Odds are you have heard of Thomas Jefferson — American founding father, one of the authors of the Declaration of Independence and the third president of the United States.
Additionally, there is also good likelihood that you have not heard of Jack Talbert, the Libertarian Party nominee running against Republican Rep. Mike Pompeo in Kansas’ Fourth House District. Well, he’s hoping to change all of that with a drastic change in his identity.
The long-shot candidate has legally changed his name to Thomas Jefferson in a bid to make a lasting impression on voters when they cast their ballots, the Topeka Capital-Journal reports.
“When people see that Thomas Jefferson’s on the ballot, half will think I’m committed to the Libertarian Party, and the other half will probably think I should be committed,” Jefferson told the newspaper. “But whether you think it’s crazy or not, hopefully it gets people thinking about the founding fathers and Thomas Jefferson in particular and whether we have that form of government still.”
Jefferson is particularly concerned with the U.S. government’s sweeping national security measures put in place after the 9/11 attacks that give the president the ability to detain citizens under the National Defense Authorization Act.
Jefferson’s wife, Santana Marie Talbert, is the Libertarian Party’s candidate for the House in Kansas’ 87th District seat in Wichita. He said his wife was overall supportive of the name-change.
“She said ‘Whenever I want to rebuke you, I will call you Thomas,'” said Jefferson. “It’s like she uses it if I do something stupid, like, ‘C’mon, Thomas, use your brain.’ Around the house, though, she usually still calls me things you can’t print in the newspaper and Jack.”
Still, even with the publicity stunt Jefferson does not think he nor his other opponents have a great chance of unseating Pompeo.
“Essentially, when you’re running against Mike Pompeo, you’re drawing straws to see who’s going to lose to him,” he said.
Jefferson added he is content with Pompeo’s opposition to President Obama’s health care overhaul but argues he has not balanced the budget or taken steps to address the domestic security crackdown that has infringed on the civil liberties of citizens.
“He’s doing the job of a congressman,” Jefferson said. “But unfortunately the job of a congressman anymore is ‘campaign, rinse, repeat.'”
Jefferson understands the stature of the name that he has now adopted. But he says he isn’t trying to live up to the name as much as he is trying to pay tribute to it and remind Americans where we as a country came from.
“It’s indicative to the party,” Jefferson said. “It’s a name that’s recognizable, and it’s a philosophy I think we need to re-adopt.”