Meet the third candidate running to become Georgia governor

‘I’m not in here just to get five percent’ of the vote


  • Maggie Lee
  • Libertarian Party gubernatorial candidate Andrew Hunt prepares to measure for new drapes.

In this year’s gubernatorial election, Atlanta nanotech entrepreneur Andrew Hunt is aiming to attract more than the usual nano-vote for the Libertarian Party (see what we did there?).

“I’m not in here just to get five percent,” Hunt said during a sitdown today at the Capitol. At least half the voters are dissatisfied with both parties, as proven by polls and low turnout, he said. And thus, the opportunity for a third party candidate.

Hunt calls himself a “moderate” Libertarian and said he thinks his message of fiscal conservativeness, smaller government, and social liberalism will resonate with voters.

“We need more liberty ... that means don’t control peoples’ lives,” he said.

He’s not against public schools. His platform does call for more school choices, including regular public schools and charters.

And he aims to incentivize employers to pay their employees at least $11 or so an hour by ... get ready ... kind of nullifying employers’ federal payroll taxes on the employees who make more than that. Normally employers send a tax on roughly the first $110,000 of each employee’s income to Washington, D.C. for Social Security and Medicare and other programs. He would reimburse employers for that out of the state’s general fund.

That would presumably result in a pretty large bill, but he doesn’t have the figure on it yet. But he said such a move will grow so many jobs, and matching economic activity and taxes that it will “create an economic powerhouse in Georgia.” It would take at least four years (or one gubernatorial term) to implement such a program, he said. No other state is doing it.

Other pages torn from more familiar Libertarian manuals include: support for medical marijuana; opposition to jail time for recreational, nonviolent use of regular marijuana; and support for making it easier for third-party and independent candidates to get on Georgia ballots.

And the man with a PhD from Georgia Tech said engineering, not committees, is the answer to Atlanta’s traffic gridlock. It’s crummy for people who have to stew on the freeways, for the companies they work for, and for everybody’s air quality, he thinks, so one relatively cheap, quick fix is to synch traffic lights.

“You have very small diverse regional entities that control the traffic and what you need is more of a continuous system, a grid,” Hunt said.

In other words, cities, counties and the state control different bits. Hunt wants to see them instead farm out oversight of their traffic lights to a private company that can coordinate them all and get paid based on how well traffic flows.

“I think the traffic’s bad enough that with good leadership you can get them to agree on this one thing,” he said.

Besides, he said, driverless cars are coming in as little as 10 or 20 years, so it makes no sense to build any “future empty highway.”

If neither of the two mainline party candidates in the gubernatorial race pulls 50 percent plus one of the votes, there will be a runoff. It would only take a relatively few voters to force that runoff if the race is tight between Republican incumbent Nathan Deal and Democratic challenger Jason Carter.

But Hunt’s strategy is to attract dissatisfied voters from both sides and finish in first place himself. The election is Nov. 4.