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Independent Alabama Senate Candidate Launches Write-In Bid

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

That Senate race in Alabama has gotten a little more complicated. Democrat Doug Jones hopes to pull off an upset over Republican Roy Moore, who finds himself accused by multiple women of sexual misconduct. Well, Lee Busby didn't like either of those choices. He's a retired colonel in the Marine Corps, and he has decided to run as a write-in candidate. His timing might be a little tough. This election is about a week and a half away.

Colonel, welcome to the program.

LEE BUSBY: Thanks, David. Glad to be here.

GREENE: Well, thanks for - thanks for spending the time. You - why are you jumping in the race now?

BUSBY: The more people I talk to down here, the more convinced I became that there is a untapped voter majority that, if given the opportunity to vote for somebody other than either of the two existing candidates, would do that.

GREENE: A fact of Alabama - it's a very red state. And also there is a Republican, Roy Moore, who, with these allegations, I can imagine some people don't want to go in that direction. So is that the untapped group of voters you're looking for, people who would normally vote Republican but aren't - just aren't finding a way to vote for Roy Moore?

BUSBY: It is. I don't expect that I'll convert many committed Democrats, but I think there's some portion of Republicans who would otherwise vote for Moore that will vote for me. And maybe more importantly, I think there is an even larger group who simply had resigned themselves to not voting who will now get out and vote now that they have a choice.

GREENE: Now, you used to host a public radio show.

BUSBY: (Laughter) I did. You cheated. I told you that before we started that I'd expect to hear it.

GREENE: Before we got on, I know, so you gave me that ammunition.

BUSBY: Yeah. It was years ago when I was in the investment brokerage business. It was called "Where The Money Goes."

GREENE: Well, let me ask you about an issue that's very much on the minds of a lot of people who are serving in Congress, and that's taxes. You've got a Republican tax plan that critics say is going to benefit the wealthy much more. Republicans are making the argument that by cutting taxes on businesses and the wealthy, it's still going to reach lower and middle-income earners. Would you be supporting this plan if you were in the Senate?

BUSBY: I would support the Republican plan when they finish with it. I think it's a practical matter, David. It's probably a non-issue. The inauguration for this seat is February 8, and I expect it'll be done by the end, but philosophically, I would support whatever the Republicans come out with at the end.

GREENE: Well, was running for the Senate ever an aspiration over...

BUSBY: No.

GREENE: No, OK.

BUSBY: No. I will say over the last year or two, internally there's been a growing conviction on my part that I wanted to get involved and help to shape things. You know, I'm retired. I'm 60, and I feel like I've still got some strong running left in me, and a 14-day campaign is my style.

GREENE: It's your (laughter)...

BUSBY: But ultimately, it's all got to convert to getting people to write L-E-E-B-U-S-B-Y on a ballot December 12.

GREENE: I'm glad you spelled it out.

BUSBY: Don't worry. I'll spell it out every chance I get.

GREENE: All right, Lee Busby, I will give you one more chance to spell out your name because that's so important for voters to remember that.

BUSBY: (Laughter) I appreciate that. You know, David, this one we'll get a kind of a rumba going - L-E-E-B-U-S-B-Y. Thank you much.

GREENE: We're going to hear that through the towns and communities of Alabama. Lee Busby is a retired colonel from the Marine Corps. He has launched a write-in campaign for the Senate seat in Alabama, and that vote is December 12. Colonel, thanks a lot and good luck.

BUSBY: Thank you. Have a good day.

(SOUNDBITE OF PINK MARTINI'S "AMADO MIO") Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.