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Third party candidates want equal access

September 18, 2000
By: John Sheridan
State Capital Bureau

JEFFERSON CITY -Secretary of state candidates Steve Gaw and Matt Blunt have already raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for publicity for their campaigns, but third party candidates remain unknown and have almost no money.

While third party candidates run on different platforms, most are united on one issue -- it is difficult to get publicity because a lack of money.

"Nobody knows about us, it's kind of scary," said Donna Ivanovich, the Constitution party secretary of state candidate.

To date, Ivanovich has raised $100, a contribution from her brother. She will not use mass media advertising in her campaign. Instead Ivanonvich will rely on speaking at churches and senior citizen centers for her publicity.

Ivanovich said her party is in a catch-22 situation because they interpret the constitution to mean they can not take taxpayer money in the form of government matching funds.

She only received 296 votes in the August primary and has no delusions about her chances "I am fully prepared I will lose."

Paula Elias, the Green Party secretary of state candidate, is also running on limited funds.

"In any party that is a non-dualapoly it is difficult to get media and financing," Elias says.

So far Elias has raised no money for her campaign.

She is also concerned about the apathy she perceives the finacial inequities create.

"Hopelessness is the enemy," Elias says, "if nobody listens, for long enough the world doesn't care."

Jim Hall, national sales manager at KMIZ in Columbia, says television stations in Missouri have to give candidates running for state office equal television access. But airtime costs money, something most third party candidates do not have.

It seems other candidates also feel hopeless, but not necessarily due to a lack of money, but a lack of effort.

Libertarain secretary of state candidate Jane Southard has not yet started campaigning, but says she will as soon as her schedule permits.

Southard has not raised any money.

Blunt's campaign manager Andy Blunt does not know why the Republican campaign has so much financial support, but speculates the Missouri GOP is better organized and more established than the relatively young third parties.

The Blunt campaign has already purchased television spots that will air in October.

Corey Dillon, Steve Gaw's campaign manager believes the press decides what is newsworthy.

Perhaps another reason for a lack of publicity for third party candidates is that they are not utilizing all available opportunities.

Last month the Missouri Press Assocation held a forum for all statewide candidates, only several third party secretary of state candidates bothered to attend.