As the owner of the Acropolis restaurant and a major in the Army National Guard, Savas Kyriakidis says he has been busy fighting economic and military battles in recent years and didn't build enough ties to run as a Republican candidate in Tennessee's 3rd Congressional district.
But the 44-year-old attorney, businessman and soldier said Wednesday he believes he can upset the odds and win a new career as an independent in Congress.
"In this election, I am the true conservative Republican, but I don't really think party politics is producing the best choice," he said. "Oftentimes, it's giving those of us who are the most connected, or the best entrenched or those that have made the right deals."
Kyriakidis, who is running as one of six independent candidates on the ballot, said he supports a more limited role for the federal government, focusing on economic growth, educational improvement, environmental quality and energy independence.
Social Security and health care programs should transition to programs that lessen government's role and put more responsibility on the individual for future generations, Kyriakidis said. He also said he would support a "fair tax" on consumption -- a type of national sales tax -- to replace the current federal income tax.
Kyriakidis wants to repeal the health care plan adopted by Congress this year, block approval of any "cap and tax" on carbon emissions and "stop outrageous federal spending."
His conservative agenda picked up the endorsement and contribution this month of Chattanooga Tea Party President Mark West, who praised Kyriakidis for joining the Army at age 33 and fighting in Iraq and serving in the Army Special Operations division.
"His years in the military have honed him into someone with great leadership qualities," West said.
Kyriakidis said he expects his campaign will spend about $75,000 in the race, including about $50,000 of his own money. Although that is less than 10 percent of what Republican Chuck Fleischmann has spent in the primary and general election campaign, Kyriakidis said his campaign is like many of the military ventures he has been on.
"It's targeted and with the right shot can be successful," he said.
* Age: 44
* Party: Independent
* Education: Graduate of the University of the South and the University of Dayton Law School
* Career: He practiced law for more than two years before entering the military at age 33. He is owner of Acropolis Four Star Grills and an Army major serving as command judge advocate for the 20th Special Forces Group
Web site: www.SendSavas.com
3rd district candidates
* Republican -- Chuck Fleischmann
* Democrat -- John Wolfe
* Other independents: Don Barkman, Mark DeVol, Gregory Goodwin, Robert Humphries, Mo Kiah