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Curtis Promises No-Strings-Attached Candidacy

Josh James

Supporters of independent gubernatorial contender Drew Curtis gathered in Lexington Monday night to celebrate the digital entrepreneur’s official entry into the race.

"Are you with me? Because I'm with you," the newly-minted candidate asks his audience at Chase Brewing Co.

Decked out in the campaign’s easy-to-spot purple shirts, backers cheer on the man who calls himself an “ultra-pragmatist,” open to any ideas as long as advocates show their work.

"If you file a bill that purports to solve a problem and it does, I don't care what the problem is I'm going to look at it," he says.

And that includes Kentucky’s looming pension shortfalls, which Curtis argues will bankrupt the state in a few years unless lawmakers try out some new ideas - such as structuring a bond like a line of credit. That general approach toward issues appeals to supporter Claude Miles, who believes the creator of the popular news aggregator site Fark.com can forge a connection with diehard members of both major parties.

"I have a friend that's on the opposite end of the political spectrum from me," he notes. "And he and I rarely agree on anything. But we agree on Drew."

As for his opponents, Curtis calls Democrat Jack Conway "diet Republican" and GOP nominee Matt Bevin a "talking doll that when you pull the string all it knows how to say is 'less government.'"

One on one, the third party contender doesn’t project himself as a one-issue or protest candidate, but rather a viable alternative to what he considers a two-party system more interested in political fealty and serving entrenched interests than finding solutions. Which is the reason, by the way, for those purple shirts.

"That's what you get when you mix red versus blue. You take all their good ideas you get a pretty good purple out of it," Curtis explains.

Still, even if the so far social media-driven campaign fails to catch fire – Curtis currently polls around 8 percent – the self-described citizen candidate could wind up playing a pivotal role in the outcome of a tight governor’s race this November.

Josh James fell in love with college radio at Western Kentucky University's student station, New Rock 92 (now Revolution 91.7). After working as a DJ and program director, he knew he wanted to come home to Lexington and try his hand in public radio.
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