An independent candidate has emerged in Iowa by way of Rick Stewart. The Cedar Rapids resident and former CEO of Frontier Cooperative Herbs is looking to take on Bruce Braley and Joni Ernst in a bid to win U.S. Sen. Tom Harkin’s seat after he retires at the end of this term.
Stewart’s campaign is a little unorthodox.
How unorthodox? To give you an idea, he does not accept monetary donations for his campaign and plans to only spend $4,999 of his own money running for office. One of the ways he tries to connect with voters is to invite them into his home every Sunday, where he makes them waffles.
The most interesting aspect of Stewart might not be his political platform, however, which focuses on immigration reform and ending the War on Drugs. An extensive 6,500 word biography on his campaign website details the fascinating tale of Stewart’s life. One story describes him being “sequestered by Palestinians for being an Israeli spy, released and given a cup of tea, then [he] kept on moving down to Jordan, where he was able to cross back into Israel, but did get arrested for spending the night in no man’s land, and again for being friends with the American who had a hash pipe. Two jailbreaks later he was back in Amman.”
“When they released us from jail in Syria [the first time], we missed the last bus to Jordan,” Stewart said. “So I walked down the river Jordan and camped. When the patrol found me in the morning, they arrested me for sleeping in no man’s land. They put me a cell this time, but then just ignored me and left the door unlocked. So I just waited there for a few hours and finally walked out. Nobody said anything, so I left.”
Holy shit, right?
Taking a closer look at some of Stewart’s more notable claims, one has to wonder if he’s not the most interesting Senate candidate in Iowa:
- He has a black belt in Tae Kwan Do
- He hiked the full length of the Appalachian trail
- He travelled Europe for two years, leaving from New York City with $400
- He contracted amoebic dysentery and survived
- He delivered his four children at home, with no doctors or midwives present
- He got robbed at knifepoint three times coming back to the US from Delhi
- He’s pretty much a badass (Okay, this one’s not on the website)
- On top of all this, he has an MBA from University of Chicago
Voters can meet Stewart throughout Iowa, as he plans to ride his bicycle 3,000 miles to all 99 counties during his campaign this summer. You can also connect with him on the web. And while you’re at it, be sure check out his “99 Reasons to Vote for Rick” blog post. You won’t regret it.