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August 27, 2014

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Henderson veteran: ‘How can I expect change if I’m not the one picking up the flag?’:

Running for president, really?

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L.E. Baskow

Kerry Bowers and his wife, Deb, work on the website kerrybowers.com. He’s a Republican from Henderson who has decided to run for president.

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Kerry Bowers, an Air Force veteran, sits at his desk in his Henderson home Feb. 19. He has never run for elected office, but is going to run for president in 2016.

This is how easy it is to launch a campaign for public office: Kerry Bowers, a Henderson retiree after 30 years in the Air Force, has never sought election to anything.

Now he wants to be elected president of the United States.

You can chortle and mock him all you wish, but it’s not like a first-time office-seeker hasn’t won the presidency before. Dwight D. Eisenhower’s first elective office landed him in the White House, and nearly a century earlier, Ulysses S. Grant also got elected president in his first try for public office. For sure, they enjoyed public profiles; by comparison, a relatively minuscule number of people know Bowers.

But Bowers, 59, exudes an unmistakable military bearing, a keen focus and the ability to take heat. During Desert Storm, Bowers sat in the back seat of an F-4g Wild Weasel, baiting Iraqi ground missiles to zero in on his aircraft so he could target them with his own missiles. He won each duel.

He retired in 2006 and, as he puts it, heard a calling to seek the office of commander in chief. He’s a Republican constitutionalist.

Bowers has campaign tools that Eisenhower and Grant could never have conjured, and which will give him access to free messaging from coast to coast: Facebook, Twitter and an Internet home page (kerrybowers.com) filled with messages, letters and videos. If enough people share his Facebook profile and his tweets and spread the word of his home page, he thinks his candidacy might spread like some political wildfire. (Reality check: More than 400 people with all the benefits of the Internet officially ran for president in 2012, and only a tiny fraction got traction.)

“We’re averaging more than 500 visits a day and it’s growing,” he said. “And we can tell from the bandwidth being used how much time people are spending on my site. I’m seeing people who are following me. It’s starting to grow, little by little.”

He thinks he can pull it off.

“You never know until you try, but it’s a personal obligation to my children, to my family, to my nation, to do what I can do," he said. "Maybe it’s not in this calling that I’m to become president but that I change some attitudes along the way. If I can do that, then maybe I’ve done all that I can be expected to do.

“But how can I expect change if I’m not the one picking up the flag? Otherwise I’m laying back in an easy chair and expecting someone else to do the task.”

At some point, when Bowers either spends or collects $5,000 toward the campaign, he’ll have to register with the Federal Election Commission. That’s when his campaign gets real. In the meantime, he’s relying on social media (free) and speaking engagements (free), and he’s nowhere near the financial threshold to declare an official candidacy.

One of his few out-of-pocket costs is publishing a newsletter.

“We’re printing just over 100,” he said.

It’s a start.

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