It’s not every day that a political candidate starts off a press conference with 20 push-ups, but that’s how Mike Myers did it Wednesday.
While listening to Pink Floyd’s “Another Brick in the Wall.”
Myers, an independent candidate for governor, introduced his running mate at the press conference, Vermillion attorney and former state Lawmaker Caitlin Collier. The 77-year-old Myers did the push-ups to prove that while he might be old, he’s in shape.
"When I come back when I’m 82," he said, referring to a possible re-election campaign, "I’m going to do 30 push-ups."
State law requires that independent governor candidates name a running mate before collecting nominating signatures. To qualify for the ballot, Myers needs at least 3,171 to qualify for the ballot by April 29. It’s an amount more than double what Democratic candidates need and more than a thousand signatures more than Republicans.
Myers and Collier acknowledged that getting the signatures — they estimated they need 5,000 to be safe — will be tough.
The quirky Myers, who is a former health care executive and law professor at the University of South Dakota, said that he and Collier don’t agree on a lot of topics. He’s pro-life, and he said she is pro-choice.
"I’ve had shooting ranges in my God dang basement for 40 years," Myers said. "I don’t think she likes guns as much as I do."
Collier, a mother of three, turns 58 this month. Her husband is a retired professor at the University of South Dakota, and besides practicing law, she has also been an ordained minister.
She served one term in the state House as a Democrat. She said she will register as an Independent.
While the two of them disagree on some topics, Collier said they agree on others.
"We share a deep concern, as he said, for the working stiffs," Collier said.
They struck a populist theme. Myers has been critical of the vertical integration of the health systems, models used by Avera and Sanford. Collier said that they want to wrest government and health care away from corporations and give them back to the people.
The two would also advocate for old people, teachers, the working class and the disadvantaged, they said. And Myers said he would promote industrial hemp and open government in Pierre, alluding to the closed investigation surrounding the suicide of former cabinet Secretary Richard Benda.
"You want that God dang autopsy report? I’m going to give it to you," he said.
Collier also proposed an “infrastructure core” project to rebuild roads, bridges and other necessities as a method to put people to work.