By Greg Gelpi
Hitting the pavement in a door-to-door campaign to topple two dominant political powers, the Clayton County Libertarian Party is launching a campaign as a third party to claim its own political seats.
David Lockhart circled the wagons and walked the streets of Ward 5 as he rallied support for his campaign to run for the Forest Park City Council Saturday.
Fighting an uphill battle to give Clayton County voters a third choice, the Libertarians are celebrating their fifth anniversary in the county and are mounting runs for several political offices.
"The future looks really busy for us," Philip Bradley, chairman of the local party, said. "It's absolutely not symbolic. We're a formidable force to get candidates into office."
One target for the party is the chairman's position of the Clayton County Board of Commissioners. They are also aiming for the Clayton County Board of Education and state legislature.
"If it's an uphill battle, so be it," Bradley said. "We're more than up to the challenge."
Setting its sights on political offices both big and small, the party is clawing its way on to the ballot for U.S. Congress. Unlike Republicans and Democrats, third party candidates must earn a spot on a ballot by attaining signatures, the number of which depend on the office being sought.
"We're probably going to turn over somewhere between 30,000 to 50,000 signatures," Bradley said, although he didn't know whom the party's candidate is as of yet.
If the Libertarian Party landed a candidate in Congress, it would be the first time in 60 years for a third party candidate in Georgia to win a seat in Congress, he said.
"A lot of people think that it's the state's responsibility to fix their problems, and it's their neighbors responsibility to pay for them," Bradley said.
Libertarians support "individuality and personal responsibility," he explained, adding that they support small, limited government.
There are about 1,400 party members in the state and about 50 "card-carrying" members in Clayton County, Bradley said.