Christopher Cole does not expect his ninth run for public office to lead to his first victory. As the Libertarian candidate for one of North Carolina's seats in the U.S. Senate, Cole says he's running to advocate smaller government and to raise the profile of his political party.
“I really love the concepts of liberty that the founders gave us in the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, and I'm saddened that we've lost sight of that,” Cole said. “My goal is to reignite that flame.”
Cole, 44, wants to abolish the federal income tax, limit military intervention in Iraq, Europe and elsewhere and reduce illegal immigration by eliminating some wage-and-hour laws.
He is a longtime Libertarian activist and a contract postal worker who lives in suburban Charlotte. Since 1996, he has run for offices ranging from the U.S. House to the Mecklenburg commissioners.
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Several times, Cole was the first openly gay candidate to seek the office.
Cole's minister, the Rev. Allen Church, said Cole isn't someone who gets lost in a crowd. Church described their congregation – with 20 to 30 worshippers at a typical service – as “probably a hippie version” of Presbyterianism that is still orthodox in its Christian theology.
“The very fact that he is with us shows how he stands against the flow of culture,” Church said.
Cole is a former minister in Asatru, a modern rebirth of the religion of the Norse people. He has since renounced the ordination.
Cole is doing little campaigning himself because he works full time and has little campaign money.
“My qualification is that I'm a working man,” Cole said. “That means I share with most of the population the consequences of government. I have to work harder in order to pay taxes. I have to be afraid for my safety because the government has provoked terrorism around the world and now it's coming here. I have to pay higher prices for gasoline and food because of government regulations.”