St. Louis, MO (KSDK) - A Libertarian candidate will appear on the ballot in the Missouri U.S. Senate race, but Jonathan Dine will not be a part of Thursday's debate with incumbent Sen. Claire McCaskill and Rep. Todd Akin.
Debate organizers made the decision based on polling.
The long-time personal trainer from the Kansas City area is a twice-convicted felon with a unique take on the issues dominating this election year, with his positions lying somewhere between Democrats and Republicans.
Jonathan Dine said he believes Libertarian ideas were instrumental in the birth of our country.
"I would say that Libertarians are socially tolerant and accepting. We want the government to kind of stay out of people's personal lives," Dine said. "We're also fiscally responsible. We want the government to be a good steward of your tax dollars."
And Dine said he stands alone among his competition.
"In this race, I'm the only candidate who supports marriage equality. I think the government shouldn't be able to tell you who you can love. I'm the only candidate here who supports legalizing marijuana. I think it's a vice, not a crime."
Dine is a pro-gun, pro-choice candidate who favors more local control over Medicare.
"Personally I think we should transfer it to the states," he said.
When it comes to fixing the economy, Dine said his philosophy calls for smaller government and lower taxes.
"...People would be able to keep more of what they earn, start new businesses, build new homes and fuel real growth," he said.
Dine pleaded guilty to felony marijuana possession in 2006 and was convicted of identity theft the year before. He's currently on probation for driving while intoxicated. When asked about his past, dine said it's something he's not ashamed of and if elected he would use his experience to improve the legal system.
With Dine's criminal history, you may be wondering how he's able to run for office. There's nothing in the Constitution that bars a felon from becoming a U.S. Senator. However, Missouri law does not allow felons to hold elected office.