[singlepic=93,270,210,,right]Last November, independent candidate Mark Brody set out to collect 2,000 signatures needed to his name on the ballot for state house District 103. Incumbent Jim Gulley, who has served seven terms representing Mint Hill, Matthews, and some of Charlotte, narrowly defeated Republican challengers Larry Hale and Edy Brotherton. Through hours of leg work, Brody got the signatures to get on the ballot. Now the fun begins.

On Friday, Paul Kanitz (left) allowed Brody to put the first sign of the campaign in his front yard in Mint Hill.

“We’re real excited about the reception we hope to get for being an independent,” Brody said. “The country is in the mood for change and wants to see something else.”

Kanitz and Brody have known each other for 20 years. Both moved to the area from Wisconsin more than 14 years ago, and have both made livings in the construction industry. Kanitz is proud to help Brody get his message out.

“I’ve known him for a long time,” he said. “He has a rare quality of telling the truth and following through with what he says.”

Brody purchased 500 signs to begin the campaign and will place some signs in supporters’ yards, and he will place the rest where Mint Hill and Matthews sign ordinances allow. Recently, he unveiled his new Web site with his 16 points he brings to the campaign. Brody said he’s interested in local issues and constituent services, but also how national issues affect The Tar Heel State.

“Issues like offshore drilling affect North Carolina, and the legislature has a responsibility in funding research into energy,” he said.

Brody has an uphill battle. North Carolina election laws make it difficult for a third party or unaffiliated candidate to get on a ballot. Winning a contest is so rare, the Mecklenburg County Board of Elections or the State Board of Elections could not find the last time an unafilliated candidate won a state race.

Michael Munger, the Libertarian gubernatorial candidate in North Carolina and head of the Duke University political science department, has said the state needs to relax its ballot access for non-Democrat or non-Republican candidates. Brody said if he is elected, it will be at the top of his agenda.

“I’m not out to destroy the Democrat or Republican parties,” he said. “I want to help them.”

An unaffiliated candidate competing against them, would do just that. As for Kanitz, he’s just excited to help Brody.

“I’m glad to have his sign in my front yard,” Kanitz said. “No one has ever asked to put a politcal sign in my front yard before.”