Tonight, Former Governor Tommy Thompson (R) and Representative Tammy Baldwin (D) are facing off in Wausau, Wisconsin in their second debate. The candidates are vying for the Senate seat which Herb Kohl is vacating after four terms in office.
However, there are two candidates for the open seat who will not be sharing the stage tonight. Instead, Nimrod Allen III, an independent, and Joseph Kexel, a Libertarian, will be holding an alternative debate at the University of Wisconsin, Stevens Point.
Disillusioned by the ideological battles of the two-party system, Allen wants to advance a “common sense policy.” Allen joined the Marine Corps after 9/11 and is a nine year Iraq War Veteran. Now, he is an entrepreneur -- a Milwaukee business owner that seeks to connect with voters from across the political spectrum.
Kexel is a self-employed businessman from Kenosha who ran for Congress in 2008 and 2010 against Representative Paul Ryan, Romney's vice presidential running mate.
The contest tonight is another in a slew of alternative debates that are cropping up throughout the nation. This seems to highlight voters' interest in diverging from the bipartisan conversation and hearing independent or third party candidates discuss the issues.
Both Allen and Kexel are committed to providing voters with alternatives to the mainstream. Although this race has garned both state and national attention, Allen is frustrated by the fact that the press is so focused on main-party candidates.
“Right now media coverage only goes to the most popular people and people only get popular through media,” Allen admits.
Independents and third parties throughout the nation can hope that debates such as tonight's will garner interest in alternative outlooks and productive solutions to the pressing issues at hand.