SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) – Clinton Cowart is a Libertarian who decided to run in the traditionally Democratic 165th District to fill the vacant state representative seat.

“I got tired of complaining about the degradation of the city and the county, much less the state, and finally, I thought that maybe it’s time to put up or shut up,” Cowart said.

He is facing four Democratic candidates in the special election to serve out the vacated house seat of Rep. Mickey Stephens who died in August.

As a Libertarian, Cowart says he “believes in freedom and liberty, in individual rights.”

Cowart says the government trampled on the rights of small business owners during the COVID pandemic and that he will work to ensure that doesn’t happen again. He also promises to call for a balanced budget amendment if elected.

He says his main priority is education reform.

“I want school reform like everybody else. I’m a victim of the public school system and I don’t use that word lightly,” said Cowart.

Cowart was born premature and has had up to a dozen operations. He says he was pushed into special ed classes. While he acknowledges that public schools have changed greatly since the 1970s when attended, he doesn’t think there’s been enough change.

“I want to deliver school choice. I want vouchers where parents can select what school their child goes to,” Cowart said. “The problem is now we keep pouring money into the public school systems and they always mismanage it. There’s no real transparency.”

In addition to choice, he says schools have grown too dependent on property taxes for funding.

His platform also includes de-criminalizing the use of recreational drugs.

Cowart says he supports COVID vaccines, but not a vaccine mandate, and he says “no” to Medicaid expansion.

“If you want to really help the people, you need to improve the quality and selection of medical care rather than just expanding it and being in shocked when the quality goes down,” he said.

If none of the five candidates win a majority in the special election on Nov. 2, a runoff will be held on Nov. 30.

Learn more about each candidate in the District 165 race at