Movie offers look at Bryan’s independent campaign

There was a free screening of the new documentary, “Independent for Governor” at the Clinton Library today. Fillmmaker Huixia Lu collected about 80 hours of footage during Rod Bryan’s 2006 independent campaign for governor.

It’s an interesting movie, but at two hours it’s about 45 minutes long. It has some interesting moments that illuminate the perils of running for office as an independent. Bryan rides his bicycle to local campaign stops and drives a beat-up Mercedes fueled by vegetable oil to longer ones. His wife calms him and herself when they miss a bus. He plays with his kids. And he offers lots of opinions about issues others are ignoring.

A running point of contention through much of the first part of the movie is the exclusion of Bryan and Green Party candidate Jim Lendall from the debates. Time and again, Bryan is forced to watch from the sidelines as Democrat Mike Beebe and Republican Asa Hutchinson grab the limelight. When Bryan and Lendall finally do debate for AETN, the major party candidates have other plans. Bryan and Lendall get a (small) statewide audience and appear before an almost vacant auditorium, which Bryan later told me was “embarrassed to be an Arkansan.”

Bryan later answered questions from the audience and said he might run again.

“You can’t go on Mark Pryor’s website or Blanche Lincoln’s website and really have any real dialogue, you know. Look at Mike Ross, I mean, the guy, if he actually runs for governor in 2014, I might be crazy enough to try to do this again.”

Video is below.

I caught up with Bryan afterwards and asked him a few questions about running as an independent. He said he had been approached to run for lieutenant governor as a Green Party candidate this year but decided against it, but he wasn’t ruling out a future run. If he does, he’s willing to play a little less of the maverick.

You can learn more about the movie here.

More in my Arkansas News Bureau column next week.

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