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3 write-in candidates emerge
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Frustrated with what they see as a "corrupt" political establishment, three neighborhood activists have announced their candidacy as Independent candidates for tax commissioner, chairman and state senate.

Kevin Hauck, who gained some recognition in 2006 for his opposition to the location of a new Wal-Mart Supercenter and Home Depot in District 2, announced on Thursday his candidacy as a write-in candidate for tax commissioner.

One of the founding members of Newton Neighborhoods First, a group of residents that live in the Salem/Brown Bridge area and oppose the new superstores, Hauck said he thinks the incumbents currently in office have been in power too long and grown complacent with it.

"They've been in office entirely too long and seem too docile and not after the best interests of the county," Hauck said. "I am just a middle class citizen.

 "I work hard. I just get frustrated when I see these news stories of the corruption that's just run amuck."

He is joined by his best friend Davey Clark, who will be running for Newton County chairman and his sister, Kelly Manning, who will run for the state senate District 17 seat. Hauck is also the campaign manager for each candidate.

Hauck said the results of Tuesday night's voting, in which each of the Republican incumbents handily defeated their challengers, spurred him to action.

"We kind of decided that we were going to take it seriously after Tuesday's voting," he said.

Manning, who lives in Rockdale, said she was moved to run after reading about the accusations that flew between State Sen. John Douglas and his Republican challenger Mike Crotts during their primary race.

"After all of the allegations between Crotts and Douglas, I decided that if I wanted an ethical person, that's concerned with the issues that face all of us, I had to throw my name in there," Manning said.

Though there is a Democrat running for the position, Rudy Cox, Manning said she would rather vote for a Republican.

"I more associate myself with the Republican Party, so I don't really believe in a lot of the philosophies expressed by [Cox]," she said.

Manning said she also doesn't like the direction she feels sitting elected officials have taken the county in.

"I just don't think that they're trying to make this a community where people want to stay and want to raise their family," Manning said. "I think they're in it for their own agenda, not for the agenda of working class people, like myself."

On his MySpace page advertising his candidacy, Hauck said his economic ideals are largely Libertarian, though he does not classify himself s one.

"As tax commissioner, the first thing I would do is fire all the rude employees that work in all the tax offices," Hauck wrote on the site. "Next, I would work to slash tax for everyone in the county to a bare minimum."

While acknowledging that her chances as a write-in candidate are not great, Manning said her involvement in the community through her church and children as well as word-of-mouth will help her candidacy.

Hauck was optimistic about his and his friends' chances of winning, saying they would rely on social networking sites such as Facebook and MySpace to inexpensively advertise their campaigns. They will also rely on more traditional campaign tools such as T-shirts and mailers he said.