Sedona, AZ – Brent Maupin is the only independent candidate running for the open seat in Arizona's 1st Congressional District.
For 30 years, Maupin had been a Republican. About two-and-a-half years ago, he became an independent. He described why at a recent candidates' forum in Sedona.
"As I grew up, I realized that, if you're a moderate Republican or a little bit left of center Democrat, there was really very, very little difference. More recently, I've seen this huge gap when they come together to try and get an issue resolved. They come together with their boxing gloves on, and getting, to me, absolutely nothing done," Maupin said.
The Village of Oak Creek resident refers frequently to corruption in Washington, including the charges against the current 1st District Representative Rick Renzi, who is under a 35-count federal indictment.
Maupin is also a staunch critic of earmarks, or pork, calling it legal corruption.
As an independent in what may be an election colored by voters' desire for change, Maupin says he enjoys certain advantages in the 1st District race.
"People want authentic change. When they see a person that's running as an independent, you get their attention, because they know you don't want to play the game the way it's typically played," Maupin said.
"What I intend to do is get the power back to the people. 80 percent of us want offshore drilling. It's not happening. 80 percent of us, or so, want border control and immigration policy. It's not happening. The power is not in the people. So, I am gonna be a little more confrontational," Maupin said.
For Mel Copen, a supporter and informal campaign consultant to Maupin, it's that kind of unexpected stance that made choosing Maupin easy.
"For me, it was kind of a no-brainer. I take a look, and I see the Republican Party and the Democratic Party, and the point is, whoever wins if they're party affiliated is just going to provide more of the same," Copen said.
Copen acknowledges that getting elected to national office takes a lot of money, something not much in evidence in Maupin's campaign.
The two leaders for the Democratic and Republican nominations are already buying TV time, and each of the winners of the respective primaries can expect infusions of cash from their national organizations. Maupin cannot. Still, he has a game plan.
"I have not talked to one independent yet that didn't like my platform, so there's 30 percent of the vote. All I need is another 10 percent from the Republicans, and another 10 percent from the Democrats. That's 50 percent, and guess what? The other two parties can fight over the rest of the 50 percent," Maupin said.
Whether his math pans out or not, Maupin insists it won't be enough for him. He wants to see heavy citizen involvement in government, beyond the campaign season.
During the campaign, Maupin is getting support mainly through forums and meetings that have drawn as many as fifty people. It fits his budget, and his ideals.
"This is the way I want it. I want it to be a people's movement. I don't want to buy my way in. I plan on doing this by word of mouth," Maupin said.