First Independent files papers for 3rd District race

Authored By James Harrison

Topher Kersting doesn’t think he has a chance at being elected to Congress, but if he can get a few more residents of the 3rd District to think independently, then his candidacy will have been worth a shot.

At least that’s what he says. 

Kersting, a 42-year-old Web designer, filed his papers to challenge Rep. Chuck Fleischmann as an Independent in next year’s congressional election on Monday. In a phone interview with, Kersting said he would be lucky if he got “a few hundred” votes come November.

“For years, I’ve been complaining that the candidates seem really far right or far left and that there aren’t normally any people running with any sort of middle-of-the-road views,” Kersting said. “I feel there’s a niche there, where someone could get some votes and get some attention. The parties have such entrenched positions that there doesn’t seem to be any room for middle ground.”

Kersting has created a blog titled “Topher for Congress,” which outlines his positions on various issues-from budget, spending and taxes to crime, education and energy. Kersting said his campaign fund would only be in the “hundreds of dollars.”

“I don’t think the Democrats have any reasonable chance, and honestly, I don’t think I have any reasonable chance, with my budget being a few hundred dollars,” he said. “I’m going to have to do a few creative things to get attention . Whether people would take it seriously or not, I don’t know, but politics are so ridiculous already, why not add something to it?”

Kersting is the first candidate in the race to file as an Independent. Republicans to declare candidacies challenging Fleischmann so far include Weston Wamp, Scottie Mayfield, Ron Bhalla and Dr. Jean Howard-Hill. Bill Taylor and Dr. Mary Headrick have both entered the race as Democrats. 

Updated @ 7:27 a.m. on 02/17/12 to correct a style error.