JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. -- The Missouri Constitution Party, which advocates a government that operates under a strict interpretation of the U.S. Constitution, is fielding a full slate of statewide candidates in the Nov. 2 general elections.
The party's hopefuls include Bruce Hillis of Dexter, Mo., who is running for lieutenant governor.
Hillis, a semi-retired nursing home administrator, said he is running to bring attention to state sovereignty issues and what he views as the unconstitutional growth in the power of the federal government.
"Missouri is a free and independent state subject only to the Constitution of the United States," Hillis said. "To me, it is not subject to every unconstitutional whim of Congress."
To draw attention to his candidacy, Hillis last week retraced the 107-mile march of Confederate forces led in 1864 by Gen. Sterling Price, an antebellum Missouri governor. The original march culminated with the battle of Pilot Knob in Iron County.
While the Democratic, Republican and Libertarian parties all receive automatic ballot access, the Constitution Party, which was founded in 1992 as the U.S. Taxpayers' Party, had to collect signatures from at least 10,000 Missouri voters in order to get its candidates on the statewide ballot.
If one of its candidates garners at least 2 percent of the total vote in a given race in November, the party will secure automatic ballot access for the next four years.
Donna Ivanovich, a party spokeswoman and its candidate for secretary of state, said the Constitution Party provides an alternative for voters who are fed up with the political establishment.
"We want to return our country to our constitutional boundaries," Ivanovich said.
The party's other statewide candidates are Robert Wells, a technology manager from Clarksville, for governor; Chris Fluarty, a Springfield minister, for state treasurer; David Fry, a St. Louis lawyer, for attorney general; and Don Griffin of Ballwin for U.S. senator.
The party is also fielding hopefuls in eight of Missouri's nine congressional districts. Retired police officer Leonard Davidson of Salem in running in the 8th District, which includes Southeast Missouri.
The party's presidential ticket is also on the Missouri ballot. Michael Peroutka, a lawyer from Pasadena, Md., is the presidential nominee. His running mate is Chuck Baldwin, a Baptist pastor from Pensacola, Fla.
The state party's Web site is www.constitutionpartymo.org.