WHEN THE IOWA caucus officially kicks off the 1996 presidential race this month, voters will begin the process of choosing among a dozen or so major-party candidates. But they’re not the only ones running—not by a long shot. It’s simple, you see, to run for president; all you have to do is submit the forms required by law: a Statement of Organization and a Statement of Candidacy. According to the Federal Election Commission, nearly two hundred people had taken the plunge as of January 1, including sixteen Texans—the largest number from any state except for California. I interviewed six of the anonymous but ambitious aspirants; herewith, a candid campaign guide.

Name Richard Francis Flynn James Robert Bridges Jerry Holcombe Leroy Rogers Sammy Brown William Winslow
Age 57 56 48 61 46 39
Hometown San Antonio Dallas Dallas Fort Worth Kountze Lindale
Party American Labor Party Democrat or Independent Independent Independent Independent Independent
Occupation Advertising executive. Teaches sign lanuage to dogs. Computer technician for a blood bank. Used-car dealer. Disabled veteran. Runs a home for disadvantaged children.
Political Experience None. None. Tried to run for governor in ‘94 but check for filing fee bounced. None. None. None. None.
Why he’s running To rid the White House of the “Bill and Hillary co-presidency.” “To take back the White House for the people.” To change “whole spiritual foundation” of American life. “I don’t like the way things go sometimes.” He’s not getting adequate representation in Washington. “I see the corruption” in Washington.
Strategy Avoid “snow and schmoes” of New Hampshire primary; raise money by asking people for $2 contribution. Lead multiracial unity marches to every state capitol in U.S. Stave off media coverage until after the conventions (“How long did it take this nation to find out who Kato Kaelin was?”). “Not be a bad man.” Wage a “word of mouth” campaign; use Internet (e-mail address: [email protected]). Run a virtual campaign via the Internet; avoid the media “smokescreen.”
If elected Outlaw abortion. Sell government savings bonds to American workers to pay for entitlements; decriminalize drugs. Push free-enterprise system. Cut taxes; help poor folks. Refuses to say more for fear that Clinton campaign will be tipped off to his plans. Model Pentagon cost-cutting on Wal-Mart incentive programs, rewarding biggest money savers with free trips to U.S. military bases abroad. Expel 100,000 U.N. troops that U.S. attorney general Janet Reno has on standby in the event Clinton declares martial law.
Quote “Clinton is too damn young for the job.” “My first lady will be [actress] Jaclyn Smith,” whose line of clothing at Kmart will promote a “populist image.” He was “drunk on [his] back in St. Petersburg, Florida,” when God told him to seek the presidency. Thinks his “good reputation as a used-car dealer” will give him an electoral base. “I’m personally opposed to homosexuality, but I’d love to see gays in the military.” “There is a tremendous amount of U.N. activity in Nashville.”