Kent grad runs for president



Richard Duncan a Kent State graduate and presidential write-in candidate stands outside of Mc Gilvrey Hall on Nov. 2. Duncan, a urban planning major, said that he had spent many days studying inside Mc Gilvrey Hall, which felt like a second home to him while he was at Kent. Photo by Brian Smith.

Brian Smith

He hasn’t sent out election postcards or smeared his opponent with TV ads, but Richard Duncan wants your vote. The 59 year-old retired postal worker and Kent State graduate is running as a write-in candidate for president of the United States.

The Aurora man is eligible in 25 states from Kentucky to Montana and New York to Florida. He would have liked to have been eligible in all 50 states, but he said he ran into a few problems.

“Many states require 50 or 45 signatures like in Texas, and California,” Duncan said. “I didn’t have access to that many people for those states; maybe I’ll get them in 2016 if I continue on.”

Duncan, who has not held any spot in public office and whose only position in politics was vice president of his Mount Union College freshman class, was inspired to run for president after helping his daughter with student government.

“That’s when I got the spark that I better get started,” Duncan said. “In 2004, I filed the papers to become a write-in candidate and got 17 votes that year.”

Getting a handful of votes that year didn’t deter Duncan from running again. In 2008 he ran again only on the Ohio ballot and received 3,905 votes and came in twelfth overall in the nation. Duncan still bases his platform on what he promised during his 2008 campaign: improving domestic issues such as jobs and education.

The main thing he wants to emphasize is to have the opportunity for a good job, Duncan said. After graduating from Kent State with a master’s in urban geography and working with various city planners, he said he has the experience that can help put people back to work.

Duncan, a self-funded candidate, said once candidates start getting outside money one’s goals can start to change.

“Once you get the funding, your direction is not your own anymore,” Duncan said. “That’s why I’m totally independent in doing what I feel. The people over 10 years have told me what they want.”

Duncan’s campaign trail is not as broad as his two biggest competitors, and he said he has stuck mostly to campaigning in Ohio. He has traveled to Florida to register, but mainly sticks to day trips around the state.

“I’ll be at High Street in Columbus, and the day after that I’ll be in Cincinnati,” said Duncan. He also travels to malls, sporting events, and other campaign rallies handing out his only piece of campaign literature, a business card with his phone number and website.

Duncan said he enjoys campaigning on a grassroots level. He said people tell him he is doing a great thing; they take photos with him and say they’ll put it on Facebook. He said it’s an uplifting thing for him to help everybody and he said, “the kids have a long way to go in this country.”

Duncan said he has accepted the fact he will not be on the steps of the Capitol next year, being sworn in on Inauguration Day as the forty-fifth president of the United States.

“Mathematically, obviously it’s almost impossible with the selection,” said Duncan. “But maybe in 2016, I can get closer or beyond.”

The main thing Duncan said he is hoping for is delivering a platform that the people believe they want.

“This isn’t my belief, but the input of 30,000 people that I’ve met while collecting signatures and campaigning,” Duncan said. “A vote is not wasted for me. I truly believe that a vote for any of these two candidates is really not going to benefit people in the long run. I see this as much as a wasted vote for either of the candidates; they have to pay back their people.”

Contact Brian Smith at [email protected].