Downcast over the Democrat candidates for president? And incumbent Republican Donald Trump as well?
Check out independent Albert Raley, an affable grandfather from Frostburg, Maryland, who says he has never voted for president yet now seeks the highest office in the land.
Raley says he’s signed paperwork in 43 states to certify his ballot slot as a write-in candidate for president come Nov. 3rd election day. Seven states do not allow certified write-in candidates, a decision he calls unfair.
His self-description: “I’m outside the box. People think I’m radical. But I’m a problem solver and a visionary.”
His campaign slogan, “Overhaul America.”
His headquarters, a Ford F250 Super Duty pickup truck parked in the shadow of Haystack Mountain at Walmart’s in the hamlet of LaVale just west of Frostburg in western Maryland.
Raley, 65, is a part-time driver’s education teacher with lots of ambition and a zero campaign budget. No slogan-labeled hats, shirts, buttons, patriotic flags or even coffee mugs. And no need to file campaign financial reports with the Federal Election Commission.
Instead, Raley’s banking on social media and his platform that promises elimination of the two-party system and the Electoral College to boot. He’d also cut the size of the 435-member U.S. House, and modernize the Constitution to “keep the good stuff” but also remove obstacles to religion in government.
He wants to “clean house” to end the political “bickering back and forth” that’s deeply divided the country and he says doesn’t serve the public interest, including his wife of 45 years, his 4 adult children and his 11 grandchildren.
“The two-party system is awful,” he told the Cumberland Times-News in a recent interview. “You know George Washington didn’t even want parties. In 1860, when the South seceded, it didn’t have any.”
Raley’s brainstorm to run for president occurred during one of his frequent discussions at McDonald’s about the world’s problems with his longtime pal, George R. Jones. He promptly appointed Jones his vice presidential running mate.
“I said, ‘George I’m going to run for president. Do you want to be my vice president?’” recalled Raley. “He said, ‘Well, sure Al. Can you solve all the world’s problems?’”
The answer: “We’re really trying.”
As have other offbeat candidates for president. In 2016, Matthew “None of the Above” Roberts, a political science professor from Michigan, was a certified write-in candidate. The only thing voters remember about him is the nickname.
Details for this story were provided by reporter Greg Larry of the Cumberland, MD Times-News.