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Stories and features about North Carolina candidates, voters, and the politics of the 2014 mid-term elections. Polls are open across N.C. until 7:30 p.m. on election day, November 4.

Libertarian Candidate For U.S. Senate In NC Talks With Phoebe Judge

Sean Haugh, Libertarian candidate for U.S. Senate, 2014
Carol Jackson

Next week voters across North Carolina will decide the next U.S. Senator from North Carolina.  Latest polls show the race basically tied between Democratic incumbent Kay Hagan, and Republican State Speaker of the House Thom Tillis. 

Hagan and Tillis have both called on political celebrities in this, the final full week of the campaign.

But there is a third candidate, Libertarian Sean Haugh.  His candidacy has gained increased scrutiny this election because the race between the two main party candidates is so close. 

Both Hagan and Tillis have spent millions of dollars on their campaigns. So far, Sean Haugh has spent less than $10,000 —reaching out primarily through YouTube videos(where he often poses with a half-empty glass of beer.)

NPR reports that Haugh works as a pizza delivery driverin the evenings:

"I'm the deliverer of joy and relief to about 20 families a night," says Haugh. "When you think about why you order pizza, it's because you want to treat yourself or you just got home from work and you're so tired and you say, 'I don't want to cook, let's just order something.' So everyone loves the pizza guy." And Haugh loves being the pizza guy — more than he thought he might. He gets to see five sunsets a week and says his job allows him to decompress after days spent campaigning. He asked us not to publish the name of the company he works for, to keep the corporate office out of it. Haugh started delivering pizzas about a year ago, after an extended stint of odd jobs and applications that went nowhere. It turns out, he says, 2010 was the worst possible time as a man in his 50s to try to change careers. Before that, Haugh spent more than a decade working for the Libertarian Party.

Haugh says he is running primarily as an act of conscious.

"I can't stand the idea of voting for more war and more debt.  I felt that it was very important that there be a voice in this race against war in particular.  We have been in a perpetual state of war for ... gosh, 15 years now and I think the majority of Americans are really tired of it," he said. 

"You know I just really wanted to do it for myself.  So I could walk into the voting booth in November and vote for something other than what the Democrats and Republicans are offering. I highly recommend that anybody, whether you agree with me or not, run for political office because that is a great bullhorn to have to be able to get your message out, and I really would like to see a number of different options on the ballot." 

Haugh credits the role of social media in helping his campaign this time around.

"My entire campaign is pretty much based on social media.  When I ran in 2002 we didn't have YouTube or Twitter, or Facebook or any of that. I spent quite a lot of time on the road driving.  It is just a really expensive way to put myself in front of people."

Haugh says that, however well he does in this election, that isn't really the point.

"I hope that people can come after me and stand on my shoulders and build up that message of peace and social tolerance." 

>>Read Jessica Jones' recap of the third debate, which included Haugh.

Phoebe Judge is an award-winning journalist whose work has been featured on a numerous national radio programs. She regularly conducts interviews and anchors WUNC's broadcast of Here & Now. Previously, Phoebe served as producer, reporter and guest host for the nationally distributed public radio program The Story. Earlier in her career, Phoebe reported from the gulf coast of Mississippi. She covered the BP oil spill and the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina for Mississippi Public Broadcasting and National Public Radio. Phoebe's work has won multiple Edward R. Murrow and Associated Press awards. Phoebe was born and raised in Chicago and is graduate of Bennington College and the Salt Institute for Documentary Studies.
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