Helmuth Lehmann, Independent Candidate for Congress
The day before Nevada's special election in its second Congressional District found Independent caniddate Helmuth Lehmann walking neighborhoods in northwest Reno looking for votes.
He's done a lot of this in the past several weeks. While the major parties and various political action committees threw hundreds of thousands of dollars into this special election, Lehmann says he's spent just $4,000 on a few signs and the cards he's leaving on doorsteps.
Other than that his campaign expenditures have been shoe leather and the 10 pounds he says he's lost going door to door.
That's not to say, he's not serious about this. He says he's running because he has to.
The title of his book "Losing America: How Self-Serving Leaders Are Destroying Our Future" hints where he's coming from.
"The country is in dire straights," he says, adding that the partisan divide in Washington is doing little to help.
"The two party system has shown more failure now to get along than in any time in the history of the republic."
It's what he sees as the failure of both major parties that fuels his candidacy, but this veteran of the business world comes to the table with a number of specific ideas.
For instance he would extend the Bush-era tax cuts for most, but not all.
"I would rescind the tax cuts for the wealthy immediately," he says. "The wealthy are not job creators. The people who are job creators are the small business owners."
He'd also protect Social Security, Medicaid and Medicare and oppose any attempt to privatize them.
He'd push for bank reform and even prosecution for those on Wall Street who he says took $17 billion dollars from our economy and have faced no consequences.
He also says he'd make corporations who outsource jobs wait for six months to a year or maybe two years to be able to sell products produced overseas here.
"If you take your factory overseas and then you want to import your goods here. Sorry, you won't be able to sell those goods here in the US whether you bring them in through Canada, Mexico or anywhere else."
And he'd bring the troops home, leaving the pursuit of terrorists to the CIA and Special Forces.
"I'd also bring the troops home from Germany, Japan and South Korea," he adds. That is unless those countries want to pay their way.
He notes that countries like South Korea have the funds to invest in emerging technologies to bolster their economies because they aren't burdened with the extra level of military security our troops provide.
Nearly thirty candidates originally filed for the special election including a number of independents. Lehmann was the only one to gather the needed 100 signatures to get on the ballot once the rules for the election were decided. "I had more than 300," he says.
He says he knows the odds he's facing, but if he were to be elected he says he'd be different than most.
"I'm not going to work across the aisle. I'm an independent. They'll put me in the aisle. I'll work with anyone."
He says however, he'd consider it a success if others followed his independent path and began to change the partisan divide in Washington.
"No idependent running for Congress has gotten into the double digits since 1912," he says. "If I can do well, perhaps I can inspire others to run and we can force the two parties to start working together."