It’s Dubie vs. Blunt for the Missouri race for U.S. Senate in 2016!
Last month, a local character and a perennial candidate for public office, who years ago changed his name to “Chief Wana Dubie,” announced that he is challenging Republican Senator Roy Blunt for his U.S. Senate seat in 2016. This week, this writer sat down with the Chief to talk about his campaign, his views on the issues, and what it means to be a voter in the Show-Me State.
At 56, the Chief has got some miles on him. He’s rail-thin and soft-spoken, sporting a chest-length wiry beard, a tattoo of a mask on his forehead, and today wearing a floppy black hat with Indian beads woven into it.
Born as Joseph Bickell in Michigan, Mr. Dubie has spent the last 32 years in Missouri. He’s been married twice; when I asked if he had any children, he looked sad and said “some,” telling me their mothers had turned them against him. “I know I have ten grandchildren.”
I asked the Chief if he’s a local character around Salem, a town of about 5,000 in the heart of the Missouri Ozarks. He is, he tells me: he’ll walk into a gas station and be greeted by a chorus of “Hey, Chief!” When he announced his candidacy last month, about a hundred supports showed up.
He’s also on the radar of Missouri law enforcement, he claims, telling me that planes and helicopters from a Missouri Drug Task Force fly over his home a few times per year.
Based on his name, which he legally changed in 2007, you can probably guess what Chief Wana Dubie’s biggest campaign issue is: pot legalization. Pot prohibition exists, he says, to keep pharmaceutical companies rich. He calls not for decriminalization – that is, eliminating the criminal penalties for possession – but full-on legalization, allowing pot to be bought, sold, grown at home, just like any other commodity.
He’s behind some other progressive and libertarian issues, too. He’s outspoken against police brutality and the police state, he’s pro-gun rights.
Surprisingly, the Chief has some views on other social issues that may be more in line with his conservative, Republican opponent. The family is under attack, he says, and like his opponent, he opposes gay marriage – although for a different reason (“they passed gay marriage so lawyers can make money off of gay divorce”).
From there, he veers into some conservative territory that would make even Rick Santorum uncomfortable. A marriage license, says the Chief, should be subject to periodic renewal, like a driver’s license. And adultery needs to be taken more seriously, complaining that it’s illegal to take a man’s money or car, but legal to take a man’s wife and destroy a marriage.
The Chief admits that his chances of winning are slim to nil: with no backing from a major party (the Libertarian Party, he says, kicked him out in 2008, when he was running for Governor of Missouri), no money, and limited name recognition, he’s no more likely to win in 2016 than he was in any of his previous four campaigns for various public offices. But winning, he says, isn’t the point.
“I’m just running for office because I don’t feel represented. Everyone I talk to feels the same way. I’m just trying to get more people involved in government.”
Chief Wana Dubie will face off with Roy Blunt – and any other candidates for Blunt’s Senate seat – on November 8, 2016.