Freeman Michaels says he's never paid much attention to party labels. A registered Democrat at the moment, he said he's previously been a Green Party member and an independent.
He's running for Congress in 2018 as an independent, challenging three-term Democratic Rep. Scott Peters of San Diego.
"I feel like it's my race to lose. I don't think he's doing anything special," Michaels said of Peters, who has built a reputation as moderate and business-minded. "He's just kind of a middle-of-the-road guy, exactly what the Democrats want. I feel like the divide is so strong in this country."
Michaels, 43, is a former software engineer who said he's running in part to promote his idea of a new "cooperative economy" that would blend the open-source philosophy from technology circles with small business and entrepreneurship. The result, he said, would be a "direct transfer of power to the people."
He faces at least four Republican opponents who also are seeking to unseat Peters next year.