Assisted-suicide advocate Jack Kevorkian Tuesday received the paperwork he'll need to fill out in order to run for Congress as an Independent in Michigan's ninth district.
Nicknamed Dr. Death, Kevorkian, who served eight years in prison for second-degree murder, will now see if he can gain the 3,000 signatures he needs by mid-July to get on the ballot.
Before Kevorkian was released early from his 10 to 25 year prison sentence in 2007 for his role in the assisted suicide of a 52-year-old man with Lou Gehrig's Disease, Kevorkian's attorneys told Michigan's Parole Board that their client was in poor health and months away from death.
Fast-forward to today, and a resurrected Kevorkian says if elected he'll crusade for individual rights.
"Without rights, life isn't worth living," Kevorkian told FOX News Tuesday in a rare sit-down interview. "I want to fight for our rights. Prison reform, educational reform. I want to do all that, plus satisfy the desires of my constituents."
Kevorkian, a retired pathologist who claims to have helped at least 130 people die from 1990 until 1998, jumped into the race last Monday.
He calls the government tyrannical and said if elected he'll call attention to the Ninth Amendment, which says "The enumeration in the Constitution of certain rights shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people."
Kevorkian said this is what gives us our natural rights. "It says that you have every right in the world, because you were born with them ... as long as nobody gets hurt or is threatened," said Kevorkian. He interprets this as a protection of the right to die through assisted suicide.
"They never talk about it in school," he said. "I became aware of it when I was almost 70 years old. And then I read it. Then I realized what it meant: It's the most powerful amendment in the Bill of Rights."
But some say Kevorkian's election bid is nothing more than a publicity stunt.
"Kevorkian has never fought for anyone's rights but his own," said Stephen Drake, research assistant of Not Dead Yet, a disability rights organization opposed to legalizing assisted suicide and euthanasia. "He wants to be the center of attention. This is what this is about," said Drake.
Kevorkian said that on reputation alone he'll collect the signatures he needs to be placed on the ballot as an Independent.
His opponents, former Michigan Lottery Commissioner Gary Peters (D), the Democrat, and eight-term GOP incumbent, Joe Knollenberg, say they want to focus on the economy and not Kevorkian.
But Oakland University political science professor Dave Dulio says Kevorkian could be a factor in this race, which the national Democratic Party has targeted in the wake of Knollenberg's narrow victory two years ago against a relative unknown.
"He has name identification, yes, but you can't get elected on name ID alone," said Dulio.
Dulio predicts Kevorkian won't win, partly because he won't take campaign contributions. "You need to tell people why they need to vote for you, rather than the other candidates, and that's what he can't do with no money."
But Kevorkian stresses it's the message that counts, not the money. He said that he won't hire a campaign staff and intends to meet voters the old-fashioned way: face to face. "I'm more honest than they are," he said, speaking of his opponents. "Nobody in any party or any religion really has a free mind."