Local man running for president

February 20, 2008 5:10:58 AM PST
Action News obtained a stack of documents from the Federal Election Commission.It lists the names of all of the people who have declared their candidacy for the presidency of the United States. There are dozens of names, some familiar: Biden, Romney, Clinton, McCain.

Some, not so familiar.

Like George Henry Ballard III of North Philadelphia. Ballard believes he - not Barack Obama - will become our first black president.

Ballard is 55 years old, a Wharton grad, a former employee of the Federal Reserve Bank, and an economist.

"No man can live above his means," Ballard told us when we met with him on the campus of the University of Pennsylvania last week. "I don't know why the government should be able to live above its means."

The Democrat has no campaign staff, no campaign cash, no campaign website - in fact, some would argue, no campaign.

Ballard is undeterred.

"If you remember, this country was founded on ideas," Ballard said. "Campaigns are not always won on money."

Like more than 300 other Americans, Ballard has informed the Federal Election Commission that he is seeking the highest office in the land in 2008. However, Ballard's name does not appear on the ballot in any of the 50 states. He got the required signatures for his home state of Pennsylvania, but missed the filing deadline.

And that, says a local election watchdog, is the difference between simply running, and being a contender.

Zack Stalberg, the president of Philadelphia's Committee of Seventy, said "It doesn't take a lot more than nerve to announce. It takes a lot more than that to win."

"The system is built by the people who belong to one of the two parties. So it makes it very difficult for somebody else to break in."

Ballard also ran four years ago, and managed to get on the New Jersey ballot. John Kerry beat him handily in the Garden State. Realizing this year's campaign isn't doing much better, Ballard has his sights set on 2012.

"You can get up in the morning and go anywhere you want, do anything you want, be anything you want," Ballard said. "And I think that is one of the great things about this country, and I love America."

Some of those running for president aren't as serious as Ballard. Jonathon Sharkey of Toms River, for instance, calls himself "The Impaler," and is asking all "vampyres and witches" to support his candidacy. CLICK HERE TO VIEW HIS CAMPAIGN WEBSITE - DISCRETION IS ADVISED

To view the entire list of people who filed for candidacy for the presidency of the United States before the Iowa caucus, CLICK HERE.