As was widely expected, former National Endowment for the Arts Chairman John Frohnmayer officially announced that he is running for Senate in 2008 as an independent.
From the Gazette-Times:
“The political system has become so partisan that our politics are toxic. It seems to be more important for the Republicans to bash the Democrats and the Democrats to bash the Republicans than to do the job for which they are all elected, which is to serve us the people and address our problems, ” Frohnmayer said, “I don’t think that will change until there is a third force in American politics.”
Frohnmayer is now registered as an Independent, a role he said will provide him a distinct advantage if Oregon voters send him to Washington, D.C.
“The U.S. Senate is a small enough body that an Independent can really make a difference. There are two in the Senate now, and with a third Independent we could potentially have the balance of power,” he said. “It could be an immensely powerful position.”
Frohnmayer is best known for his time as Chairman of the NEA, and his controversial firing:
Frohnmayer was appointed to the post by the first President Bush. While it was originally his dream job, his acceptance of the position couldn’t have been more poorly timed.
“That was the most controversial time for the National Endowment, during the time of Mapplethorpe and Serrano,” Frohnmayer said. “While those grants had been given before I got there, it was my job to deal with them.”
The two artists drew criticism for work considered pornographic and sacrilegious.
Frohnmayer, who considers himself a long-time champion of the First Amendment, defended the endowment’s decision to grant money to the artists.
“That job ended in me being fired by the president for essentially choosing the Constitution over political loyalty,” he said. “There were lots of lessons I learned during that time, including your oath of office is to the Constitution, not to the president and not to the party.”
Read the rest. Can an independent like Frohnmayer have any hope of winning a Senate seat?