle East primarily to air support and reconnaissance. He said he would also cut government regulations on businesses, maintain full support for Israel and build a wall along the entire Mexican border.

Drummond is an Army veteran and married father of three.

 

RICK SANTORUM

Great Falls, Va.

Age: 53

Party affiliation: Republican

Campaign website: ricksantorum.com

Richard John “Rick” Santorum is a former U.S. senator from Pennsylvania. His political career began in the early '80s, when he worked as an administrative assistant to a Pennsylvania state senator while attending the Dickinson School of Law. In 1991, after having worked as an attorney for several years in Pittsburgh, Santorum began the first of two terms in the U.S. House of Representatives. In 1994, he was elected to the U.S. Senate, in which he served two terms.

Santorum’s political views are deeply influenced by his Catholic faith, and his legislative record is staunchly conservative. As a senator, he was instrumental in the passage of the 2003 partial-birth abortion ban, which prohibits doctors from performing certain types of late-term abortions. He also has been strident in his opposition to the gay rights movement. In 2003, he received a great deal of attention when, in an interview with The Associated Press, he defended a Texas sodomy law on the grounds that a society’s well-being hinged on the government’s ability to limit people’s “wants and passions”:

“If the Supreme Court says that you have the right to consensual sex within your home, then you have the right to bigamy, you have the right to polygamy, you have the right to incest, you have the right to adultery," Santorum said. "You have the right to anything. Does that undermine the fabric of our society? I would argue yes, it does.”

Santorum’s views have made him popular among the Republican Party’s social conservatives. On Jan. 16 it was announced that he had narrowly defeated former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney in the Jan. 3 Iowa caucus, but his inability to connect with the party’s moderates was apparent in the New Hampshire primary, where Santorum placed fourth. He finished third in the South Carolina primary.

Santorum is the father of seven children (another died shortly after birth). He is also the author of “It Takes a Family,” a 2005 New York Times best-seller.

 

RON PAUL

Lake Jackson, Texas

Age: 76

Party affiliation: Republican

Campaign website: ronpaul2012.com

Ron Paul is an obstetrician who estimates that he has delivered more than 4,000 babies. A former flight surgeon in the Air Force and graduate of the Duke University School of Medicine, Paul has five children and 18 grandchildren. And in the mid-1970s, he decided to get a few things off his chest by running for public office.

Paul is a leading critic of American military involvement all over the world, continually asserting that current policies “provide incentive for more (enemies) to take up arms against us,” according to his website. Recently, he has taken on monetary and airport security policies; both have become hallmarks of his libertarian-leaning presidential campaign.

During 20 years in Congress representing Texas, Paul consistently voted to lower taxes and has advocated for a “dramatic reduction in the size of the federal government.” He opposes the Supreme Court’s 1973 decision that legalized abortion and opposes recent congressional attempts to define marriage as only between a man and woman, thinking states should make those decisions.

Paul’s campaign promises largely mirror his record in Congress. If elected, he says he would:

  • Extend all Bush tax cuts and lower the corporate tax rate to 15 percent.
  • Repeal health care reform passed in 2010.
  • Cut $1 trillion in federal spending and eliminate five Cabinet departments, including the Energy, Education and the Interior departments.
  • Stop foreign aid and end all wars.

Many see Paul as a fringe candidate, but his appeal to young voters is undeniable. In the South Carolina Republican primary, he received 31 percent of votes from those younger than 30. During a rally in New Hampshire earlier this month, The New York Times reported that the youthful crowd’s most emphatic response came when Paul declared, “… we are dangerous to the status quo!”

 

NEWT GINGRICH

McLean, Va.

Age: 68

Party affiliation: Republican

Campaign website: newt.org

Although Newt Gingrich does not appear on Tuesday's primary ballot, he does intend to compete in the Missouri caucuses that begin in March.

Gingrich was raised in a small town in Pennsylvania and carries with him several decades of political experience. Gingrich represented Georgia in the U.S. House of Representatives for 20 years, gaining clout in 1989 when he was appointed minority whip and again in 1995 when he became speaker of the House in the first Republican Congress since 1954. As figurehead of the so-called Republican revolution, he was named Time's "Man of the Year" for 1995.

During his congressional tenure, Gingrich facilitated the creation and subsequent passing of a balanced budget that led to the reimbursement of more than $400 billion in national debt. He hopes to recreate the economic success he saw as speaker of the House by implementing a "pro-growth" strategy.

"Creating jobs and getting back to 4 percent unemployment is the most important step to a balanced budget," Gingrich said on his website. Steps to achieve this growth include putting a stop to proposed tax increases, bolstering the dollar by curtailing inflation and promoting transparency, creating a balanced budget and re-evaluating entitlement programs based on public feedback.

Gingrich also says he has championed health care with overhauls of Medicare and the Food and Drug Administration that directed the market's focus to people, prevention and innovation. He now advocates a "Patient Power" plan that would make health insurance more accessible and tax deductible, personalize Medicaid and Medicare and create a high-risk pool in each state to cover those unable to buy insurance.

"I'm running to rebuild the America we love," Gingrich tweeted Friday morning.

REPUBLICANS ON THE BALLOT BUT NO LONGER RUNNING FOR PRESIDENT

HERMAN CAIN

Atlanta

Age: 66

Party affiliation: Republican

Campaign website: cainconnections.com

With an economic background as CEO of Godfather's Pizza and a member of the board of directors of the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City at both its Omaha, Neb., and Kansas City branches, Georgia businessman Herman Cain based his campaign on reviving the national economy with the 9-9-9 plan. It called for a 9 percent business flat tax, a 9 percent individual flat tax and a 9 percent national sales tax. Amid accusations of sexual misconduct and lackluster polling, he announced in December that he would suspend his bid for the Republican candidacy.

 

JON HUNTSMAN

Palo Alto, Calif.

Age: 51

Party affiliation: Republican

Campaign website: jon2012.com

Jon Huntsman was governor of Utah from 2005 to 2009 and served as U.S. ambassador to China from 2009 to 2011. He rode a wave of high expectations into the primary season, campaigning on a platform of restoring public trust, economic prosperity and national security. Following a third-place finish in the New Hampshire primary, however, he withdrew his bid and endorsed Romney.

 

RICK PERRY

Austin, Texas

Age: 61

Party affiliation: Republican

Campaign website: rickperry.org

Texas Gov. Rick Perry ran a campaign centered on job creation and fiscal responsibility. He called for a national flat tax of 20 percent. His bid was swathed in controversy, though, as he made repeated gaffes in Republican debates and on the campaign trail. He suspended his candidacy after finishing fifth in the Iowa caucuses and receiving less than 1 percent of the vote in New Hampshire. He withdrew from the race in January, casting his lot with Gingrich.

 

MICHELE BACHMANN

Stillwater, Minn.

Age: 55

Party affiliation: Republican

Campaign website: michelebachmann.com

The buzz around Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachmann's bid for the Republican nomination was high after her public criticisms of Obama. After showing early promise in the Iowa straw poll, though, Bachmann came in a disappointing sixth in the same state’s caucuses. She campaigned on what her website calls her "constitutional conservative" principles of economic restoration, protection of marriage and spending cuts but suspended her candidacy in January.

 

DEMOCRATS

BARACK OBAMA

Chicago

Party affiliation: Democrat

Campaign website: barackobama.com

President Barack Obama began his political career in 1996 upon his election to the Illinois state senate, where he represented the 13th District. He rose to national prominence with his keynote address at the 2004 Democratic National Convention and was elected to the U.S. Senate that year. He served as a senator for more than three years until resigning to focus on his 2008 bid for the presidency.

Obama says he is a firm supporter of economic security and jobs for Americans, and he emphasizes the need to change the tax code to eliminate deductions for businesses that outsource jobs. He also advocates cutting payroll taxes, and he wants to eliminate tax breaks for the extremely wealthy.

“Right now, because of loopholes and shelters in the tax code, a quarter of all millionaires pay lower tax rates than millions of middle-class households,” Obama said during his fourth State of the Union address on Jan. 24. “Right now, Warren Buffett pays a lower tax than his secretary.”

Obama’s administration pushed the Affordable Care Act, which established a new Patient Bill of Rights intended to eliminate health-insurance practices deemed unfair to consumers, such as limits on lifetime coverage. It also allows young adults to remain on their parents’ health insurance plans through age 26. Provisions set to begin in 2014 will include state-run health insurance exchanges, intended to give consumers and small businesses more options for purchasing affordable coverage.

During his recent State of the Union address, Obama also proposed several strategies for making higher education more affordable. He said Congress should block higher interest rates on student loans, extend tuition tax credits and double the number of work-study jobs. He also called on states to increase their investment in higher education.

RANDALL TERRY

Washington, D.C.

Age: 52

Party affiliation: Democrat

Campaign website: terryforpresident.com

Randall Terry has a picture of himself laughing with Pope John Paul II.

“I was asking him if he would like to come to America to get arrested at an abortion clinic with me,” Terry said.

Wearing a floor-length coat made entirely of beaver fur, Terry recently made a campaign stop in Columbia. He said he is staunchly opposed to abortion, federal entitlements and marijuana prohibition.

In 1998, Terry ran for Congress in upstate New York as a Republican. And in 2006, he ran for a seat in the Florida state senate, also as a Republican. He failed to win his party’s nomination in either campaign.

Terry grew up in Rochester, N.Y., and spent much of his youth at a piano bench. Despite being the son of two schoolteachers, he dropped out of high school at 16 and spent his time hitchhiking and sleeping on beaches. After a year of living on the road, Terry experienced a dramatic conversion to Christianity.

“My constituency in Missouri is the pro-life Catholics and Catholic Evangelicals,” Terry said.

After the global economy, conflict in the Middle East and Social Security reform, Terry said, he thinks abortion is the most critical voting issue in the upcoming election.

“We must make it a crime to kill an unborn human being — a criminal act,” he said. “If you vote for Obama knowing that he promotes murder, then you have blood on your hands.”

Terry called Planned Parenthood a “criminal syndicate” and said methods of birth control should be outlawed.

Terry supports capital punishment, but he said he thinks the American judicial system is “flawed.”

“I think we need to decriminalize marijuana,” Terry said. "We’re spending all this time locking people up who are not doing anything to hurt anybody."

Terry said he thinks the federal government should end all entitlements, including Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security, to decrease the federal deficit.

JOHN WOLFE

Chattanooga, Tenn.

Age: 57

Party affiliation: Democrat

Campaign Website: johnwolfeforamerica.com

John Wolfe is an attorney in Chattanooga, Tenn., with a great interest in politics. Wolfe has unsuccessfully run for six federal, state and local elections since 1998, four of which he ran for Congress in 1998, 2002, 2004 and 2010.

Wolfe was fined $10,000 in 2008 because he neglected to file a fourth-quarter campaign finance disclosure report after running for state senate. Wolfe cannot be elected for any state or local office until the fine is paid, but that did not stop him from running for president.

On Jan. 12, Wolfe received 246 of nearly 60,000 votes in the Democratic presidential primary in New Hampshire.

Wolfe thinks the U.S. defense budget is too high. He said Obama would not reduce military spending as promised but is actually for a more expensive military.

“We’re spending, right now, more on the military — $200 billion more a year — than we did at the height of the Cold War,” Wolfe said. “We still project increases in the defense budget over the next five or 10 years in real-dollar terms.”

Wolfe also believes in banking reform. He said that the reckless and fraudulent people in charge of the banks are the same people that are now making policy in the White House.

Wolfe said he is running because Obama is failing to stand up for Democratic principles.

“I represent the people over the banks, I represent the people over Wall Street and I represent the people over business — over the Pentagon,” Wolfe said. “If the people want somebody who's going to be there for them, then John Wolfe’s their man.”

As a candidate for the people, Wolfe said, he even answers his own phone and invites people to call his toll-free number at (866) 266-1172.

DARCY RICHARDSON

Jacksonville, Fla.

Age: 56

Party affiliation: Democratic

Campaign website: darcy2012.com

Darcy Richardson is a progressive activist and former Democratic precinct committeeman from Jacksonville, Fla., who has been long active in independent, third-party politics.

He is the advertising manager for the Arlington Monthly and the creator of the political blogs BattlegroundBlog.com and UncoveredPolitics.com.

He is also the author of six books, including “A Nation Divided: The 1968 Presidential Campaign,” published in 2002.

Richardson’s political experience includes:

  • Co-founding the New Democrats, a progressive organization within the national Democratic Party whose mission is to gain control of the party from political managers and media consultants.
  • Serving as U.S. Sen. Eugene McCarthy’s manager in his 1992 presidential campaign.
  • Running for Pennsylvania auditor general in 1980.
  • Running for the U.S. Senate in 1988.
  • Managing Brian Moore’s independent campaign for a Florida seat in the U.S. Senate in 2006.

Richardson announced his candidacy in 2011, according to his campaign website. He was disappointed in Obama for failing to follow through on campaign promises and for his inability to pull the nation out of what Richardson calls a “great recession.”

“There’s a lot of disillusionment and frustration among progressive Democrats in the U.S.,” Richardson said in an interview with First Coast News. “And I think one-quarter of the party would like to see a challenger emerge in the election cycle. … This is something deeper than a recession.”

Richardson’s campaign website says he seeks an immediate end to the war in Afghanistan and opposes the Keystone XL pipeline. Richardson also advocates a capital levy on wealth and said that although he’s still developing his platform, he supports a second stimulus package “roughly five or six times the size of Obama’s to jump-start the U.S. economy.”

The second stimulus package would include a Medicare-for-all health care plan and a temporary postponement on home foreclosures.

“The American people are hurting,” he said. “And they’re hurting bad.”

 

LIBERTARIANS

JAMES ORLANDO OGLE III

Pacific Grove, Calif.

Age: 54

Party affiliation: Libertarian/independent

Website: usparliament.org/google2012.php

James Orlando Ogle III will appear as a Libertarian on the Missouri primary ballot. He is secretary of the U.S. Parliament, a non-profit organization that helps register voters and supports third-party candidates. He works with several independent presidential candidates, including Roseanne Barr, and he said he hopes to become the vice presidential running mate for Barr’s presidential campaign.

Ogle is running on several platforms, including ranked-choice voting. This system is based on percentages, allowing multiple winners. Ogle described it as more inclusive and more competitive. Ranked-choice voting would help third-party and independent candidates, he said.

Ogle describes himself as an "outsider" in the Libertarian party, but he does support its calls for smaller government, greater liberty and less violence.

"The Libertarian Party is for the non-initiation of force," he said. Force can be used as a defensive measure, but should never be used against people, he said.

In addition to Missouri, Ogle is on the California primary ballot in June.

Missourian reporters Amy Willsey, Anli Xiao, Dan Burley, Tony Lee, Blaine Duncan, Jacob Kirn, Hannah Cushman, Dani Kinnison, Madeline O'Leary, Laura D'Angelo, Allyson Wilson and Karen Miller contributed to these profiles.

The ballot

What you need to know to vote in Missouri's president primary next week.


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