Libertarian could force runoff in governor's race

MACON, GA -- Third party politics is a longshot game. This is why Libertarian candidate for governor Andrew Hunt drove 80-plus miles from Atlanta to Macon to get in front of a very modest table full of potential supporters.

In a race that has featured an embattled Republican incumbent, Nathan Deal, and an upstart Democrat, Jason Carter -- Hunt is the forgotten candidate. Except some voters have noticed. A May 11Alive News poll showed Hunt with 7 percent support. An April poll gave Hunt 9 percent -- more than enough to potentially influence the race. If no candidate receives 50 percent of the vote in November, the top two vote-getters would meet in a December runoff.

Billy Walker of Macon said he voted for Deal in 2010, but is unlikely to do so in November.

"I'm ready to go with someone who is the right person," said Walker, "(and) not just the lesser of two evils. and that's kind of what I feel about Deal." Walker was among those meeting with Hunt Wednesday.

Libertarians typically tap into Republican-leaning voters who want smaller government and lower taxes. Libertarians also tend eschew the social issues that drive much of GOP politics, like opposition to gay rights and support for Christian expression in public schools

Hunt is also the only candidate for governor tapping into voter unease over taxpayer funding for two new stadium projects -- one for the Atlanta Falcons and the other for the Atlanta Braves.

"I think the Braves and the Falcons owners have enough money to build their own stadiums if they wanted to," said Alan Wood, a Democrat who says he is undecided between Hunt and Carter. Wood also writes a Macon-based political blog.

"We shouldn't be putting our (tax) money into such large corporations and entities" like sports stadiums, said Hunt. "But instead, into what will really benefit the people, like quality education."


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