US Senate third parties share their stance on the race

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KANSAS CITY - Missouri's U.S. Senate third party candidates are not fazed by the country's main political parties' popularity. 

Green Party candidate, Jo Crain, and Independent party candidate, Craig O'Dear, feel their fight for a Senate seat is just as important as their leading competitors, Claire McCaskill and Josh Hawley.

Crain is a grandmother and activist. She says a lack of vision from current political leaders has motivated her to run for office. One of her main concerns focuses on students.

"The student loan debts are one of those things where the well to do are pushing down the cost of governance onto the poorer folks. And what happens is that your student loan interest rate is higher than the regular interest rate, so the governments making money off of you. That's appalling," Crain said.

O'Dear is a father and lawyer. He believes the Senate and politics, in general, are broken. One of his main issues is on health care.

"Our problem with health care is that we pay, we're really a mostly, for the most part, a cost-plus system. And we pay for treatments, we pay for procedures, you know we pay for touches, and that's a price plus costing system. It's very expensive," O'Dear said.

Crain also worries about climate change.

"We're looking at California burning, a few years ago it was Texas burning. And our congressional folks are corporate owned so they're not gonna do anything about climate change as long as they're dialing for dollars," Crain said.

O'Dear, who grew up on a farm, is concerned about what he calls the "inequality of economic opportunity."

"We have some areas in this state principle the bigger metropolitan areas that are that are thriving and we have a lot rural areas and smaller towns and some of the inner city areas that have been left behind," O'Dear said.

Both candidates have clear goals on what they hope to improve in Missouri, but history tells us it's rare for a third party candidate to win the seat.

In Missouri's 2016 General Election for US Senate, the highest third party votes went to a Libertarian candidate, who received two percent of the votes. Next was the Green party candidate who received one percent.

Peverill Squire, an MU Political Science professor, explains why these candidates run, even though the odds are against them.

"Well, it does give them a platform. It does give them an opportunity to gain some attention. On whatever set of issues it is they want to promote. And so for them, it may not be a completely wasted effort even if they know the chances to win is pretty slim," Squire said.

Squire said in some situations a third party could win.

"It's a very difficult route, almost all elected officials in this country are either Republicans or Democrats but there is always some chance under a certain set of circumstances that a minor or third party candidate can break through,"

Japheth Campbell is the Libertarian party candidate running. He did not respond to our requests for an interview.