OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) _ An independent U.S. Senate candidate who concedes she has little chance of winning could influence the hotly contested election, some political observers believe.
Sheila Bilyeu, an independent from Oak Hall, Va., will face Democrat Brad Carson and Republican Tom Coburn in the Nov. 2 general election.
Independent candidates often don't pull many votes, said Jay Parmley, chairman of the Oklahoma Democratic Party.
``But this race could be so close that she will definitely pull votes away from either Carson or Coburn and could very well influence this election,'' Parmley said.
Gary Jones, chairman of the Oklahoma Republican Party, said, ``I personally believe that as we get closer to November that Dr. Coburn is going to pull away, and I don't think it will be a problem for him at all.''
Bilyeu, who was born in Mooreland, said she got in the race because she opposes the war in Iraq.
``We've wasted a lot of young people's lives and billions ... of dollars that should have been used back here on health care and all kinds of things that we needed,'' she said.
Bilyeu considers herself an educator and a political activist. She most recently worked in education as a school counselor in Ponca City in 1992 and 1993.
She ran as a Green Party candidate for the U.S. presidency this year, and she ran as a Democrat for Texas governor in 1986. On her Senate filing form, she indicated she supported independent presidential candidate Ralph Nader.
Bilyeu has repeatedly sued the U.S. government in federal courts in Florida, Virginia, California and Washington, D.C. Most of the lawsuits also named former President Clinton and politicians as defendants. Judges dismissed all her lawsuits.
Bilyeu claims the federal government implanted a device in her head in the 1970s during an operation at a military base in Arizona. She claims the government has sent her messages _ mostly ``put downs'' _ through the alleged device for years to annoy her.
``Mean politicians ... have been after me for years and years and years,'' she said. ``I know it sounds nuts, but it's true.''
She claims that when she spoke out against Clinton, she was gassed in her apartment and in her car.
In the Washington lawsuit, U.S. District Judge Richard W. Roberts wrote in 2001: ``Plaintiff has filed a narrative, stream-of-consciousness complaint that, as best as I can tell, revolves around the plaintiff's belief that a conspiracy led by President Clinton has implanted a transmission device in her head, 'gassed' her and stolen her dog.''
Bilyeu described the alleged device as similar to a radio, able to receive transmissions.
She asked in a California lawsuit ``that the 'device' be removed by doctors who are not part of the conspiracy,'' wrote U.S. Magistrate Carla Woehrle.
In the 1990s, Bilyeu unsuccessfully sued Ponca City schools, game show host Alex Trebek, CBS anchor Dan Rather and others.
She said she has slept in her car for much of the past decade and has lived in poverty ``because of politics and greed.''
She believes politicians have tried to stop her from running for office because they fear she will ``mess up their ... power and their money.''