St. Petersburg Times Online: News of Florida
Place an Ad Calendars Classified Forums Sports Weather
  • Mailing touts Bush to Jewish voters
  • Haitians dash for freedom
  • The Firm: Do the ties bind McBride?
  • McCain lauds 1 Bush, raps other
  • Man on a mission, but going it alone
  • Nursing homes get official visit
  • GOP friend endorses Butterworth
  • Gun owner testifies at civil trial
  • University chiefs pan governing measure
  • Rulings undermine case against ex-tech chief
  • Bronson supported by party of his rival
  • Crist attack ad draws an angry reply from Dyer
  • Panel says pig proposal backers broke election law

  • Howard Troxler
  • As you vote, remember Legislature's greatest hits

  • From the state wire

  • Hurricane Jeanne appears on track to hit Florida's east coast
  • Rumor mill working overtime after Florida hurricanes
  • Developments associated with Hurricanes Ivan and Jeanne
  • Four killed in Panhandle plane crash were on Ivan charity mission
  • Hurricane Frances caused estimated $4.4 billion in insured damage
  • Disabled want more handicapped-accessible voting machines
  • USF forces administrators to resign over test score changes
  • Man's death at Universal Studios ruled accidental
  • State child welfare workers in Miami fail to do background checks
  • Hurricane Jeanne heads toward southeast U.S. coast
  • Hurricane Jeanne spurs more anxiety for storm-weary Floridians
  • Mistrial declared in case where teen was target of racial "joke"
  • Panhandle utility wants sewer plant moved to higher ground
  • State employee arrested on theft, bribery charges
  • Homestead house fire kills four children, one adult
  • Pierson leader tries to cut off relief to local fern cutters
  • Florida's high court rules Terri's law unconstitutional
  • Jacksonville students punished for putting stripper pole in dorm
  • FEMA handling nearly 600,000 applications for help
  • Man who killed wife, niece, self also killed mother in 1971
  • Producer sues city over lead ball fired by Miami police
  • Tourism suffers across Florida after pummeling by hurricanes
  • Key dates in the life of Terri Schiavo
  • An excerpt from the unanimous ruling in the Schiavo case
  • Four confirmed dead after small plane crash in Panhandle
  • Correction: Disney-Cruise Line story

    printer version

    Man on a mission, but going it alone

    Gubernatorial hopeful Bob Kunst, an independent and universally ignored, brings his campaign to Tampa. He predicts an upset.

    By DAVID KARP, Times Staff Writer
    © St. Petersburg Times
    published October 30, 2002

    TAMPA -- One week before Election Day, Democrat Bill McBride barnstormed across South Florida and Gov. Jeb Bush campaigned alongside U.S. Sen. John McCain at a veterans event in Punta Gorda.

    And Bob Kunst?

    The third person on the Nov. 5 ballot for governor was standing by himself on a sidewalk in downtown Tampa.

    "A reporter?" Kunst said when he saw one. "What the hell are you doing here?"

    Almost everyone, including major newspapers, have ignored Kunst's quixotic candidacy for governor. Kunst, a gay rights activist from Miami Beach, will appear on the ballot next week as a candidate without party affiliation.

    Tuesday, he was a candidate without anyone at his side.

    He stood on Kennedy Boulevard, sweating. He had driven hours to hand out placards and bumper stickers outside Tampa City Hall.

    His 1993 Buick Park Avenue was draped with orange protest signs. One said, "Bush Stole the Election." Another on his windshield said, "Bush Buster."

    "Outraged?" one of his five bumper stickers said. "Kunst."

    The sidewalk where Kunst set up camp was largely empty after the downtown lunch crowd had gone back to work. Workers trickled by, looking at Kunst, trying to figure out what cause he was promoting.

    "Don't vote for Bush. Don't vote for McBride," he told Lorraine Wright. "If you come with us, you'll send a message."

    Wright, a Robles Park resident feeding the meter during a visit to the Tampa Police Department, wasn't swayed. She was voting for McBride, the Democratic Party nominee, because Bush had disappointed her after he reached out to African-American voters during his 1998 campaign.

    Kunst remains convinced that McBride doesn't stand a chance. He calls McBride "McBush" because he says the Democratic Party nominee has adopted many of the big-money, probusiness stances of the Republican governor.

    All week, Kunst has gone it alone. After leaving Fantasy Fest in Key West, he did radio interviews for Voice of Israel from the car, where he also sleeps. When he is on the road, he showers at YMCAs. He also stops at colleges to use library computers to answer e-mails.

    On Election Night, he plans an intimate dinner with three or four friends.

    He expects to see a quiet revolution overtake the parties that night. He says an upset will come because no one yet has broken into his car or beat him up. Even rude hand gestures have been rare. "I have gotten four fingers in two years," he said. "What does that tell you?"

    Back to State news
    Back to Top

    © 2006 • All Rights Reserved • Tampa Bay Times
    490 First Avenue South • St. Petersburg, FL 33701 • 727-893-8111
    Special Links
    Lucy Morgan

    From the Times state desk