Karen Kwiatkowski, a Republican candidate for Congress in Virginia, rarely passes up an opportunity to scold Washington politicians about runaway defense spending, which she says is an egregious waste of taxpayer dollars that does little to make Americans safer. Halfway across the country, Tisha Casida, a Colorado Independent, says she’ll push to end the drug war and legalize marijuana if she’s elected to the House. In Florida, Calen Fretts, a Libertarian seeking to unseat a veteran Republican congressman, promises that if he’s elected he’ll begin working to abolish the U.S. Federal Reserve. “As people increase the size and scope of government,” Fretts says, “there’s got to be a few of us to resist it.”
These candidates have two things in common: All are long shots seeking office for the first time. And all were inspired to run by the same man—Ron Paul.