Today, Blaine Richardson announced that he is leaving the Republican Party to run as an Independent U.S. Congress candidate in Maine's 2nd District.

Richardson said the decision to leave the Republican Party came down to two things: Personal conviction and common sense.

"As a retired military veteran I have an obligation to defend and support the United States Constitution no matter what, this decision allows for me to fulfill that obligation," he explained.

"Second," he continued, "common sense tells me that the voters in Maine's second district are looking for a candidate for Congress that will be independent. With folks becoming more and more dissatisfied with political parties, I want to offer them a candidate that is independent of a political party, that comes with executive branch experience, and that has many years of leadership in the Armed Services."

"I am also running as an Independent so that I can take my message directly to the voters of Maine's Second District," Richardson added. "As an Independent candidate, I don't have to worry about spending funds to win a primary. I can use my resources to speak directly to all the voters in the district," he added.

Richardson said he picked Martin Luther King, Jr. Day to make the announcement because Dr. King was a champion of liberty.

"I am not sure that in the last one hundred years that any one championed the cause of civil rights and civil liberties quite like Dr. King did. That is why my campaign chose to announce this today," he said. "Why announce on the day set aside to remember Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.? Because I believe if we were to not only remember Dr. King, but also employee the principle he left for us, our nation would once again return to its place as the shining city on the hill."

One of Richardson's core messages for his campaign for Congress is the need for America to restore liberty. "There is no doubt in my mind where Dr. King would stand in light of the NSA, in light of the shredding of the Bill of Rights by those who are supposed to protect it and in light of America still being involved in undeclared wars," he said.

"If I am elected to Congress I will fight for people's right to privacy, which is the right to live a life free of the burdens of the federal government," said Richardson. "If elected to Congress I will stand against all those would try to limit the rights guaranteed to all Americans as promised to us in the Constitution. And if elected to Congress I will call for an immediate withdrawal of American soldiers and resources from Afghanistan and do all that is within my power to restore the proper place of the Declaration of War, which is in the Congress and not in the Executive Branch."

Despite leaving the party, Richardson said he was treated very fairly by the Maine Republican Party: "Chairman Bennett and Executive Director Jason Savage were always fair to me and my campaign. They offered my campaign all the same resources they did to the other candidates running. I just happen to see the political philosophies that I hold and that my campaign promotes going in a different direction that where the Maine GOP finds itself at this time," he explained.

Despite switching teams per say, the goals of the Richardson campaign remain steadfast. "My campaign will still keep its focus on bringing a message of liberty and returning to a limited, constitutional government, the only difference now is that I don't have to focus my campaign's resources on trying to win the primary of a particular political party, I can take my message directly to the voters," he said.

Richardson said that being an independent candidate will allow him to speak directly to the voters. He said they won't have to worry that he will put loyalty to a political party above their interests. "That is what is great about the message of liberty, it is a message of unity," he said.

The congressional candidate went on to say, "I have said it before but I believe that I am the only one who can credibly build a Left-Right/Republican-Democrat-Independent coalition that can win in a general election and be effective as a member of the Congress.  I advocate for what I believe is in the best interests of Mainers and not what consultants, political parties, and special interests claim is in our best interests.  Like I stood with the local woman who ran afoul of DHHS (Department of Health and Human Services) and the USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) for giving her child goats milk (and they backed down), I am looking forward to standing with my fellow citizens of Maine in the future."

Richardson's plan if he's elected includes "pursuing a sane and proper" national security policy that doesn't spy on American citizens, end the war in Afghanistan and to not involve the U.S. with a Syrian war.

"The power to declare war belongs solely to Congress, but the Executive Branch flaunts this aspect of Constitutional authority routinely, no matter which party is in power.  The Executive Branch needs to understand that they cannot secretly plan to commit our nation to war, while leaving Congress and the people in the dark.  I will vigorously fight against any further attempts to tear our fathers, mothers, brothers, and sisters away from Maine to fight in any more undeclared wars in the Middle East," he explained.

Also, Richardson plans on making real cuts in spending. "You will hear a lot during this campaign about 'fiscal sanity.'  I am not sure what this term means to others in the race, but to me it means reducing spending to less than the previous year.  It does not mean cutting proposed increases to the rate of growth in 2020 or reducing future borrowing costs to make debt finance cheaper down the road," he said.

"I support eliminating the Department of Agriculture, Commerce, Education, HUD, Energy and other programs that are the tools of crony capitalism and no-bid contracts and out of control bureaucracies.  By doing this, a budget can be established that protects funding for popular programs our citizens rely on, like Social Security, while also providing for tax relief," he added.

Lastly, Richardson said he plans on cutting foreign policy spending. "As a 30-year Navy Veteran, I can tell you that our nation can no longer afford to spend six billion dollars a week in Afghanistan on an undeclared war that does nothing to further our national security.  When I am elected to Congress, I will fight for an immediate withdrawal of all American troops and resources from Afghanistan.  This will bring relief to taxpayers and hopefully bring healing to many Maine homes," he said.

Richardson's press release:

"Today I am excited to announce that I am filing my paperwork to run as an independent candidate for Congress in Maine's second congressional district," said Richardson. "I believe by running as an independent candidate I can more directly take my campaign's message to the voters in the district."

"For me this decision came down to two things: personal conviction and common sense. First, as a retired military veteran, I have an obligation to protect and defend the United States Constitution no matter what and this decision helps me fulfill that obligation."

"Second, common sense tells me that the voters in Maine's second district are looking for a candidate for Congress that will be independent. With folks becoming more and more dissatisfied with political parties, I want to offer them a candidate that is independent of a political party, that comes with executive branch experience, and that has many years of leadership from my time in the service."

Richardson campaigns on a platform of restoring a constitutionally limited federal government, taxpayer protection, a non-interventional foreign policy and protecting all civil rights and liberties as guaranteed by the Constitution.

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