By Ronnie Ellis/CNHI News Service
Gatewood Galbraith, a frequent statewide candidate known for his support for decriminalizing marijuana, filed candidacy papers Wednesday with the Secretary of State to run for governor as an independent.
Galbraith said voters are tired of partisan politics and ready for an independent candidate.
“The parties are the problem,” said Galbraith, a Lexington criminal defense attorney. “We’re living in a dysfunctional state. We need an independent governor who does not care who gets the credit.”
His running mate is Dea Riley, owner of marketing and public relations firm and a native of Shelby County. She echoed Galbraith’s theme of tax cuts for business and creating jobs.
Galbraith said the best way to create jobs would be a $5,000 voucher for any Kentucky high school graduate to use for “tuition, books and fees” at any institution of higher education. That might be a vocational school or job specific training or a four-year college, he said.
He said the can pay for the program and others he and Riley wish to implement by “stopping the rampant corruption that has kept this state poor for all these years.” Riley ticked off statistics showing Kentucky as the fifth poorest of the 50 states and the worst run.
He also proposed legalizing “medical marijuana for every sick and dying person in Kentucky,” saying it would save the state $500 million to $1 billion in extraordinary medical costs, most of which he said are expended on the final two weeks of life.
Galbraith said he needs 450,000 votes to win.
“We believe there are more than that who agree with us,” he said. “We just have to get them to go to the polls.”
Galbraith and Riley need 5,000 signatures to get on the ballot – but unlike those running for their party’s nomination, independents have until August 9 to qualify and file. An independent must file a written intent to run as an independent by April 1. Candidates running on one of the two major party labels must file by Jan. 25, 2011 but are required to have only two signatures.
Galbraith said he thought he could win with a budget of about $500,000. He said the campaign has already raised and spent $100,000. Galbraith has previously run for Agriculture Commissioner, Governor and Attorney General. He said he’s never raised more than $20,000 in those previous races.
So far, there are two Democratic candidates for governor, incumbent Steve Beshear and perennial candidate Otis Hensley from Harlan County. State Senate President David Williams and Louisville businessman Phil Moffett have said they will seek the Republican nomination.
Ronnie Ellis writes for CNHI News Service and is based in Frankfort, Ky. He may be contacted by email at email@example.com. Follow CNHI News Service stories on Twitter at www.twitter.com/cnhifrankfort.