KENTUCKY -- After entering the race with a petition of 9,000 signatures in early August, Kentucky gubernatorial candidate Drew Curtis' campaign is now in full swing. The founder of news aggregator Fark.com is running as an independent along with his wife and running mate, Heather Curtis, in this year's election.
"In order to make sure I got on the ballot, we had to wait till the last minute in order to make sure I turned in as many signatures as possible," said Curtis. "People have run as an independent in Kentucky in the past and failed to qualify for the ballot. There were two others that actually had that happen."
Curtis faces a tough fight against Democrat Jack Conway, the incumbent attorney general of Kentucky, and Republican businessman Matt Bevin. A July Survey USA poll last placed Conway at 48%, Bevin at 38%, and Curtis at 8%.
"The lack of media coverage due to not being ballot qualified actually held us back," he said. "Now that I'm on the ballot, media coverage has opened up like an absolute deluge."Curtis believes the recent influx of media attention coupled with an upcoming debate appearance bodes well for the future of his campaign.
"People who already had a candidate told me, from both sides, that the reasons they wanted me on the ballot was because their candidate wasn't good enough to win and they wanted me on the ballot as an out just in case," he explained. "They're right. I think neither candidate is good enough to win."
One point of strategy for the Curtis campaign is to focus on voters who have since given up.
"I think there's a little bit of a different thing going on this Fall thanks to people like Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump," Curtis remarked. "I feel like there's a sea change coming on this stuff. People are so fed up with garbage candidates they have been given that they are willing to vote for people like Donald Trump, on the basis that nobody controls him."
Curtis has since attempted to portray himself as a candidate not bound by party or political rules. One way he attempts to do this is through the way he communicates with voters.
"The good news for me is I tend to sort of speak my mind and occasionally that comes off a little bit rough, but thanks to Trump the bar has dropped to the floor, so I'm not going to sound weird when that happens," said Curtis. "I bring a lot of substance to the table too, so with any luck we can tap into that zeitgeist."
Another way is to tackle big issues, such as Kentucky's unfunded pension liability, which Curtis claims is on track to bankrupt the entire state by 2018
"It's actually horrifying," he commented. "That was my motivation for this, because it started out as, "Oh, it would be kinda nice. I bet I can do a better job," to stumbling across this time bomb sitting here in the near future and realizing I'm the only one who can fix this."
Curtis has also decided to tackle the controversial issue of coal, taking the position that Kentucky needs to decrease its reliance on coal as a natural resource and that coal companies shouldn't have to rely on government subsidies.
"There's a finite amount of coal in the ground. We've gotten all the easy coal out," he said. "It only gets harder from here and there's none more being made."
With less than three months left in the election, Curtis is optimistic about the progression of his campaign.
"If everyone who ever said, "Government doesn't work," comes out and votes, I will win in a landslide and that's a fact," he said.