Unless you’re in a coma or a teenybopper more concerned with Lady Gaga and Justin Bieber than Lady Liberty and justice, you are aware of at least eight of the Republicans running for the Republican presidential nomination. But not everyone knows that there are actually 134 Republicans who have registered their candidacies for President with the Federal Election Commission.
What’s more is that such a proliferation of candidates is not unusual. Similar numbers have accounted for the entirety of past fields of presidential candidates in both Parties. This year, with Democrats having an incumbent President running for reelection, as expected, they have far fewer challengers than do Republicans. Democrats have only 45 registered candidates
. As for other Parties, combined, there is a long list of candidates that looks as follows:
Constitution Party 1
, Constitutional Party 1
, Green Party 5
, Libertarian Party 15
, Reform Party 1
, American Independent Party 1
, American Party 1
, Citizens Party 3
, Independence Party 1
, Objectivist Party 1
, Prohibition Party 2
, Socialism and Liberation Party 1
, Socialist Party USA 2
All totaled, that accounts for 230 individual people running for President of the United States. It is a number that makes you realize that there is much more to the presidential election than we see or hear about. It also proves that the media does not necessarily live up to its need to truly inform the electorate. But knowing that such a large number of people are technically running for President makes it easy to understand why the major televised debates have rules requiring that in order to participate, candidates must have polled at least one or two percent in national polls. Many have complained that these two hour debates with 7 or 8 candidates do not give the participants enough time to answer questions properly. Can you imaging another debate with CNN’s Jonathon King moderating a stage full of 134 candidates? He couldn’t handle the seven he had.
So given these facts, it becomes understandable why there are so many rules regarding these debates. But the electoral process has its own set of rules that also weeds out the large field of candidates.
While there may be 134 Republicans running for President, most all of them are not on any primary or caucus ballots.
Ballot access is something that is left up to the individual states and as such, they each have their own requirements and rules.
In New Hampshire, all it takes to get on the presidential primary ballot is a filing fee of $1,000. In South Carolina there is a filing fee to appear on the presidential primary ballot that costs $25,000 if the candidate pays by May 3, or $35,000 if they pay later than that.
Other states have election laws that essentially give control of the primaries to the establishment of the respective Parties. In state’s like New York and New Jersey, a large number of signatures from registered Republicans who meet residency requirements, is required to get on the ballot. This usually means that a strong organization is needed and even then, these rules often produce numerous court challenges which try to knock candidates off the ballot due to legal technicalities which may disqualify some signatures from counting towards the total needed. In New York, the petition process is so arcane that someone can see all their petition signatures disqualified based upon such things as an printing error on the petitions.
Whether this is fair or not is debatable, but the democratic process has never been accused of being easy or clean and in many ways the daunting challenge to get on the ballot do prevent voters from having to go through a national phonebook of names to cast their vote. In 200o, voters in Palm Beach had a hard enough time trying to vote for President with a ballot that had only three names available to them. Can you imagine the chaos there would be with 140 or more names on the ballot?
In the end, the process does legitimately make it so that only a truly serious candidates run for President. In order to make it to the ballot, they must be motivated, organized, and well financed. And even then it is not easy. In 2000, the high-profile Green Party candidacy of ,Ralph Nader, didn’t make it onto the presidential ballots of three states.
So registering with the Federal Election Commission does not necessarily make one a serious presidential candidate. However, as White House 2012 can attest to, despite the odds, many of those who filed with the FEC, are taking their run for the Republican nomination quite seriously.
Ever since last August, dozens of candidates have contacted White House 2012 requesting that they be added to the site and given the same treatment as the major candidates, including their own White House 2012 bio page.
Unfortunately, the financial costs, and amount of manpower and time required to make that possible is just not possible
for White House 2012. However, what we at WH12 are willing to do, is run this series called “The Herd”. It is an ongoing series about the rest of the Republican field of candidates. Every other day, we will feature one of these lesser known candidates. Some of these profiles will include well intentioned people like Joe Story, who by the luck of the draw, will be the first name that appears on the New Hampshire Republican presidential primary ballot. Other profiles will include colorful characters like Jimmy “The Rent is Too Damn High” McMillan, an outrageous former Democrat candidate for Governor of the Empire State. Now he is running for President of, we think, the United States, as a Republican. The series is sure to be, at the very least, quite entertaining.
Even though I have tried, White House 2012 still won’t be able to tell you about all 134 Republicans who filed a candidacy with the FEC but that won’t be because we didn’t try. I reached out to each of the candidates and those who I could reach, were sent a questionnaire
which was designed to help us determine whom the most serious candidates are [see the questions here
]. Those who did not respond, eliminated themselves from this series.
One such candidate was Samm Tittle
. Ms. Tittle called White House 2012 and left a message stating that she has “been with the FEC as a primary Republican candidate”.
“I take it your a fair man. I’ve read a lot about you and I’d like you to get me on to that list of the candidates, if you please. We’ve already sent to your staff, quite a bit of information and I haven’t gotten any response. So I thought I’d go ahead and call you personally. . I’m out there. I’d like to get the same respect that you’re giving to the rest of the candidates. Thank you very much.”
If Ms. Tittle has sent White House 2012 “quite a bit of information“, I don’t know anything about it. If she really did, we probably would have covered it. We have done so with Fred Karger, the openly gay Republican candidate for President who sent us information and even sat down for an interview with us. But I would like to consider myself a fair man. So I responded to candidate Tittle. She on the other hand has not responded back. So there goes that.
Some candidates I could not even get in touch with. Rest assured that White House 2012 will not bother with them. Also on that list are those candidates who do not make any contact information readily available. While I for one believe that modern technology can not replace many aspects of good ole’ fashioned political campaigning, this is not the election of 1796. Communication with contemporary candidates should not need to be conducted via horse and buggy.
But those candidates who are willing to make a decent attempt at getting their message out, will be afforded the opportunity to do so on White House 2012 and that opportunity will be made available to them in “The Herd”. So stay tuned. I promise you at least a good slice of human interest in this series.
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