BRANSON, Mo. – With just over one month until the November election, one Southwest Missouri resident is hopping on the ballot for House of Representative of the 7th District.
Audrey Richards is joining incumbent Billy Long and Libertarian candidate Kevin Craig. The democratic candidate, Teresa Montseny, pulled out of the race in September. Richards says her chances are a little higher now since Montseny left the race.
“Absolutely amazing to see the response because now people are going out and looking for another alternative to Billy Long. I’m out here. I’ve been doing this for well over a year, but finally, people are willing to step outside the partisan box, which is really helpful,” says Richards.
Richards, 27-years-old, may be young but has a strong passion for government.
“I went to George Washington University. I have a degree in political science. I worked at the U.S. Treasury Department for six years. Like the government’s my thing. And you know, the two things I love more than anything are government and small-town America, and this is a way to make sure that small-town America’s priorities are represented on Capitol Hill in a way that they most certainly are not right now,” says Richards.
Her original plan was to be on the ballot this November. Still, she could not acquire enough physical signatures as an independent candidate once the pandemic began, but she believes running as an independent gives her an edge.
“Because people are willing to look at me a little bit more because I don’t have a party. They’re just like, oh, you’re a girl from a small town who lives life the way I live it, and I really think you could represent me pretty well. So it gives people reason to kind of look, I guess in a new light even though we’re doing it in an unconventional way.”
She says her age may be an advantage and that she could be the youngest woman ever elected to Congress if she wins.
“Our whole campaign has been about trying to listen to people, and I think that is a function of being young, listening and learning. And that’s not going to stop when I’m in office,” says Richards.
Ozarks First reached out to Billy Long and Kevin Craig about this; neither candidate responded before posting this story. Richards says her office goals would be to help education, infrastructure in the area, and get big money out of politics.