For about two decades now, Andrew Horning has tried to draw public awareness to and ire over certain advantages the state's major political parties have built into Indiana Code.
His most recent attempt targets the taxpayer funding of primary elections for Republicans and Democrats, which Indiana Code mandates, while the law states the minor parties slate their candidates during their own privately hosted conventions.
The Marion County Clerk's Office estimates it costs about $1 million to host most election — primary or general — in the county. The Marion County primary election is set for May 6.
As a perennial Libertarian candidate (with prior affiliation with the GOP), Horning last ran against Joe Donnelly and Richard Mourdock for the U.S. Senate seat vacated with the GOP primary ousting of Sen. Dick Lugar, R-Ind. He now returns to the 2014 election as the Libertarian candidate for the Indiana 8th Congressional District, taking on the Republican incumbent, Congressman Larry Bucshon, and Democrat Tom Spangler.
Horning is currently waiting to hear if the American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana will help him with his case. NUVO caught up with Horning during a telephone interview on Monday. Here are some edited excerpts from that conversation:
NUVO: Why now?
Andrew Horning: It's not the first time I've tried this kind of thing. The Indiana Constitution specifies socialized justice. It's supposed to be available without purchase — it is supposed to be even more free than our public school system. And if you think about how many things are totally opposite and backwards... I've been trying to get lawsuits off the ground based on these kinds of things for about 20 years.
Far more important than one person or any one cause, there is kind of a gestalt that has to happen; there has to be a public mood to change this, which is why for years when I've run for office, I've disassociated from the idea that it has anything to do with me. It's all about our heart and mind; that's what's reflected in politics. And, right now, the mood is pretty numb where people allow anything — just anything. The kick-in your door, no-knock raids ... you know that is unconstitutional, right?
It's not like there's any question about that, it's just who's got the will to do anything about it? I do, but I can't do it by myself and I don't have the money... For many years I've looked into ballot access issues — and lots of political parties have. But they always run into the same issue: The attorneys who will take such cases get paid about $600 an hour. And that makes it the realm of only Democrats and Republicans — and the lawyers themselves are only Democrats and Republicans. How do you fight this situation? The judges are appointed by Democrats and Republicans – and they are Democrats and Republicans.
You are fighting this massive crime ring.
NUVO: I'm not sure they'd describe themselves that way.
Horning: If you are a mafia boss, you don't call yourself a common criminal – you are organized, not your typical criminal. What really is the difference when you've got a monopoly on power and you're not obeying any laws and are in fact violating written laws left and right? You can call yourselves the government because you have power to do so, but the difference morally and legally between that and a bunch of criminals who got powerful enough to kick out the government ... you're really talking semantics now.
NUVO: How's the election season coming so far?
Horning: Larry Bucshon, the incumbent, is trying to hide.
NUVO: He won't debate you?
Horning: A debate would also be an admission that I'm a candidate. The Bloody 8th is geographically the biggest in the state — running north of Terre Haute to the Southwest part of the state and east to Owen County. The Democrat, Tom Spangler, will be unchallenged in the primary. This frustrates me: We've had fewer and fewer debates for years and years. Voters are not showing up to stuff anymore. I've been to forums where there are far more candidates than there are spectators. It's embarrassing. Where are you voters? You are supposed to be hiring people — you need to be paying attention.