Third-party candidates say they are the right men for the governor's job
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Third-party candidates say they are the right men for the governor's job

Date: October 20, 2008
By: Valerie Insinna and Sarah D. Wire
State Capitol Bureau

JEFFERSON CITY - Neither of the third-party candidates for governor have held a statewide position before, but each said his unique background is more of a benefit than people expect.

Andy Finkenstadt

If elected governor, Andy Finkenstadt said he will put one of the values his parents taught him into practice.

It just happens to come from a card game.

"I would never compromise on active ethics, which is a term from bridge," he said. "That means, not only do you follow the letter of the law unscrupulously, you follow the spirit of the law."

Finkenstadt, a Libertarian, is a different breed of politician than Democratic candidate Jay Nixon and Republican candidate Kenny Hulshof. He's never held any sort of statewide office and has to balance his full-time job programming software at Simutronics Corp. with running for a statewide office.

Growing up, Finkenstadt read novels about military heroes and said his parents brought him up to give back to his community.

"This is a way I can make a difference in society on a level more than church or work," he said.

Finkenstadt, the oldest of six children, jokingly calls himself the guinea pig of the family. He said his father, Dr. William Finkenstadt, taught him how to think for himself. His mother, Sheryl Finkenstadt, taught him how to read.

"I joke that it was very subversive of her," he said. "The wide range of books and authors I read gave me lots of ideas to choose from."

Finkenstadt had always been captivated by computer programming, reading the entire electronic section of the library as a child and writing code for a simple videogame at the age of eight.

Finkenstadt, an active Catholic, said he was an intelligent but bored student until he visited his future college, Franciscan University of Steubenville.

"I saw people who lived in a way to benefit the Church," he said. "It was not so much an emotional high as it was a conscious choice I made."

Finkenstadt married his wife, Carol Finkenstadt, in December 2007. Though he says she is not Catholic and sometimes has different political opinions, they grew up with similar values, such as a love for education.

"We have similar outlooks, though we have different endpoints at times," he said. "But if she were a spender, that would drive me crazy."

Finkenstadt said the only luxury item they own is flat screen TV, "which makes her videogames look great."

In his free time, Finkenstadt plays bass guitar at St. Joseph Catholic Church in Cottleville and does Sudoku puzzles before going to bed.

"It gets my mind off of work," he said.

Life has changed since he started campaigning.

"I now field phone calls on my cell phone," he said.

Finkenstadt said as a Libertarian candidate, he has had to grapple with the catch-22 of  trying to catch the media's attention so he can make his campaign more newsworthy.

He admits he should have started fund raising and getting his name out before the primaries.

"Libertarians need to comment on issues on ways that are not just making a stink," he said. "We need to plan ahead and say, 'I need an organization.'"

Finkenstadt didn't even tell many of his friends that he was running for governor.

"They ask me if I'm the Andy Finkenstadt who's running," he said. "How many of us can there be?"

Gregory Thompson

The Bible states "select capable men from all the people - men who fear God, trustworthy men who hate dishonest gain-and appoint them as officials over thousands, hundreds, fifties and tens."

Constitution candidate for Governor Gregory Thompson cites that quotation and proclaims he fits the bill.

"I do believe I will be such a man."

According to it's Web site, the Constitution Party aims to limit federal governmental control to it's constitutional boundaries and restore religious law.

Thompson, who became an ordained minister in 2005 and is currently the minister for the 'Shake the Nation' program, said if elected he wants to bring religion into state politics.

"We need to change back to a time when we had men who feared God and would lead by his wisdom," Thompson said. "We've had man's wisdom take us backward for so long."

Thompson served as a principal and superintendent of schools in Miami County from 1995 to 1998. He served as superintendent of Humansville School District from 1998 to 2004.

He was fired from his position as superintendent in Humansville after posting the ten commandments in school and holding a prayer during a veteran's day program. He also refused to remove religious symbols from his office.

Thompson said he disagrees with the idea that voting outside of the dominant two-party system is throwing away a vote, instead he said supporting the dominant parties is an empty vote.

"You will indeed waste your vote if we continue to vote for those people," he said.

Thompson said the founding fathers planned for the nation to obey God, people, state and then nation but politicians have changed the order to put the federal government first.

"We've gone backward as a result," he said.