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Vanke gives Waynesboro a first impression

Jeff Vanke was a one-man campaign team at Sunday’s Summer Extravaganza in Waynesboro.

It’s called retail politicking – giving people what one voter who Vanke, an independent candidate for the Sixth District congressional seat currently held by Republican Bob Goodlatte, met recently called a “horseback view.”

“It’s just a brief impression, but it speaks volumes,” said Vanke, who acknowledges the uphill battle in the upcoming November election against Goodlatte, a nine-term congressman who easily won re-election in 2008 against his first major-party challenger in a decade, Democrat Sam Rasoul, and this year will face off with Vanke and Libertarian Stuart Bain without a Democratic Party opponent in the race.

Vanke, 40, is an author, former history professor and budget consultant whose campaign focus is on balancing the federal budget. “Both parties have made the debt worse, and not one person in Congress has suggested or specifically laid out how to balance the budget,” said Vanke, who offers his detailed proposal for balancing the federal budget on his campaign website.

The budget deficit and national debt are “prime example(s) of the more general problem of how the two-party system has a lockhold on American politics, and is also leaving a lot of problems unaddressed,” Vanke said.

That’s a message that seems to have potential to resonate with voters. Recent public-opinion polling suggests that voters are ambivalent about the rising budget deficit, the spiraling national debt and the impact of both on the apparently-still-stalled economy.

“I think most voters – they are about results,” Vanke said. “They’re not necessarily about dogma or ideology or the way they want to get things done. Almost everybody has ideas about how they want to get things done, but in the end, it’s about results. I think that’s why there’s so much appeal for independents, especially this year.”


Story and video by Chris Graham. Chris can be reached at

augusta free press
augusta free press