Other than the fact that both Libertarians running in Congressional District 7 are new to the party, they are a study in contrasts.

George Keane, 32 this week, said he had been registered as a Republican to help support the presidential bid of limited-government supporter Ron Paul. He switched to Libertarian in May, saying Americans are "overtaxed and overregulated."

Andrew Ibarra, 55, was an independent who said he decided to run and then picked a party. He said he wouldn't win as a Democrat up against incumbent U.S. Rep. Raul Grijalva, and he said the history of Republicans in the district isn't good. He didn't want to run as an independent, so he embraced the Libertarian platform of small government and more freedom.

Keane, a loan servicer for a mortgage company, said he's disenchanted with the Republican Party because it supports foreign aid and nation building.

He also said America has too many troops in other countries, and he wants to bring them home. The U.S. shouldn't be in Afghanistan, he said, adding that there's no clear path to victory and it's costing lives and money. That money could be used to shore up Social Security, he said, and citizens should be able to invest Social Security earnings.

Keane, who supports a balanced-budget amendment, said he wouldn't find it difficult to do. "Anything that's not mandated in the Constitution we should do away with," he said.

He called Grijalva a "big-government spender," said his support of "socialized medicine" is wrong, and added that Grijalva shouldn't have called for a boycott against the state because of its immigration law.

As for his primary opponent, he said, "I don't know much about him, but from what I gather, he hasn't shared Libertarian views for very long. It seems he chose the platform because he thought it was the easiest way to win."

Ibarra, who works as a controller for a tire company, said he was inspired to run when presidential contender John McCain talked about the "fundamentals" of the economy being strong. "We're nearly $14 trillion in debt. I've been watching Washington, and I said, 'I can do better.' "

Ibarra is running a quiet campaign. He didn't return phone calls for days, doesn't have a website and doesn't have funding.

He's also cautious about his platform. He said his top priority is to create jobs, adding that he supports tax incentives for manufacturing firms that open in Arizona. Asked about tax cuts, he said, "That's a touchy subject." He said he'd try to avoid the discussion altogether by increasing revenues through job growth.

What about spending cuts? That's touchy, too, he said, adding that he didn't have specifics but would look at across-the-board cuts and efficiency steps.

Contact Rhonda Bodfield at 573-4243 or