Kentucky is a red state with no shortage of conspiracy theorists and unusual politics, so it's no surprise that what might be the first post-election court challenge to Barack Obama's qualifications to be president comes from a Whitley County truck driver.
Daniel John Essek, 47, filed a demand last week that Obama prove he is a natural-born U.S. citizen — one of the few requirements to run for president.
Sign Up and Save
Get six months of free digital access to the Lexington Herald-Leader
Essek wants Obama to provide a copy of his birth certificate to a federal judge in London for verification.
He knows some people might find his request odd, especially after the election, but says he would tell them it's never too late to do the right thing.
"I may very well be chasing windmills thinking they're monsters," he acknowledged.
Essek lost by more than 100,000 votes when he tried to unseat longtime Republican U.S. Sen Mitch McConnell in the primary election this year. He later said on a Web site "maybe I got a little carried away, like my wife said."
The charge that Obama wasn't born in the United States came up often during the presidential campaign. Obama's campaign said that was ridiculous, posting a copy of his birth certificate on the Internet to prove he was born in Hawaii.
A Pennsylvania judge threw out a pre-election court challenge to Obama's birth qualification, saying its arguments were frivolous.
But Essek still has doubts.
Essek said he'll be satisfied if U.S. District Judge Gregory F. Van Tatenhove receives documents from Obama and rules Obama is qualified to serve as president.
What Essek filed was actually a request for permission to file the court case without having to pay a fee.
"I also affirm, owing to my poverty, having not the money, request all fees of this filing and service be waived," he wrote, citing his income in the last year as $15,000.
Essek said in the motion that he is founder of the Society for Liberty and Prosperity. Last week he said the society had no members but had scheduled an organizational meeting Saturday night at his home just north of the Tennessee line, has set up a Web site and is seeking members and donors.
Essek is president of the group. His wife, Donna, is treasurer.
Essek wants to use the society to teach citizenship and correct what he considers Americans' woeful lack of civic education and awareness. Some people can't identify the president, vice president and secretary of state, he said.
"I'm seeing a level of ignorance out there like you wouldn't believe," Essek said.
There are other objectives, too, according to the society's Web site, including defending rights, opposing tax increases and (in the exact words) to "eschew barbarism, collectivism, Communism, conformitism, despitism,, fachism, favoritism, imperialism, institutionalism, liberalism, Nazism, nepitism, progressivism, racism, sexism and Socialism."
Essek's Senate race Web site said he endorsed Ron Paul, a Republican congressman from Texas who leans strongly libertarian, for president this year. In November, he voted for John McCain because of Sarah Palin, he said.
But Essek said politics isn't the reason he's questioning Obama's qualifications.
"This is patriotism," he said.