Boneham had a fan base of millions when he was on TV (he won 85 percent of 38 million votes to be named the series’ favorite cast member during the 2004 season) but he’s convinced his appeal is that of an underdog.
“Myself running brings politics a little closer to home for a lot of people,” Boneham said. “I am that everyday guy we all like to think we are, standing up and making that stance and running for a pretty significant office. Every one of us should be able to do that.”
Boneham, 47, was born in Detroit and grew up in Kokomo. He moved to Texas after high school, started on a nursing degree that he never completed, then moved to Indianapolis in 1990. For the past 20 years, he’s run a non-profit organization that offers mentoring for at-risk teens. He donated part of the $1 million prize he won on “Survivor” to his charity, Rupert’s Kids.
Boneham didn’t get involved in politics until relatively recently, after he ran up against some government regulations that made it harder for his charity to do its work, he said. Once he did, it didn’t take him long, he said, to figure out he was a Libertarian.
He liked the party’s core belief: That the only legitimate use of government power is to preserve the inalienable rights of life, liberty, property and self-governance. For Boneham, that means government needs to get out the business of providing entitlements, whether that’s welfare for the poor or “corporate welfare” such as tax credits and subsidies for big business. He also believes government has no business banning guns or gay marriage.
Klopfenstein figured out he was a Libertarian 20 years ago, when he was a student at Purdue University. While watching C-SPAN, he heard Libertarian presidential candidate Andre Moreau talk about how Libertarians believed in scaling back the size of government and getting government out of people’s personal lives.