ALBANY, Ga. -- John Monds could probably walk into Publix, buy a half-gallon of ice cream, then stroll back to his car without ever being recognized as the Libertarian party's candidate for governor of Georgia.
"Sometimes it is frustrating for me," Monds said of his struggle to grab attention away from more visible rivals Republican Nathan Deal and Democrat Roy Barnes.
Monds is never mentioned in either candidate's campaign ads; instead the big boys throw stones at each other and ignore Monds. But he shrugs it off.
"When people do listen to me, they find out that I talk about things the other two candidates do not, like respect for individual rights," Monds said. "Most people realize that we have serious problems in this state, and we have serious problems in this country. I'm running for governor to share my vision of a better Georgia.
"I waited until I was not willing to wait any longer. I threw my hat into the ring, and I'm glad I did. I'm having fun with it."
Monds is correct in that if potential voters listen to him long enough, they will notice he's different from Barnes and Deal on issues such as his support for casinos, paramutual betting and Sunday sales of alcohol in Georgia.
"We need to get our economy back on track and get the government out of peoples' lives." Monds said. "I think one of the fastest ways to kick-start our economy is to build some casinos and a horse-racing track in the state. It will create jobs for our residents, keep money in state and bring in outside money. Right now, that money is going to Florida, Alabama and Mississippi.
"If we have industry and business that wants to come into the state, let's get out of their way."
Monds, who lives in Cairo with his wife, Kathaleena, and their four children, is a fifth-generation Georgian. He is a graduate of Morehouse College with a degree in banking and finance, and is a community volunteer as well as former president of the Grady County NAACP.
In a Rasmussen survey of 500 likely Georgia voters released on Sept. 23, Deal led Barns 45 to 39 percent; Monds and undecided voters stood at 5 percent and "some other candidate" had 6 percent.
The poll's margin of sampling error is plus or minus 4.5 percentage points with a 95 percent level of confidence.
Despite his low polling numbers, Monds is hopeful voter dissatisfaction with Republicans and Democrats will buoy his candidacy in the Nov. 2 general election.
"I absolutely hope we see results from the great swell of dissatisfaction we are seeing for both parties," Monds said. "The people of Georgia are actively looking for alternatives to the two established parties. Hopefully that alternative will be John Monds."
According to a campaign handout, the nuts and bolts of Monds' platform boil down to six basic issues:
- Provide a better environment for the creation of jobs in Georgia by removing barriers to existing and new industries combined with tax reform.
- Protect individuals' and states' rights by standing up to federal encroachments while also working with our Congressional delegation to reverse policies of the past that have allowed these encroachments.
- Reduce government spending by advocating policies to reduce the scope of government, eliminate waste and implement "zero-based budgeting".
- Improve our education system by giving parents more choices resulting in increased competition and a better educated citizenry.
- Pursue more public/private partnerships for transportation and work to expand market-based solutions such as tolls and HOT lanes, with a plan to veto any attempt to use the gas tax to funnel funding to any project other than our highways and roads.
- Promote more local control and decision-making for policies in education, alcohol sales, transportation and new industries.
Monds says the choice on Nov. 2 should be clear.
"Most people are going to vote for or against someone," Monds said. "If you are dissatisfied with broken promises and are motivated to have limited government and getting to keep more of your own money, those are reasons to vote for John Monds.
"To me this race is all about freedom, liberty and respect for individual rights. We really need to get back to that."
John Monds probably will not win the governor's office, but after early November, it's certain his trips to the grocery store will probably become a lot more interesting.