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Pre-packaged » Matthew Burbank, associate professor of political science at the University of Utah, said it’s a common refrain; people are tired of only two choices, but they keep making the same two choices repeatedly.
"If you’re a Republican or Democrat, you know what you’re getting," he said. "If you have someone who is an independent, it’s harder because you have to find out who they are. You don’t get a packaged view and have to know where they fit on the spectrum on different topics. And that’s a problem for most voters because they can’t take the time to do that research."
Third party and independent candidates
President » Jill Stein, Green Party; Ross C. “Rocky” Anderson, Utah Justice Party; Virgil Goode, Constitution Party; Gary Johnson, Libertarian Party
U.S. Senate » Shaun Lynn McCausland, Constitution; Daniel Geery, Utah Justice Party, Bill Barron, Unaffiliated
U.S. House 1 » Sherry Phipps, Constitution
U.S. House 2 » Jonathan D. Garrard, Constitution; Joseph Andrade, Unaffiliated
U.S. House 4 » Jim L. Vein, Libertarian
Governor » Brandon W. Nay, Constitution; Ken Larsen, Libertarian
Attorney General » W. Andrew McCullough, Libertarian
State Auditor » Richard Proctor, Constitution
State Treasurer » Vincent C. Marcus III, Libertarian
* Does not include write-in candidates
Burbank also said the system automatically favors Republicans and Democrats because the parties craft the rules.
He also said voters tend to attach more credibility to candidates that have had to run a primary gantlet to secure the nomination rather than a third-party candidate who files paperwork with the FEC.
Sometimes the independent candidates run one-note campaigns or appear to be on the fringe. Barron, for example, is running on protecting the environment and has offered little in policy on a wide range of other topics.
Garrard said at a debate last week his views were shaped and inspired by anti-communist and John Birch Society supporter Cleon Skousen.
Burbank said the most likely pathway for a third party to break through would be for one of the major parties to splinter off, taking with it some high-profile names with built-in fundraising ability. But he said he didn’t see that happening.
"The tea party could have gone that way and had instant credibility," he said. "In essence, they would’ve said ‘If you really want to be conservative, we’re your party.’ They could have easily staked out that territory."
Instead, he said they opted to keep it within the Republican Party and said "There wasn’t really any effort" to turn it into a bona fide third-party movement.
Trail blazer » Kimball, who is running in the 2nd Congressional District, said his inspiration to drive more than 8,000 miles around the large district and meet voters came from Ralph Waldo Emerson. The essayist and poet wrote: "Do not follow where the path may lead. Go instead where there is no path and leave a trail."
Kimball, who is originally from Maine but has lived in Salt Lake City for two decades, said he wants to inspire people to vote for him and break out of the two-party mold.
"If I give you pause for moment and [you] said, ‘I want to think about that or know more about that particular point’ or if I express something beyond what makes you comfortable or if I get you to recognize you have a stake in how this country moves forward, then I want you to consider voting for me," Kimball said.
"This process has been incredibly cathartic for me. I feel like I’m vested in democracy now."
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