Independent politicians sometimes get a bad rap for being completely off their rocker, but some of them actually have the power to effect change. The 2014 Midterm Elections have been predicted to represent a very rare opportunity for independents, mainly because Americans are just pretty sick of the two-party system. And given how increasingly dysfunctional it’s become—(anyone remember the government shut down?)—here are some semi-sane independent candidates who you could actually vote for in the upcoming midterms.
1. Alaska’s Democrat Candidate For Governor Byron Mallot Drops out; Joins Non-Partisan Ticket
There will be no democratic candidate running for Governor in Alaska, but that doesn’t mean Gov. Sean Parnell is going to cruise into re-election. Former Democratic candidate Byron Mallot dropped out, and signed up as a running mate with non-partisan candidate Bill Walker. Non-partisan tickets have a history of doing well in Alaska, and the hot issue in this race is many Alaskans are suspicious of the governor being in bed with oil companies, which puts his opposition at an advantage. But the bi-partisan ticket faces challenges of its own, like Walker’s social conservatism and Mallot’s image as a savvy political shark.
2. Kansas Businessman Greg Orman Makes Independents Proud Everywhere
Greg Orman is known as a wealthy businessman from Kansas who is running for U.S. Senate. And he might actually have a shot at taking over the Senate from Sen. Pat Roberts (really though). The issues he’s hitting the hardest on are job creation and the economy. He calls himself a “moderate independent,” is pro-choice and has not said which party he would caucus with if elected (but, he has donated thousands to Democrats). Not too much controversy with this candidate, besides the fact that he might actually win.
3. North Carolina’s Sean Haugh, a Pizza Delivery Guy, to Run for U.S Senate
Libertarian candidate for U.S. Senate by day, pizza delivery guy by night: Sean Haugh is not your average candidate for U.S. Senate in North Carolina (he really is a pizza delivery guy). And he actually is polling around 6-7 percent, which is high for a Libertarian candidate.
His views are pretty leftist (stop any spending on the war, deleting the NSA completely) but some of these ideas seem to be resonating across the political spectrum, given the anti-NSA backlash. He could potentially poach votes from both parties, and he definitely has enough YouTube videos to convince you to vote for him.
4. Main’s Eliot Cutler Vies For Governor Spot
Independent candidate Eliot Cutler is running against Gov. Paul LePage and Democrat Mike Michaud for Governor of Maine. In their first televised debate, Cutler went after both candidates and it was revealed that the Democratic Party first approached Cutler to be its nominee. Definitely leaning to the left, he’s unequivocally pro-choice, in favor background checks for firearms, and supportive of environmentalist concerns.
5. West Virginia’s John Buckley Knows How to Win a Race
Libertarian John Buckley from West Virginia is running for Senate, and one of the cooler things about him: He once appeared on the Rolling Stone cover with a ‘Reagan for President’ bumper sticker, according to his biography. Buckley say’s he’s a candidate who wants a smaller government and more personal freedoms for citizens, and aligns more with the Republican party. And that famous last name? His cousin happens to be conservative author and commentator William F. Buckley.
6. Georgia’s Amanda Swafford is Shaking Things Up
Swafford is running in the Georgia Senate race, and when she isn’t taking somewhat adorable ice bucket challenge videos, she is causing quite the run-off between Republican David Perdue and Democrat Michelle Nun. Time* said that her possible run-off in January would be “a victory for third-party candidates everywhere”. She says she’s passionate about smaller government and getting rid of a federal income tax.
7. Tennessee’s Danny Page for U.S. Senate
Conservative Independent candidate Danny Page made the choice to drop out of the Republican primary and run as an independent in the early stages of his campaign. Unlike most Independents who usually are in the middle between Republican’s and Democrats, Page says he is “very conservative.” He is passionate about eliminating any kind of income tax and protecting social security. He completed a 4-year program in biblical studies and theology; he is an electrician; and he is definitely nowhere near as controversial as coke-snorting candidate Thomas Ravenel.
8. Montana’s Roger Roots At Least Made it to the Debate
In the Senate race in Montana, Libertarian Roger Roots has actually gone up in the polls from 6 percent to 9 percent for the Senate race. (It helps that incumbent Democrat John Walsh was ousted after it was revealed he plagiarized a paper for his master’s degree.) Roots has focused on privacy issues and judicial reforms.
9. Arkansas’ Mark Swaney, Lone Green Party Candidate
Arkansas progressive candidate Mark Swaney is running for U.S. Senate against Sen. Mark Pryor, Republican Tom Cotton and Libertarian Nathan LaFrance. And it’s not often that all candidates from each party get to publicly debate with one another on C-SPAN. Swaney wants to limit and eventually end carbon pollution of the atmosphere and is passionate about supporting Unions.
10. Kentucky’s David Patterson Vs. Mitch McConnell
Kentucky’s infamous Mitch McConnell, who the Internet can never forget after “McConnelling”, is running against Democrat and Secretary of State Alison Grimes and Libertarian David Patterson. Patterson leans more to the left, siding with pro-choice, LGBTQ rights and is an activist for ending domestic violence. Oh and fun fact, Patterson is a direct descendent of two passengers who were on the Mayflower (yes, the real one).
Nicole Theodore is a digital Intern at Playboy. Follow her on Twitter to see more of her millennial rants about politics.