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SALT LAKE CITY — As Super Tuesday approaches, Utah’s own third-party presidential hopeful plans to capitalize on the political excitement — or apathy — surrounding the day.
Justice Party candidate Rocky Anderson, formerly Salt Lake City’s outspoken mayor, said Wednesday he plans to stage a “money bomb” next Tuesday. It’s a political slang term for a limited-time fundraising event with a focus on raising money online.
Only two-and-a-half months past the mid-December launch of his candidacy and his party, Anderson said he remains optimistic about the prospects for both — despite lingering financial and ballot access challenges.
Whether we win or lose this election, we can build a party.
–Rocky Anderson, Justice Party presidential candidate
“Whether we win or lose this election, we can build a party,” Anderson said, acknowledging his aims extend beyond 2012. “And to me it’s not just another political party, it’s a people’s movement.”
Anderson now calls a relative cubbyhole upstairs from Caputo’s Market his political corner on the world. Humbly located next to the men’s and women’s restrooms, the office is home to several staffers and volunteers Anderson said have been working “seven days a week” since his campaign’s launch.
“They’re working for peanuts, but their hearts are in this,” Anderson said.
Anderson claims volunteers in 30 to 35 states working to form state parties, with the help of a steering committee.
All that said, nothing has come easy. Getting on ballots in the various states has been a large hurdle, Anderson and his staffers acknowledged.
“The deadlines that have come up already, we’ve gotten on Mississippi, Utah,” said staffer Walter Mason, who works on ballot access issues, among other things. “We missed the mark for Hawaii, but we’ve got plan B and plan C.”
Anderson insisted he doesn’t want to litigate his way to the ballot box, but he decried what he deems to be unreasonable registration requirements in many states.
“There were some very early deadlines — some absurdly early deadlines,” Anderson said. “California, for instance, has a Jan. 3 deadline for parties to get on the ballot. It’s probably unconstitutional.”
Anderson also said he’d like to see the fundraising pick up, something he hopes next Tuesday’s “money bomb” will assist. Anderson said he refuses to take individual donations over $100, and that has made fundraising a larger challenge.
The former mayor said his campaign and startup party have been “far more successful” than he “ever dreamt.” He still plans to eventually recruit other candidates to run under the party name.
President Barack Obama’s low approval numbers and the lack of commitment to a GOP front-runner, according to Anderson, are evidence there is room for a third option in America.
“The vast majority of people in this country want another choice,” Anderson said. “They want somebody who is going to speak the truth and who is going to really focus on getting our nation’s problems resolved.”