When Rupert Boneham was voted Fan Favorite on the Survivor television show, he earned the nickname Gentle Giant, a name that sticks with him in his Libertarian campaign for governor. He’s an avid campaigner, listens to what voters have to say and embraces them – literally. He’s known for giving them big fat hugs.
This year’s top Libertarian fund-raiser in a non-presidential race, the Rupert Boneham campaign has raised over $70,000 so far. Rupert’s campaign promises include cutting the state’s corporate tax from 8% to 3%, forcing state agencies to disclose their finances, and capping property taxes.
Rupert has already campaigned in all 92 counties of Indiana twice and plans to finish Round Three before November’s election. He has attended 4 Hog Roasts as an honored guest, marched in 12 parades, and autographed 40,000 headshots. He still sports “The Beard,” the trademark of his casual appearance, and goes by his first name.
Rupert’s Campaign Manager, Evan McMahon, works 80 hours a week without getting paid. “I’ve worked in politics for 16 years and I have more respect for Rupert than any other politician I’ve ever met,” says McMahon. “He is a really good guy who cares about people and actually lives the libertarian philosophy.”
McMahon’s dedication may be explained by Rupert’s willingness to go just about anywhere and do just about anything. Rupert participated in a wheelchair-based obstacle course to encourage greater handicapped accessibility without government intervention. He sat in a dunk tank to help a volunteer police force raise money for new uniforms. He meets with Rotary Clubs, visits state prisons, supports nonprofits fighting cancer, and has spent countless hours meeting citizens in Indiana’s bowling alleys. During Indiana’s 17-day State Fair, Rupert visited with attendees for 13 hours a day, only breaking away to help raise money for the Peyton Manning Children’s Hospital and Toys for Tots by participating in their motorcycle rides.
When he’s being more traditionally political, Rupert meets with local Chambers of Commerce and attends various rallies. But McMahon notes, “When small towns hosted an event that clashed with a bigger political one, Rupert went to the small-town event. He wants to make sure their voices are heard.”
According to McMahon, Rupert Boneham attends three or more campaign events every day. He has completed 60 radio interviews, 78 in print (11 with front-page coverage), and 30 on television, with another 30 interviews scheduled. Rupert will also participate in three statewide debates hosted by the non-partisan Indiana Debate Commission on October 10, 17, and 25.