Kinky Friedman

3.4098360656059 (1403)
Posted by pompos 04/05/2009 @ 12:23

Tags : kinky friedman, authors, books, fine arts

News headlines
Kinky Friedman adds advisers - Dallas Morning News
Singer and author Kinky Friedman unfurled the names of two interesting personalities to help advise his campaign: legendary and flashy Houston lawyer Richard "Racehorse" Haynes and former Austin councilman and UT regent Lowell Lebermann....
Top Seven Songs Namechecking Jesus - Three Monkeys Online
The last thing niggers want to think about they God is that his hair kinky…”. Kinky Friedman and Alice Walker together, though, agree in art on one thing - whatever race or colour Jesus may have been, he sure as hell wasn'ta wasp'y-texan, beer-drinking...
State Legislature: Bill would expand seat belt law - Carrollton Leader
Attorney Richard "Racehorse" Haynes and former Councilman Lowell Lebermann this week signed on as advisers for Texans For Kinky, the specific-purpose committee enabling Kinky Friedman to explore a run for governor of Texas in 2010. If Friedman runs for...
In Texas, Mother Nature and Politics are Unforgiving - Capitol Hill Blue
Perry was very lucky to have run against a strong Democrat (Chris Bell) and two equally popular independent candidates in Carol Keeton Strayhorn and Richard "Kinky" Friedman. Texas voters were divided mostly on these four candidates and Perry was able...
Doesn't It Make You Feel Better: Songs About Pigs - Houston Press
This time they've taken a cue from 1976 and the boys from Fort Dix - now tell me that unintentional rhyme ain't a Kinky Friedman song waiting to happen - and are providing non-stop, white-knuckle coverage of the dreaded swine flu, which, according to...
Wheeled works of art taking to the streets - Pasadena Citizen
Kinky Friedman is the 2009 Grand Marshal for the parade. He'll be riding in a 1964 Pontiac Bonneville convertible that was given to Hank Williams Jr. on his 15th birthday. It's from the O'Quinn Automobile Collection in Houston....
Art Car Parade ready to roll in Houston - KHOU
The Grand Marshal for the 2009 parade is Kinky Friedman. He'll be riding in a 1964 Pontiac Bonneville that was given to Hank Williams Jr. on his 15th birthday. The Art Car Parade is the creation of the Orange Show, a non-profit organization dedicated...
Flyover America: 10 (More) Songs for an American Road Trip - World Hum
Rapid City, South Dakota (Kinky Friedman & The Texas Jewboys) Some people may dismiss Kinky Friedman as a bit of a novelty act. He's not. While there are definitely some good knee-slappers (and plenty of reasons to take offense) in some of his songs,...
'Palo Pinto' set to open in Branson - Boerne Star
In addition to Clark and Tillis, the film features country music newcomer Trent Willmon, Hollywood stuntman Bill Hart, retired Texas Ranger Joaquin Jackson, retired Dallas Cowboy tight-end Jay Novacek and Kinky Friedman as the Governor of Texas....

Kinky Friedman

Kinky friedman 2006.jpg

Richard S. "Kinky" Friedman (born October 31 or November 1, 1944) is an American singer, songwriter, novelist, humorist, politician and former columnist for Texas Monthly who styles himself in the mold of popular American satirists Will Rogers and Mark Twain. He was one of two independent candidates in the 2006 election for the office of Governor of Texas. Receiving 12.6% of the vote, Friedman placed fourth in the six-person race.

Born in Chicago to Jewish parents, Dr. S. Thomas Friedman and Minnie Samet Friedman, Friedman moved with his family to a ranch in central Texas during his childhood. He had a keen interest in both music and chess at an early age. Friedman was chosen when he was 7 to be one of 50 local chess players to challenge U.S. grand master Samuel Reshevsky to simultaneous matches in Houston. While Reshevsky won all 50 matches, Friedman was by far the youngest competitor.

Friedman graduated from Austin High School in Austin, Texas in 1962 and graduated from the University of Texas at Austin in 1966 with a Bachelor of Arts, majoring in Psychology while participating in the Plan II Honors program. He is also a member of the Tau Delta Phi fraternity. It was during his freshman year at the university that Chinga Chavin gave Friedman the nickname "Kinky," in reference to Friedman's curly hair.

Friedman then served two years with the Peace Corps on the island of Borneo in Malaysia with John Gross. He has been featured in the news including 60 Minutes on CBS and made an appearance as one of Jay Leno's guests. Friedman lives at Echo Hill Ranch, his family's summer camp near Kerrville, Texas. He also founded Utopia Animal Rescue Ranch, the mission of which is to care for stray, abused and aging animals; more than 1,000 dogs have been saved from animal euthanasia.

Friedman formed his first band, King Arthur & the Carrots while a student at the University of Texas. The band - which poked fun at surf music - recorded only one single in 1966 (Schwinn 24/Beach Party Boo Boo).

By 1971, Friedman had formed his second band, Kinky Friedman and The Texas Jewboys. In keeping with the band's satirical nature, each member had a comical name: in addition to Kinky there was Little Jewford, Big Nig, Panama Red, Wichita Culpepper, Sky Cap Adams, Rainbow Colours, and Snakebite Jacobs. Friedman's father objected to the name of the band, calling it a "negative, hostile, peculiar thing", which gave Kinky even more reason to choose the name.

Arriving on the wave of country rock following on from Gram Parsons, The Band, and the Eagles, Friedman originally found cult fame as a country and western singer. His break came in 1973 thanks to Commander Cody, who contacted Vanguard Music on his behalf. Friedman released Kinky Friedman in 1974 for ABC Records, then toured with Bob Dylan in 1975-6. His repertoire mixed social commentary ("We Reserve The Right To Refuse Service To You") and maudlin ballads ("Western Union Wire") with raucous humor (such as "Get Your Biscuits In The Oven and Your Buns In Bed"). His "Ride' em Jewboy" was an extended tribute to the victims of the Holocaust.

He made a race baiting song, "They Ain't Makin' Jews Like Jesus Anymore," a song in which Kinky verbally and physically beats up a drunken white person he deems "racist" who fictitiously berates African Americans, Jews, Greeks, and Sigma Nus in a bar.

Other Friedman tunes include "The Ballad of Charles Whitman," in which Friedman lampooned Whitman's sniper attack from the University of Texas tower on August 1, 1966. His cover of Chinga Chavin's "Asshole from El Paso", a parody of Merle Haggard's "Okie from Muskogee" is, perhaps, his most famous song.

In early 1976 he joined Bob Dylan on the second leg of the Rolling Thunder Revue tour.

Friedman was a musical guest on Saturday Night Live in October 1976.

It has been reported by Mr. Friedman himself that he is the only artist known to have taped an unaired episode of Austin City Limits. He has also claimed to have been the first full-blooded Jew to take the stage at the Grand Ole Opry.

In February, 2007 Sustain Records released a compilation of the songs of Kinky Friedman sung by other artists called Why the Hell not... The compilation includes contributions by Dwight Yoakam, Willie Nelson, Lyle Lovett, and Kelly Willis.

On July 20, 2007 Kinky Friedman hosted the "Concert to Save Town Lake" to honor the memory of Lady Bird Johnson and her efforts to protect and preserve the shores of Town Lake in Austin, Texas.

After his music career stalled in the 1980s, Friedman shifted his creative focus to writing detective novels. His books have similarities to his music, featuring a fictionalized version of himself solving crimes in New York City and dispensing jokes, wisdom, recipes, charm and Jameson's whiskey in equal measure. They are written in a straightforward style which owes a debt to Raymond Chandler. To date, he has written two novels that do not star the Kinky Friedman character: Kill Two Birds and Get Stoned and The Christmas Pig.

Friedman has also written a regular column for the magazine Texas Monthly since April 2001, although it has been suspended during his run for governor of Texas; his last essay appeared in the March 2005 issue. In 2008, Texas Monthly brought his column back on a bimonthly basis.

Two books have been published collecting some of these nonfiction writings, as well as previously unpublished ones: 'Scuse Me While I Whip This Out and Texas Hold'em. He has also published a travelog (The Great Psychedelic Armadillo Picnic) and an etiquette guide.

The recurring character "Rambam", a New York private investigator and friend of the Friedman character in the books, is based on the real-life investigator, Steven Rombom, who acts as a technical advisor for the real Friedman.

In 1986, Friedman ran for Justice of the Peace in Kerrville, Texas, but lost the election.

In 2004, Friedman began a serious, though colorful, campaign to become the Governor of Texas in 2006. One of his stated goals is the "dewussification" of Texas Among his campaign slogans are "How Hard Could It Be?", "Why The Hell Not?", "My Governor is a Jewish Cowboy" and "He ain't Kinky, he's my Governor".

Friedman had hoped to follow in the footsteps of other entertainers-turned-governors, including Jimmie Davis, Jesse Ventura, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and Ronald Reagan. When the campaign finance reports came out after the second quarter had ended, Friedman had raised more funds than the Democratic nominee, former Congressman Chris Bell.

On election day, November 7, Friedman was defeated by a wide margin, having received less than 13% of the state's votes in the five-candidate matchup.

On education, he supports higher pay for teachers and working to lower Texas's dropout rate, which is the highest in the United States. He supports more investment in harnessing Texas's alternative fuel resources such as wind and biodiesel. Friedman is opposed to the Trans-Texas Corridor since it relies on toll road construction. He feels that the TTC is a land grab of the ugliest kind, with land being taken from hard-working ranchers and farmers in little towns and villages all over Texas.

On capital punishment, he previously summed up his position, "I am not anti-death penalty, but I'm damn sure anti-the-wrong-guy-getting-executed". More recently, he has clarified his position: "The system is not perfect. Until it's perfect, let's do away with the death penalty".

On illegal immigration, Kinky wants to increase the number of Texas National Guard troops on the border (from the current 1,500 to 10,000), impose $25,000 and $50,000 fines on companies that hire illegal immigrants and require foreign nationals seeking employment to purchase a foreign taxpayer ID card once they have passed a criminal background check. "Texas can no longer wait for our federal government to solve our illegal immigration problem," Friedman said. "These are steps that Texas can immediately take to help stem the tide of illegal immigrants penetrating our border." Had he been elected, he had promised to meet regularly with Governors Bill Richardson (New Mexico) and Janet Napolitano (Arizona) to develop a coordinated border state plan to supplement federal efforts to curb illegal immigration. Previously, Kinky put forth the "Five Mexican Generals" Plan, to pay Mexican officials to halt immigration on their side of the border. Although he originally stated "When I talk about the five Mexican generals, people think I’m joking but I’m dead serious", Friedman later told the Dallas Morning News that the plan, never meant to be carried out, was a joke with an element of seriousness.

According to his official Web site, Friedman's answer to the question "How does Kinky feel about abortion?" is "Kinky believes in a woman's right to choose." In person, he hedges his bet, saying "I'm not pro-life, and I'm not pro-choice. I'm pro-football". On social issues he has supported gay marriage, answering an Associated Press reporter's question on the subject on Feb. 3, 2005, "I support gay marriage. I believe they have a right to be as miserable as the rest of us" (Friedman himself is not married).

According to Cigar Aficionado magazine, Friedman plans to roll back "any and all smoking bans" if elected. One of his favorite quotes comes from Mark Twain: "If smoking is not allowed in heaven, I shall not go". Friedman supports the decriminalization of marijuana, though he doesn't advocate making its sale legal. "I'm not talking about like Amsterdam," he noted, "We've got to clear some of the room out of the prisons so we can put the bad guys in there, like the pedophiles and the politicians".

On August 9, 2007 the Austin American-Statesman reported that Friedman is considering another run for Governor of Texas in 2010. "I'm open to running," Friedman said, adding that he won't make a final decision until after the 2008 elections. On February 10, 2009 Friedman confirmed to the Associated Press that he was still interested in running.

In an August 23, 2007 interview with the Fort Worth Star-Telegram and a February 10, 2009 interview with the Associated Press, Friedman stated that if he did run in 2010, he would run as a Democrat, citing that "God probably couldn't have won as an independent" and that he was a Democrat all his life.

Friedman appeared in the 2004 documentary film "Barbecue: A Texas Love Story" by Austin-based director Chris Elley. In the film, narrated by Governor Ann Richards, Kinky exclaims that "Jesus loved Barbecue" and analyzes the speech patterns of Texans versus New Yorkers. Raw footage from Friedman's interview appears in the 2005 DVD release of the film. He has appeared in other movies as well including Loose Shoes and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2.

Friedman's persona as a politically incorrect raconteur has been likened to that of movie critic and commentator John Irving Bloom, better known in print as Joe Bob Briggs, with whom he appeared in the B-movie Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2.

Friedman prefers to smoke Montecristo No. 2 Cigars, the same brand once smoked by Fidel Castro. However, he also smokes Bolivars, noting that "Simón Bolívar is the only person in history to be exiled from a country named after him".. Friedman now makes eponymous cigars under the name Kinky Friedman Cigars.

Friedman is friends with Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, and he has visited both at the White House. He wrote about his friendships with them in his November 2001 column ("Hail to the Kinkster") for Texas Monthly.

To the top



Larry Sloman

Replace this image male.svg

Larry "Ratso" Sloman is a New York-based author best known for his collaboration with Howard Stern on the radio personality's two best-selling books, Private Parts and Miss America He also appears in all of Kinky Friedman's mystery novels as the Dr. Watson to Kinky's Sherlock. Sloman wrote what is generally considered as the best book on Bob Dylan, On the Road with Bob Dylan, an account of the legendary 1975 Rolling Thunder Review. He has also penned Reefer Madness, a history of marijuana use in the United States, Thin Ice, an account of one season with the New York Rangers hockey team, Steal This Dream, an oral biography of Abbie Hoffman. His latest book, The Secret Life of Houdini, written with magic historian William Kalush, presented groundbreaking research that proved that early 20th Century American magician Harry Houdini was a spy. The authors also raised the possibility that Houdini had been murdered by a cabal of Spiritualists, prompting Houdini's great-nephew to call for an exhumation of the magician's body to test for poisoning. Sloman's other collaborations include Mysterious Stranger, with the magician David Blaine and Scar Tissue, the autobiography of the Red Hot Chili Peppers lead singer Anthony Kiedis.Executive Editor of National Lampoon Magazine.

To the top



Okie from Muskogee

Okie From Muskogee cover

Okie From Muskogee is an album by Merle Haggard and the Strangers, released in 1969. Haggard has stated that the title song on this album is somewhat of a satire. This album was recorded live in Muskogee, Oklahoma. Originally released in 1969 it was re-released in 1992, 1996, 1997, 2005, and 2006 on other labels.

The song was later parodied by Chinga Chavin, as "Asshole from El Paso". Kinky Friedman later covered the song, as did the Melvins, on their album The Crybaby, with Hank Williams III providing vocals.

All songs by Merle Haggard unless otherwise noted.

To the top



Guy Juke

Guy Juke (born 1951), aka De White, has been an Austin, Texas based artist and musician since moving there in 1973 from nearby San Angelo, Texas. He started his career by writing and illustrating underground comics. As a poster artist he has created memorable imagery for nightclubs such as Armadillo World Headquarters along with Sam Yeates, Michael Priest and Jim Franklin. His work is recognized for its darkly detailed, often shadowy and angular figures inspired by horror films, haunting western landscapes, and loopy cartoon characters. Performers such as Joe Ely, B-52s, Willie Nelson, Frank Zappa, Talking Heads, Pavarotti and Asleep At The Wheel, Roy Buchanan are all immortalized via his graphic design. As a musician he has performed as a guitarist with Butch Hancock, Doak Snead, Ponty Bone and lately as Blackie White in the Cornell Hurd Band. He recently designed the logos and posters for author and musician Kinky Friedman's 2006 campaign for Texas Governor. He is also credited with the cover art of The Ramones 1981 album "Pleasant Dreams".

To the top



Rocking the Boat: A Musical Conversation and Journey

Rocking the Boat: A Musical Conversation and Journey is a musical documentary by Hawaii-based film maker Jay Curlee. The feature includes interviews and performances by Delbert McClinton, Marcia Ball, Rodney Crowell, Stephen Bruton, Wayne Toups, Jimmy Hall, Paul Thorn, Jeffrey Steele and Teresa James. Sometime author, musician, sheriff and Texas gubernatorial candidate Kinky Friedman also stars.

The film was the opening night feature of 37th Annual USA Film Festival, April 19, 2007 in Dallas, Texas. It won Best Documentary Feature at the 2007 Woods Hole Film Festival and Best Music Documentary at the 2007 Lone Star International Film Festival. Rocking the Boat also played the 26th Breckenridge Festival of Film and the 2007 Dixie Film Festival.

To the top



Independent (politician)

In politics, an independent is a politician who is not affiliated with any political party. Independents may hold a centrist viewpoint between those of major political parties, or they may have a viewpoint based on issues that they do not feel that any major party addresses. Other independent candidates are associated with a political party and may be former members of it, but choose not to stand under its label. A third category of independents are those who may belong to or support a political party but believe they should not formally represent it and thus be subject to its policies. Finally, some independent candidates may form a political party for the purposes of running for public office.

Independents have rarely been elected to the federal Parliament of Australia, although they are more commonly elected to state parliaments. A large number of independents are former members of one of Australia's main parties, the Australian Labor Party, the Liberal Party of Australia or the National Party of Australia.

Currently, three independents sit in the Australian House of Representatives: Rob Oakeshott and Tony Windsor from New South Wales and Bob Katter from Queensland - all three are former members of the National Party.

Independent Senators are quite rare. In modern politics, former ALP member Brian Harradine was re-elected to the Senate for decades and held considerable influence at times, as has Nick Xenophon, following his election to the Senate in the 2007 federal election.

Independent politicians have held considerable sway in the Canadian House of Commons in recent years as Canada has been governed by successive minority governments with independent Members of Parliament (MPs) holding the balance of power.

In the 2004 federal election, Chuck Cadman was elected to federal parliament as an independent MP representing the British Columbia riding of Surrey North. Cadman had previously represented that riding on behalf of the Reform Party of Canada and Canadian Alliance, but after the Canadian Alliance merged with the Progressive Conservative Party of Canada to form the new Conservative Party of Canada in 2003, Cadman lost the nomination to represent the Conservative Party in that riding to Jasbir Singh Cheema. Cadman then stood in the subsequent election as an independent and defeated Cheema, as well as the candidates of other Canadian parties, by a significant margin.

In the spring of 2005, Cadman cast the tying vote in favour of a budget supported by the Liberal Party government of Paul Martin as well as the New Democratic Party (NDP), but opposed by the opposition Conservatives and Bloc Québécois. Two other independents also voted on that budget. Carolyn Parrish, independent MP for Mississauga—Erindale, had recently been kicked out of the Liberal Party for criticizing US president George W Bush, but nonetheless sided with the Liberals on the budget vote. David Kilgour independent MP for Edmonton—Mill Woods—Beaumont, had previously quit the Liberal caucus and voted with the opposition parties against the budget. The tie vote required the Speaker of the House Peter Milliken to cast the deciding vote, and he did so in favor of the budget, allowing the government to survive.

Cadman was terminally ill with cancer at the time he cast his crucial vote, and he died later in 2005. In the 2006 federal election, his riding was won by NDP candidate Penny Priddy. Neither Parrish nor Kilgour (nor Pat O'Brien, MP for London—Fanshawe, who quit the Liberal Party to sit as an independent after the 2005 budget vote) stood for re-election in 2006.

Another independent candidate, André Arthur, was elected in the Quebec riding of Portneuf—Jacques-Cartier in 2006, and was the only independent to win a seat in that election. He was re-elected in the October 14, 2008 federal election. Former Progressive Conservative and Conservative MP Bill Casey, who was expelled from the Conservative Party for voting against the 2007 Federal Budget, also ran as an independent in the 2008 election, easily retaining his seat.

The president of Iceland, Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson, is independent.

After the Irish general election in 2007, there were five Independent Teachtaí Dála (Members of Parliament) in Dáil Éireann (the lower house of the Irish parliament), representing 3% of the total. Four of these Independents signed agreements to support the current Irish government. One of them (Beverley Flynn) subsequently re-joined the main government party of Fianna Fáil. There are seven Independent Senators in Seanad Éireann (the upper house of the Irish parliament).

There is only one independent Member of Parliament in the Dewan Rakyat as of 2008. The sole independent MP, Yang Berhormat Dato' Ibrahim Ali, who represents the constituency of Pasir Mas in Kelantan won the seat under the ticket of the Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party (PAS) during the Malaysian general election in 2008 but instead chose to be sworn in as an independent member of parliament.

Independent MPs will usually get the support of members of the opposition parties when necessary.

For most of its history, New Zealand was governed by a First Past the Post electoral system, leading to bipartisan dominance by the New Zealand Labour Party and New Zealand National Party. In the sixties, this began to break down, as protest votes flowed to the Social Credit Political League. In 1984, the New Zealand Party split the centre-right vote, reacting against the Keynesian economic policies of Prime Minister Robert Muldoon, although the party was never elected to Parliament.

In the nineties, New Zealand adopted the Mixed Member Proportional electoral system after two referenda on the subject provided a majority for electoral reform in 1992 and 1993. In 1996, this meant that the New Zealand First and centre-left Alliance Party were represented in sufficient number to match their voter share. However, both parties were to prove unstable over the next decade or so. New Zealand First left the first MMP coalition government in 1998, and the resultant split left a reduced New Zealand First on the Opposition benches, while the Alliance suffered its own haemorrhage of support from its constituent parties. One former Mana Motuhake List MP, Alamein Kopu, seceded from the caucus, as did Frank Grover, who then joined the Christian Heritage Party.

In response to the above situation, in which Prime Minister Jenny Shipley maintained power with the assistance of these breakaway List MPs, the incoming Fifth New Zealand Labour-led government passed an "Electoral Integrity Act", which evicted List MPs who would not obey party discipline from Parliament. Although ACT New Zealand opposed the new legislation, it later used it against one of its own errant members, former List MP Donna Awatere Huata.

However, the Electoral Integrity Act had a sunset clause, and ceased to operate in 2005. After that, it was Labour's turn to be supported by breakaway List MPs from its own ranks - Taito Phillip Field of the New Zealand Pacific Party - and former United Future List MP Gordon Copeland, who formed The Kiwi Party. Neither party survived the New Zealand general election 2008.

At present, there are two sole MP parties in the incoming 49th New Zealand Parliament. These are Jim Anderton of the New Zealand Progressive Party, former Alliance leader, and Peter Dunne, who led the United Future caucus for six years (2002-2008), but attracted insufficient support to gain additional party list votes after the current election. Neither Anderton nor Dunne are currently classed as "independents," although this may change if their respective party infrastructures ceased to exist.

Polish Sejm election ordination in practice does not allow lone candidates to run. Tickets always have multiple candidates as every district is represented by multiple Sejm Members. Hence, almost all tickets are partisan. However, during a Sejm term many Sejm Members switch parties or become independents.

Tickets like Civic Platform during the 2001 election were formally non-partisan, Civic Platform was widely viewed as a de facto political party, as it is now.

The situation in the Senate is different, as the voting system allows independents to run as single candidates and some are elected in their own right.

Three Presidents since 1990 have technically been independents. Lech Wałęsa was not an endorsed candidate of any party, but the chairman of the Solidarity and he was elected without full support of this union (Solidarity votes split between him and Prime Minister Tadeusz Mazowiecki). Aleksander Kwaśniewski was a leader of the Social Democracy of the Republic of Poland, but formally resigned from the party after he was elected, as Lech Kaczyński, who was the first leader of Law and Justice, did after he got elected.

Noli de Castro, the Philippines' current vice president, ran as senator in 2001 with no political party affiliation. He was an adopted candidate of the opposition Pwersa ng Masa coalition but he never joined their campaign rallies. He won in the senate race with the highest votes (then) in Philippine history.

In most recent history, popular independent Philippine politicians include Senator Antonio Trillanes IV (former Oakwood mutiny leader) and Pampanga Governor Eddie "Among Ed" Panlilio.

All of Russia's Presidents have been independents. Current President Dmitry Medvedev was offered to join United Russia but politely declined, saying that he believes the President should be an independent so that he serves the interests of the country rather than his political party.

Two independent or minor party MPs were elected in the 2005 UK general election: Peter Law (MP for Blaenau Gwent), who died on April 25, 2006, and Richard Taylor, sole MP of the Independent Kidderminster Hospital and Health Concern party (for the Wyre Forest constituency). Dr Richard Taylor's election to Parliament is most notable for the fact that he is the only independent in recent times to have been re-elected for a second term. Since Peter Law's death, the by-election has yielded another independent MP - Dai Davies. News reporter Martin Bell was elected as an Independent MP for Tatton from 1997 to 2001 having stood on an anti-corruption platform.

The UK House of Lords includes a large number of independent peers, who are usually known as crossbenchers.

The introduction of directly elected mayors in several parts of the UK has witnessed the election of independent candidates to run councils in Stoke-on-Trent, Middlesbrough, Bedford, Hartlepool and Mansfield. The first Mayor of London, Ken Livingstone, was originally elected as an independent, having run against the official Labour candidate Frank Dobson. He was subsequently re-admitted to the Labour Party before his first re-election campaign.

Independent candidates frequently stand and are elected to local councils. There is a special Independent group of the Local Government Association to cater for them.

Independent candidates frequently stand in parliamentary elections, often with platforms about specific local issues, but usually with little success. A typical example from the 2001 general election was when Aston Villa supporter Ian Robinson stood as an independent candidate in the Sutton Coldfield constituency, in protest at the way chairman Doug Ellis ran the club. Another example, in the Aldershot constituency, of an independent candidate is King Arthur Pendragon - a notorious local who walks around town in long white robes with a long grey beard and a sword he claims to be Excalibur.

At the 2003 Scottish Parliamentary elections, three MSPs were elected as Independents: Dennis Canavan (Falkirk West), Dr Jean Turner (Strathkelvin and Bearsden) and Margo MacDonald (Lothians). In 2004 Campbell Martin (West of Scotland region) left the Scottish National Party to become an independent and in 2005 Brian Monteith (Mid Scotland and Fife) left the Conservative Party to become an independent. At the 2007 Scottish Parliamentary elections Margo MacDonald was again returned as an independent MSP.

Other independent candidates are associated with a political party and may be former members of it, but are not able to stand under its label. For instance, after being expelled from the Labour Party but before joining the Respect Coalition, British Member of Parliament (MP) George Galloway described himself as "Independent Labour".

A third category of independents are those who may belong to or support a political party but believe they should not formally represent it and thus be subject to its policies. This was common among members of most political parties for the purpose of British local government elections until the last quarter of the twentieth century.

Some independents in the United Kingdom have registered locality-based political parties. UK examples include Independent Kidderminster Hospital and Health Concern, Epsom and Ewell Residents Association, Loughton Residents' Association, Derwentside Independents; many are local residents' or ratepayers' associations that contest elections. They are usually considered independent as they have no alignment in national politics.

Historically, George Washington was the only elected independent president, as he was not formally affiliated with any party during his two terms.

John Tyler was expelled from the Whig Party in September 1841, and remained effectively an independent for the remainder of his presidency, later becoming a Democrat. He briefly sought re-election in 1844 as a National Democrat, but withdrew as he feared to split the Democratic vote.

Recent prominent independent candidates for president of the United States include John Anderson in 1980, Ross Perot in 1992, and 1996, and Ralph Nader in the 2004 and 2008 elections. In 2008, independent Presidential candidate, Ralph Nader formed Independent Parties in New Mexico, Delaware, and elsewhere to gain ballot access in several states. This strategy has been pursued by several 'independent' candidates for Federal races, including Joe Lieberman (Connecticut for Lieberman).

Maine, Oregon and Texas are the only states to have elected formally independent candidates as governor: James B. Longley in 1974 and Angus King in 1994 and 1998 from Maine, Julius Meier in 1930 from Oregon, and Sam Houston in 1859 from Texas. Lowell P. Weicker, Jr. is sometimes mentioned as an independent governor, though this is not technically correct; he ran as A Connecticut Party candidate (which gave him better ballot placement than an unaffiliated candidate would receive), defeating the Democratic and Republican party nominees. Another former governor who is sometimes mentioned as an independent is Jesse Ventura, who actually ran as a member of the Reform Party's Minnesota affiliate, which later disaffiliated from the party and reverted to there original name the Independence Party of Minnesota.

In 1971, State Senator Henry Howell of Virginia, a former Democrat, was elected lieutenant governor as an independent. Two years later, he campaigned for governor as an independent, losing the election by only 15,000 votes.

There were several unsuccessful independent gubernatorial candidates in 2006 who impacted there electoral races. In Maine, state legislator Barbara Merrill (formerly a Democrat) made the gubernatorial ballot, while in Massachusetts, wealthy convenience store owner and former Massachusetts Turnpike Authority board member Christy Mihos ran for Governor. In Texas, country music singer and mystery novelist Kinky Friedman and State Comptroller Carole Keeton Strayhorn both ran for Governor splitting the ballot four ways between themselves and the two major parties.

There have been several independents elected to the United States Senate throughout history. Notable examples include David Davis of Illinois (a former Republican) in the nineteenth century, and Harry F. Byrd, Jr. of Virginia (who had been elected to his first term as a Democrat) in the twentieth century. Some officials have been elected as members of a party but became independent while in office (without being elected as such), such as Wayne Morse of Oregon or Virgil Goode of Virginia. Vermont senator Jim Jeffords left the Republican Party to become an independent in 2001. Jeffords's change of party status was especially significant because it shifted the Senate composition from 50-50 between the Republicans and Democrats (with a Republican Vice President, Dick Cheney, who would presumably break all ties in favor of the Republicans), to 49 Republicans, 50 Democrats, and one Independent. Jeffords agreed to vote for Democratic control of the Senate in exchange for being appointed chairman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, and the Democrats held control of the Senate until the Congressional elections in 2002, when the Republicans regained their majority. Jeffords retired at the end of his term in 2007. Wayne Morse after two years as an independent became Democrat, while Goode switched to Republican.

Representative Bernie Sanders was an independent member of the United States House of Representatives for Vermont-at-large from 1991 to 2007. Sanders later won the open Senate seat of Jim Jeffords as an independent. Joe Lieberman a former Democrat who ran like Lowell P. Weicker, Jr. under a third party (Connecticut for Lieberman Party) in the 2006 election. Though both representatives are technically independent politicians, they caucus with the Democrats. In 2006, there were only two victorious independent candidates for Congress: Bernie Sanders and Joseph Lieberman.

In April 2008, there were eleven people who held offices as independents in state legislatures. There were three state senators, one from Kentucky, one from Oregon, and one from Tennessee. The representatives came from the states of Louisiana (two), Maine (two), Vermont (two), and Virginia (two).

In November 2005 Manny Diaz was elected Mayor of Miami, Florida as an independent. On June 19, 2007, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg switched his party affiliation from Republican to independent.

To the top



Texas gubernatorial election, 2006

Kinky Friedman contemplates a question from the audience at a campaign rally in Bastrop, Texas.

The 2006 Texas gubernatorial election was held on November 7, 2006 to select the next governor of the state of Texas, who is serving a four year term that began on January 20, 2007. The Republican and Democratic Parties chose their candidates by primaries and convention. Primaries were held on March 7, 2006, with the winner of each requiring a majority vote. The Libertarian Party chose their candidate by caucuses held at various locations around the state and convention in Houston, Texas. By law, all parties in Texas must hold their political conventions in the month of June, then deliver to the Secretary of State a certified list of their candidates. The Democratic, Libertarian, and Green Parties held their convention on the weekend of June 9 through June 11, 2006, while the GOP met a week earlier on the weekend of June 2 through June 4.

Only a plurality was required to win the general election (see Article 4 Section 3 of the state constitution).

In order to qualify for the ballot, both independent candidates and the write-in candidate had to obtain enough valid signatures. Both Strayhorn and Friedman submitted signatures to the Texas Secretary of State, who announced that each and every signature will be checked for validity (in protest, Strayhorn contended that this is a tactic by Perry – her bitter political enemy – to keep her off the November ballot). Texas Secretary of State Roger Williams validated the candidacies of Strayhorn and Friedman on June 22nd.

Another potential candidate, middle school administraor Felix Alvarado, was excluded from the Democratic primary ballot when his check for the party's required $3,750 filing fee bounced.

In addition, four independent candidates and Jerry Larson (the endorsed candidate of the Green Party) did not submit enough signatures to qualify for ballot access, nor did Larson qualify as a write-in candidate.

Incumbent Rick Perry became governor in late 2000 when then-Governor George W. Bush resigned following his election as President of the United States. He had been elected lieutenant governor in 1998. Perry was subsequently elected Governor in his own right in 2002 and successfully ran for a second full term in 2006.

Perry's overall poll ratings had plummeted since the 2002 election, plagued by budget woes, battles over school financing reform, and a contentious and controversial redistricting battle. His approval rating dropped to 38% during the latter part of the 2005 legislative session. Perry then improved from this position, more recently holding a 44% approval rating, with 51% disapproving, as of a September 2006 poll. Texas election laws do not require a run-off in the event that a solid majority is not achieved, and so Governor Perry joined only two other Texas governors to achieve the office by a plurality of less than 40%. The Texas Governor Elections of 1853 and 1861 both won with less than 40% of the vote.

Despite weak polling numbers, Perry had the support of the Texas GOP. According to Perry's campaign website, he gained 142 separate endorsements. Perry had endorsements from virtually the entire Texas GOP Congressional delegation (all but two members), every other Republican statewide officeholder (except Strayhorn and judicial officeholders; the latter by law cannot endorse political candidates), 51 of the 62 members of the Texas Republican Party executive committee (it should be mentioned, however, that someone on the executive committee is in danger of removal for supporting someone other than his/her party's nominee), and nearly every major Texas pro-business, fiscal conservative, and social conservative organization and PAC. Perry even managed to gain the endorsement of the Teamsters Union, notwithstanding Texas's strong right to work laws.

Kinky Friedman, an independent candidate, gained a good amount of popular support among Texas voters. He claimed that country-music lovers, college students, animal lovers, ranchers, and anyone who didn't vote in the last election were among his supporters.

By Independence Day, Friedman passed Democrat Chris Bell in a few polls, which he didn't keep up. His website claimed that "he doesn't put much stock in unscientific political polls among "likely" voters, saying, "It's Kinky Friedman versus apathy". Friedman stated during that the campaign that he was going after the 71% who didn't make it to the polls in 2002.

Friedman was haunted by racially insensitive statements that were made, both during the campaign and during comedy routines twenty years ago.

Although Friedman did briefly enjoy a high standing in the polls, and though much was made of his wide support among young voters, his campaign appeared to fizzle out as Election Day drew near, and he ultimately finished fourth with under 13% of the vote.

Chris Bell, a former Congressman from Houston, is best known for filing an ethics complaint against former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay as a lame duck who had been defeated in his party's primary after the controversial mid-decade redistricting in the state. Bell announced his run in July 2005.

Bell's official strategy was to get Democrats to unite behind and vote for a Democrat, predicting (and betting on) a splintering of the Republican vote among Perry, Strayhorn, and Friedman, giving the Democrats the needed plurality to win the election. Running on a platform of ethics reform and education issues, he stayed with the pack of three candidates with better name recognition. After a good debate performance, his poll numbers improved significantly to where he had taken second place in nearly every poll afterward.

Chris Bell finished the election with 30% of the popular vote, which was higher than he had polled at any point prior to the election.

Carole Keeton Strayhorn, the Comptroller of Public Accounts, was initially pegged as running in a potentially contentious three-way Republican primary battle with bitter rival Governor Perry and U.S. Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison. Hutchison declined to run for governor in late 2005, instead opting to run for re-election to the Senate. This left Strayhorn and Perry vying for the GOP nomination. Believing her chances to be better running as an independent and appealing directly to voters, rather than those of the Republican Party first, she announced her intent to challenge him in the general election instead. Had she run in the primary, the December 2005 Scripps Howard Texas Poll of match ups had Perry in the lead against Strayhorn by a 55%-24% margin.

However, candidates not associated with a major political party have had a hard time garnering support (only one independent candidate, Sam Houston, has ever become Governor of Texas).

Although a few polls had her tied for second going into Election day, she finished with 18% of the vote, 12% behind Bell and 21% behind Perry.

James Werner was the Libertarian Party candidate. According to Werner's campaign website, he has a Masters degree in Spanish and Latin American literature from the University of California, a Bachelors degree from Vanderbilt University and is currently working for an Austin-based educational software company.

Werner previously ran for Congress in 2004 as the Libertarian nominee. Contending for the 25th District, he garnered 1.7% of the vote.

James "Patriot" Dillon was the only announced write-in candidate, according to information from the Texas Secretary of State's office.

In the event a candidate does not qualify for independent status, they may still run as a write-in candidate. The candidate must pay a $3,750 filing fee and submit 5,000 qualified signatures. However, the filing cannot take place any earlier than July 30, nor later than 5:00 PM on August 29.

Percent change available only for parties that participated in the 2002 Texas gubernatorial election.

To the top



Source : Wikipedia