ATLANTA -- Dan Barber says he never planned to run for office. But when the Libertarians came calling, he decided the time was right.
The 46-year-old auto repair shop owner from Cumming jumped into the race for lieutenant governor at the end of August after the Libertarian candidate, Rhonda Martini, withdrew to deal with family issues. Georgia law allows a party to choose a new candidate in the event of a withdrawal.
"I've been standing for the philosophy of the free market, the morality of the free market and the rights of the individual for about 20 years," Barber said.
He said he was "shocked" when the Libertarians called and asked him to run, but Georgia party chairman Daniel N. Adams said Barber's name kept coming up when party leaders were discussing replacements.
"We just knew he was a great guy," Adams said. "Being a small business owner, we knew that he knew the concerns of small business owners."
Having started his campaign late and with virtually no name recognition, Barber had only about $1,000 on hand by a Thursday financial disclosure deadline. He is writing letters to everyone he knows, hoping to pull in enough donations for a television advertisement, he said.
His opponents, Democrat Carol Porter and Republican incumbent Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle, as of June 30, the end of the last filing period, had more than $142,000 and $844,000, respectively.
Adams said he hopes the party has done enough to give Barber a chance.
"With so many voters so upset at the state of things, they're willing to look at other parties," the party chairman said. "We're seen as the bipartisan alternative."
Barber's top goal would be to get education out of the control of the government and into the hands of parents, he said.
He favors a consumption tax, or "fair tax," rather than an income tax or property tax. To get the economy back on its feet, a completely free market is necessary, he said.
"If we freed the market, industry would come to Georgia," he said. "Faster than we could snap our fingers, we'd have jobs created. Government doesn't create jobs; private citizens create jobs."