Top five political superstars to watch this Election 2012

If you’re watching the Presidential race too closely, you might miss these five political newcomers. Photo: AP/J. Scott Applewhite

WASHINGTON D.C., November 2, 2012 – If you’re watching this year’s nail-biting presidential race too closely, you just might miss out on some of America’s most unique and inspiring newcomers to national politics. Here’s five candidates from across the country to watch:

1. Ted Cruz, former Texas Solicitor General and candidate for U.S. Senate
Seeking to replace retiring Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison, Ted Cruz is one of the most dynamic new leaders of the Republican Party. A graduate of Princeton University and Harvard Law, Cruz served as law clerk to William Rehnquist and made history as the first clerk of Hispanic heritage to serve a Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court.  Having won a tough primary runoff against his state’s lieutenant governor David Dewhurst, Cruz is a Tea Party favorite and will likely win his safe-Republican district. If elected, Cruz will likely become the conservative movement’s tip-of-the-spear in Congress.

2. Tulsi Gabbard, Hawaii candidate for U.S. Representative
When first elected to the Hawaii State House of Representatives in 2002, Democrat Tulsi Gabbard at age 21 was the youngest female state legislator to hold office in the nation. Leaving the State House in 2004 to enlist in the Hawaii National Guard and serve in Iraq, Gabbard would later go on to receive an officer’s commission in 2007. Three years later, Gabbard returned to Hawaii politics and ran for Honolulu City Council and won. With the retirement of Senator Daniel Akaka from Hawaii’s congressional delegation, Congresswoman Mazie Hirono’s candidacy for U.S. Senate created an opportunity for Gabbard to run for Hawaii’s second congressional district.

Making her national debut at this year’s Democratic National Convention, Gabbard is a highly motivated rising star and veteran from Hawaii.

3. Mia Love, Mayor of Saratoga Springs and Utah candidate for U.S. Representative
The 36-year old Republican mayor of Saratoga Springs and candidate for Utah’s fourth congressional district is a charismatic, attractive firebrand who wooed conservatives at the Tampa RNC. A daughter of Haitian immigrants whose parents came to the U.S. with only ten dollars in their pockets, Love was elected to Saratoga Springs City Council in 2003 – the first ever female Haitian to hold office in her city – and six years later was elected as mayor.

Love shares the story that during her college orientation she was told by her father, “Mia, your mother and I never took a handout. You will not be a burden to society. You will give back.” Her incredible humility, driven sense of purpose and rock-solid conservative values makes her one of the best congressional candidates of the Republican Party’s 2012 lineup.

4. Tisha Casida, Independent Colorado candidate for U.S. Representative
The most incredible example of America’s growing liberty movement and testimony to the power of new ideas is Tisha Casida, candidate for Colorado’s third congressional district. Without the covering of a major political party and equipped with only her passion for Constitutional government and common sense solutions, the young 30-year old businesswoman turned candidate skyrocketed to national attention after appearing on Andrew Napolitano’s Freedom Watch and became a rallying icon for an entire nation of disaffected voters. In a recent OpEd published in Steamboat Today, Casida writes “My experiences have taught me that it is pertinent that we create sound money, get our fiscal house in order, protect the civil liberties and natural rights of Coloradans and work together to find solutions – not just use the outdated two-party rhetoric that does nothing to help us.”

In spite of the challenges of running unaffiliated, Casida’s incredible grassroots efforts and wide appeal has set a powerful example for the liberty movement to emulate.  

5. Rupert Boneham, former Survivor contestant and Libertarian candidate for Indiana governor
Three time Survivor contestant and fan favorite Rupert Boneham is now a Libertarian candidate for Indiana governor. Having raised over $70,000 for his gubernatorial campaign, Boneham is the highest fundraising non-presidential LP candidate of this year’s election. But it’s not surprising that Boneham is such a popular Libertarian state candidate: For over twenty years he has been active in his community as a mentor of children and a generous donor to local charities.

Running against Republican Congressman Mike Pence and former Democratic state Speaker of the House John Gregg, Boneham is a hero to third parties all across America and an shining example of how persistence and humility can change the political narrative. The man nicknamed “The Gentle Giant” is the epitome of a hometown hero and arguably the most inspiring rising political star this year.

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More from Making Waves: A Hawaii Perspective on Washington Politics
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Danny de Gracia

Dr. Danny de Gracia is a political scientist and a former senior adviser to the Human Services and International Affairs committees at the Hawaii State Legislature. From 2011-2013 he served as an elected municipal board member in Waipahu. As an expert in international relations theory, military policy, political psychology and economics, Danny has advised numerous policymakers and elected officials and his opinions have been featured worldwide. Now working on his first novel, Danny resides on the island of Oahu.

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