Georgia could see a record number of Independents running for office this year. 12 people have requested petitions to get on the November ballot.
The strong showing by Independents is a sharp contrast to four years ago, when only two made it onto the ballot. Both were running for State Representative. In this election cycle, Independents are eyeing the Governor’s seat and two spots in Congress. Ray Boyd hopes to run to replace Gov. Sonny Perdue, and Charles Perry and Victor Armendariz hope to run for the U.S. House.
Emory University Political Scientist Merle Black says Independent candidates are gambling on people’s attitudes about national politics. “There seems to be a lot of dissatisfaction with both political parties, and so some individuals may think that running as an independent is an easier way to win” says Black.
He says Independents face steeper odds without the backing of an established party. It forces them to personally connect with voters. “There’s no textbook model of an independent, it comes down to a particular person and how that person comes across to Georgia voters.”
Independents will need thousands of signatures by July 13th to appear on the November 2nd ballot. Statewide seats such as the race for Governor require 44,071 registered voters’ signatures.