But not that Ron Paul.
The other candidate is Ron Paul Shawd, a 58-year-old former car dealer from Lee’s Summit making the most of his first and middle names. He filed with the Missouri Secretary of State’s office to run as “Ron Paul Shawd.” His campaign’s Web address is RonPaul4Congress.com. He also named his Facebook page “Ron Paul for Congress.”
Shawd frequently lops off his surname in online references to himself. A few examples:
“Ron Paul will be a leader that makes a stand and says no more!”
“Ron Paul pays to [sic] much in taxes now and he doesn’t see any effort to stop spending.”
“Ron Paul would vote to not raise the debt limit and deal with spending now!”
Shawd is unapologetic for capitalizing on his name.
“My name is Ron Paul,” he says. “I think it’s pretty sad that people knock that when you use your real name. And I’m trying to get a little publicity.”
Jason Greene is also running for the 5th District Republican nomination. He’s annoyed with Shawd’s campaign for trying to piggyback off the popularity of the other Ron Paul, the 76-year-old Texas congressman and libertarian icon running for the Republican presidential nomination.
“Some of us in our campaign are very frustrated that he’s done this because a lot of Ron Paul folks are supporting us in the primary,” says Greene, a 29-year-old teacher running for office for the first time.
Greene has reason to be upset. He says Ron Paul — the congressman — has verbally endorsed his campaign.
Shawd says he’s also a Paul supporter, and he claims that his campaign is partly a homage to the congressman.
“My name is Ron Paul,” he says. “I like Ron Paul. I like what he stands for. So I can’t use my own name to stand up for the same values that Ron Paul has? I don’t care if Jason Greene got his endorsement.”
Shawd continues: “I think it’s total crap. And if he was a stand-up guy, he would have called to begin with and talk with me.”
Greene says he and the other Republican candidates — Turk and state Rep. Jerry Nolte — aren’t taking Shawd’s campaign seriously because he isn’t participating in candidate events.
“He’s running a paper campaign,” Greene says of Shawd. “It’s very odd. I’ve been to over a couple dozen events for all the candidates, and he has not attended a single one. Nobody really knows who he is.”
Shawd says his absence at Republican events is easily explained.
“It’s almost like this good ol’ boys association that these guys are doing,” he says. “I was not invited, so why should I show up.”
Shawd says his credentials for holding office are his 30 years of business experience — he calls the federal government the biggest business in the world — and he understands health care from a patient’s point of view. He survived esophageal cancer, his wife had a stroke, and his stepdaughter died of brain cancer. His life experiences, he argues, have prepared him well for Washington.
“Jason has no experience in anything,” Shawd says. “He’s a teacher.”
Asked why the Republicans wouldn’t invite him to debates, he says it’s because of his campaign.
“I think it’s because they’re pissed off because I use 'Ron Paul,’ ” he says. “They think I’ve got an unfair advantage and they don’t want to give me any more. And I think that’s politics at its worst.”
Shawd adds that he has raised some campaign funds, but he won’t reveal how much because he doesn’t want his opponents to know the amount.
In Shawd’s bio for The Kansas City Star’s Midwest Democracy Project website, the candidate describes himself this way (the typos are his): “Ron Paul is a white 58 year old male that is a esphaugeaul cancer survivor rasing three black grandchildren 6, 9, and 11. Ron Paul worries about health care that he can no longer afford and worries about being screwed by Social Security in a few years when he retires.”
“That’s very odd,” Greene says. “I don’t know why he would even mention their race. You’re supposed to love them no matter what color they are. Who cares?”
“I wanted to explain that I’m a white guy and I’m not afraid of black people,” Shawd says. “I love these kids as my own. I’m not a racist person.”
Shawd unsuccessfully ran in the 2010 primary. The difference between the campaigns: He didn’t use his middle name. Shawd’s previous campaign website: RonShawd4Congress.com.
“I guess Ron Paul wasn’t as popular then,” Greene says.
Mark Anthony Jones, a 5th District Ron Paul supporter and chairman of the 2012 Jackson County Republican Caucus, says Shawd’s strategy appears to be siphoning votes.
“The only thing that comes to mind is that he’s trying to capitalize on somebody bigger than himself and use the name coattails to make an impression and get voters who like Ron Paul to vote for him,” Jones says.
Jones finds Shawd’s strategy particularly irritating because the candidate hasn’t spent time with the tightknit Ron Paul supporters in Jackson County.
“It’s like, 'Excuse me, who is this person?’ ” Jones says.
Jones, who has worked on Ron Paul’s 2008 and 2012 presidential campaigns, says true Ron Paul devotees don’t know anything about Shawd — except not to vote for him.
“His name has never come up,” Jones says. “I’ve never met him. He’s never been a part of either campaign in 2008 or 2012, to my knowledge.”
Shawd says he supported Paul during his presidential campaign, but he didn’t feel compelled to attend events and rallies.
“I did [support Paul] in my own way,” he says. “I talk a lot of politics, if anybody wants to talk to me. I say, 'Vote for Ron Paul. Ron Paul’s got it down.’ ”
Even though he’s using the “Ron Paul” name for publicity, Shawd doesn’t expect to receive more votes.
“People know that I’m not Ron Paul,” he says. “But if my name is Ron Paul, I don’t have the right to use it?”
No one believes that Shawd can confuse enough voters to win. Still, Jones is baffled by Shawd’s campaign. “I don’t know what he thinks he could gain from that,” he says.
Shawd says he has been frustrated by the lack of support he has received from the Republican Party. The party’s continued support of Turk means that voters face the same thing every election cycle, he says.
“What choices do you keep having every time?” Shawd asks. “Turk don’t even take down the signs.”
Jackson County Republicans tired of Shawd won’t have to worry about him in 2014. Shawd says this is it for his political career.
“I’m going to bow out this year. I’m not going to do this for the rest of my life,” he says.