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Tuesday, September 12, 2000 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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Unsung six also seeking Gorton's seat

Seattle Times staff reporter

A Harvard-educated lawyer who wants to legalize drugs. A great-grandmother who walks the shoulders of Snohomish County highways wearing a jacket that urges motorists to vote for her. A Democrat who sounds more like a Republican, which he was until two years ago.

They're among the candidates running for U.S. Senate this fall who aren't named Cantwell, Gorton or Senn. There are six:

Republican Warren Hanson, a Bellingham longshoreman who has been running without success for state and local offices since the 1970s.

Libertarian Jeff Jared, a Kirkland attorney.

Democrat Barbara Lampert, a retired nurse's aide from Spokane.

Republican Ken McCandless of Everett, who says he won't accept a federal pension unless he serves at least 20 years in office.

Democrat Robert Tilden Medley, a retired real-estate broker from Tracyton, Kitsap County.

Republican June Riggs, who served eight years on the Edmonds School Board.

Each of their names will appear on next Tuesday's primary ballot. Each has a photograph and statement in the state's official voters guide. But the six don't have much else in common with their better-known, better-funded rivals, incumbent Republican Slade Gorton and Democrats Maria Cantwell and Deborah Senn.

There's money, for starters. Cantwell has invested $3.7 million of her own money in her bid to unseat Gorton. Riggs expects to spend less than $2,000 - and that includes the $1,400 filing fee.

"I'm a widow," she says. "If I was a twosome, I'd probably be buying a couch."

Senn, Cantwell and Gorton won't settle for anything less than victory in November. Some of the lesser-known candidates have set their sights considerably lower.

Jared, for instance, says he's shooting for 5 percent of the November vote. That would give the Libertarians major-party status in Washington, with all the privileges only Democrats and Republicans now enjoy. "We're trying to build a viable third party," he says.

Medley, who labels himself a "pander-free Democrat," says he'll be happy if he gets more votes than the 3,320 he received when he ran for Senate two years ago. "It would show the cookie-cutter politicians that there's a constituency that wants something else," he says.

Five of the six lesser-known candidates have run for office before, some numerous times. What motivates them?

Issues such as immigration, taxes and foreign aid, says Hanson, and frustration that they aren't being addressed in the way he would like. "I know I'm a long shot to be the Republican nominee," he says. "If a few of these things were done, I wouldn't spend one minute on it."

Here's a closer look at each of the six:

Warren Hanson, 69, a former commercial fisherman, first ran for the Senate in 1976. His platform is an eclectic one.

He wants to cut immigration drastically and deny the privileges of citizenship to the U.S.-born children of illegal immigrants. He favors term limits and wants to reduce U.S. involvement overseas.

But Hanson also favors a 36-hour workweek, domestic-partner benefits for anyone in a "shared, committed living arrangement," including parents and grown children, and an end to Selective Service registration. He also wants more information made available about infant circumcision, which he considers inhumane.

Jeff Jared, 36, grew up in Kirkland, graduated from Harvard University and the University of California's Hastings Law School, and returned to his hometown to practice law. He says the Libertarian Party's stand on gambling first attracted him to the party when he was 16. He was the party's nominee for a seat in the Legislature 10 years ago.

The Libertarian philosophy? "Deregulate, deregulate, deregulate," Jared says. That includes trade, immigration, health care, education - and drugs. "When a vice is illegal, it is more dangerous," he writes. "When a vice is legalized, it becomes safer."

But Jared opposes abortion, which he acknowledges puts him in the minority among Libertarians.

Barbara Lampert, 54, says a vote for her will be a vote against the influence of money in politics. Campaign-finance reform won't happen until people like her are in office, Lampert says.

Retired for three years, she has worked as a nurse's aide, insurance-claims processor and waitress. She has been a Democratic precinct-committee officer and has run for the Legislature and local offices in the Spokane area. She co-chaired an unsuccessful bid to recall a county coroner who had made remarks many considered anti-gay.

If elected, Lampert says, her priorities will be economic inclusion, environmental protection and civil rights. She'd like to revive the Equal Rights Amendment, which died after it failed to be ratified by the required number of states in the 1980s.

Ken McCandless, 38, didn't respond to calls for this article. But on his campaign Web site and in his statement in the state voters guide, his preference for less government is evident. He identifies the Internal Revenue Service, National Endowment for the Arts and Department of Education as agencies he'd like to eliminate.

McCandless says on his Web site that he wouldn't vote to confirm nominees for federal judgeships who support abortion rights. "I cannot vote to confirm judges who believe it is acceptable to kill a child because its parents showed bad judgment," he writes.

He says he has lived in Snohomish County 35 years, has been employed in a number of trades and has worked for his current employer 17 years. "I never wanted to run for office," he writes. "I just feel that I have no other choice."

Robert Tilden Medley, 73, wants to "slam shut the floodgates" of immigration, abrogate Indian treaties, subsidize African-American prisoners who agree to resettle in Africa, remove female sailors from Navy ships and end all federal aid to universities with co-ed dormitories or women's-studies programs.

And he's running as a Democrat?

Medley says he was a Republican for 33 years, until 1998, but switched because he thought his ideas would appeal to blue-collar Democrats, whom he says the party has ignored. He's not afraid to take on matters that others consider taboo, he says.

Medley also says he would push a constitutional amendment to allow Congress to overturn Supreme Court decisions by a two-thirds vote of each house.

June Riggs, 78, won a seat on the Edmonds School Board in 1989. Her campaign theme: "Grandma for the School Board." Before that, she had run unsuccessfully for several state and federal offices. She has owned a sports-clothing store and worked as a school secretary.

She says she's running in part because Gorton didn't respond to her concerns about the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), which she opposed. "I'm against unfair trade. I'm not against free trade," Riggs says.

She isn't certain about school vouchers but favors providing them for all first-graders "to see if that works first."

Riggs says she has walked from Everett to Monroe and Sultan, wearing an eye-catching campaign jacket, to attract attention to her candidacy.

Eric Pryne's phone message number is 206-464-2231. His e-mail address is epryne@seattletimes.com.

Copyright (c) 2000 Seattle Times Company, All Rights Reserved.

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