Darrell Hykes, 41, of College Park, was approved by the Georgia Secretary of State’s Office as a legal write-in candidate, according to Hykes for the American Dream campaign.
Hykes recognizes his name isn’t a prominent one even within Georgia, much less the entire country. Yet, Hykes said in a telephone interview with The Cedartown Standard that he could feasibly win as a write-in candidate.
“It’s going to be really, really, close,” he said, adding that the winner is the one reaching 270 Electoral College delegates and that system makes it possible for him to win.
Hykes, who began his campaign officially Sept. 4, said he is currently on the ballot as a write-in candidate in 16 states. He said he will be on the ballot in 28 states by election day.
Many of those are important Electoral College states, Hykes said.
Hykes said he had been thinking about politics, specifically the presidential race, since 2004. It was a statement from President Barack Obama that convinced him to run this time.
“The president came out and said he was in favor of same-sex marriage. I am against same-sex marriage. I couldn’t go to the polls and vote someone who didn’t reflect my belief,” he said.
Hykes identifies himself as a Christian and said he wants to bring those values back into the political arena. He said neither of the two party candidates, either Obama or Republican challenger Mitt Romney, seemed to identify with him from a clearly defined, Christian point of view, and Hykes thought others might feel the same way.
So, he began running for president to give those voters another choice.
“People of religious background, who hold Biblical views, can say ‘I know what he stands for,’” Hykes said.
He said Christian values have a long-standing tradition in this country and that seems to be getting lost in all the politics.
“This country was founded on Biblical principles. They came here so they could have religious freedom,” he said. “A lot of the signers of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution were Christian.”
Polls show that 68 percent of the American population identify themselves as Christian, Hykes said.
However, Hykes said he has seen a shift from Christian values to the point where people feel uneasy praying in public or talking about their faith in a public forum.
Hykes said, as an African-American, he feels Obama has caused some dissention in the black community because of his stand on gay marriage.
Most African-Americans are affiliated with a church and believe in traditional marriage, he said.
Now those African-American voters who would vote in a block for Obama are left with no one who truly represents them, Hykes said.
However, Hykes said voting strictly based on race is not achieving the dream set forth in the civil rights movement.
“One of the things that happened in 2008 is that the majority of those in the black community that voted for President Barack Obama voted for him because of the color of his skin,” he said.
“Just because he’s African-American doesn’t mean he represents me.”
Hykes has never run for or held political office before, but said life and professional experiences have given him the wisdom to make good decisions for the country.
“That plays a large part in proposing policies, initiating vetos,” he said.
The presidential candidate points out that he does meet the qualifications.
“The U.S. Constitution qualifies me as a candidate for the Office of the President for the United States,” Hykes said.
“Whether or not people feel I’m qualified, that’s up to the voter.”
Hykes has one identifying characteristic different from both Obama and Romney. Hykes said he is a veteran with six years in the U.S. Air Force.
Originally from Okoloma, Miss., a small town near Tupelo, Hykes said his first job was as a janitor in a local store.
He served as a medical services specialist in the military and then worked for a senior center in Arizona after leaving the Air Force. Hykes said he was moved into transportation at that facility and now is an associate director and safety compliance officer at a school in Atlanta.
Hykes and his wife, Temeka, have three teenage children.
Regarding issues, Hykes said he has plans. He said the very first thing he would do if elected is meet with all 50 governors.
He said the meetings would be to empower them to run their states. Hykes said he would visit every state to listen to those on the local level and try to reduce federal interference.
“You have to try to balance the federal budget. You have to reduce spending, lower taxes and bring down the federal deficit,” he said.
Hykes said he wants to reduce taxes, penalties and costly regulations on small businesses to encourage growth.
He also wants to educate people on how to get a job, saying the jobs are there and many have the skills, but many don’t dress appropriately or know how to act in interviews.
Hykes also wants to transform education, which includes bringing the Bible back in schools.
He said what he means by that is that students are expected to respect traditional codes for behavior and respect for others.
Hykes said he wants parents to be more accountable, but knows that can’t be legislated.
However, he said that teachers’ salaries do need to be increased in order to keep the best teachers in public classrooms.