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Number of California Minor Party Candidates Slumps to Lowest Level Since 1966

Published on March 10, 2012, by in General.

On March 9, filing for the California primary closed (except in a few districts in which the incumbent is not running for re-election). It appears that there are only thirteen minor party candidates running for U.S. House of Representatives and state legislature. This is the lowest number of California minor party candidates for those offices since 1966, when there were no parties on the ballot in California except for the Democratic and Republican Parties, and thus no minor party candidates on the ballot.

In 2010, there were 74 minor party candidates on the California ballot for U.S. House and legislature.

In the U.S. Senate race, it appears that one Peace & Freedom Party member, and one Libertarian, and two American Independent Party members, filed. In 2010, there were six minor party candidates for U.S. Senate on the primary ballot, and four in the general election. Also in November 2010, the Socialist Workers Party had a declared write-in U.S. Senate candidate. Even write-in candidates in the general election are now barred.

Proposition 14, passed by the voters in June 2010, is responsible for this drop in candidacies. Proposition 14 makes it virtually impossible for minor party members to participate in the general election, so many candidates decided not to file. Furthermore, the implementing legislation for Proposition 14, SB 6, severely increased the number of signatures needed for a petition in lieu of the filing fee.

California always has 100 regularly-scheduled legislative elections, every two years, and in the last ten years, has had 53 U.S. House seats up every two years. It appears that for U.S. House and legislature combined, there are six Greens, five Libertarians, two Peace & Freedom Party members, and no American Independent Party members running. It is unlikely that any member of Americans Elect filed, but this can’t be known for sure until the Secretary of State releases the list of candidates. UPDATE: an earlier version of this post said there are four Peace & Freedom Party candidates for district office, but in fact there are only two. Therefore the total number of minor party members running for district office this year in California is thirteen, not fifteen.

26 Responses

  1. Joe Moeller

    Richard -Arent Vincent May and Don Grundmann running for senate with the AIP?

  2. Good point. Markham Robinson and Mark Seidenberg told me they don’t think there are any AIP candidates for US House or state legislature, but I forgot about US Senate. I’ll amend the post. Thank you.

  3. [...] filing deadline passed for November elections and Richard Winger reports “there are only fifteen minor party candidates running for U.S. House of [...]

  4. Demo Rep

    P.R. and nonpartisan App.V.
    ONE election.
    ——

    NO extremist primaries.

  5. Relf Alison Star

    What isn’t being told is that Peace and Freedom Party some time ago elevated a registered sex offender, Steven Bruce Orcutt aka Frank Runninghorse, and a slap in the face to every woman registered PFP, to two leadership positions in the Party. There was a secret meeting of executive officers of PFP where Orcutt was questioned, but those of us rank and filed were not privy to the questions, the answers, or the members of PFP who conducted this inquisition.

    Relf Alison Star

  6. I’m sure all Californians are happy to have all of these extra choices just like they were promised by Top Two!

  7. Andy

    This isn’t a big suprise since the real agenda behind Proposition 14 was to limit choice on the ballot and give a further advantage to the political establishment’s favored candidates from the two major parties.

  8. Jim Riley

    Which was the Socialist Worker senatorial write-in in 2010 (there were 4, who received 41, 11, 10, and 5 votes statewide).

  9. Richard, this may be politically incorrect to say, but at least for us Libertarians it might have something to do additionally with the fact that so many Libertarians in California see running under the Republican banner as much more appealing.

    Republicans have been beaten down so far in California, that the Party is more open to participation from Libertarians than ever before. With huge Democrat dominance in the State, and the GOP pressed down to the point where they’re almost like a minor party, what sense does it make for two limited government-oriented parties to compete with each other?

    If the GOP was stronger in California, like it was 10 years ago, perhaps there’d be more of an incentive for opposing Libertarian Party candidates.

  10. james?

    Reply to eric dondero, i dont understand you logic if gop was stronger and libs stood they would find it harder and if they were succesful just hurt gop. if republicans are weak thats more of an incentive for lib party to make inroads and weaken them further in hope of making a break through.

  11. Jim Riley

    The number of minor party candidates has been steadily declining, dropping 72% between 2000 and 2008.

  12. #8, the Socialist Workers Party candidate was James Harris.

    #11, your comment fails to say that in 2000, California had the Natural Law Party on the ballot, and the Reform Party on the ballot. Both of them are gone now. The Natural Law Party in California in 2000 had 51 candidates for US House, 8 for State Senate, and 16 for Assembly.

  13. “Proposition 14 makes it virtually impossible for minor party members to participate in the general election … ”

    Members of all parties — “major” and “minor” — along with independent candidates face precisely the same threshold for reaching the general election: come in first or second in the primary.

    If they cannot persuade a substantial number of voters to cast a ballot for them, then yes, they won’t make the general.

    I think the Contra Costa Times had a story today about the new system, and it noted that it increases choices in the primary and decreases them in the general. Fair enough.

    If your goal in life is to have lots of obscure parties’ names and candidates on the November ballot, Prop. 14 must seem awful. If the goal is to have greens or libertarians elected, then they need to win votes.

  14. [...] filing deadline passed for November elections and┬áRichard Winger┬áreports “there are only fifteen minor party candidates running for U.S. House of [...]

  15. Jim Riley

    #12 But the Libertarians dropped from 112 to 40 as well.

    How many independents have filed? By my count, there have been a total of 11 over the past 10 elections (1996-2010).

  16. Demo Rep

    How communist are the New Age top Donkeys in the CA legislature on a scale of 0 to 100 (total) — due to those rigged safe seat gerrymander districts — even with the USELESS top 2 primary ???
    —-
    P.R. and App.V.

  17. Casual Bystander

    #13… by your evaluation of the situation I would guess you saw nothing wrong with the “top one” system in the USSR. They used to have “primaries” as well but only the top finisher went ahesd to be “elected”. Odd how it aleays was the same party “winning”.

  18. Demo Rep

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_Zealand_general_election,_2011

    LIGHT years ahead of the now STONE AGE ANTI-Democracy minority rule gerrymander regimes in the U.S.A, U.K., Canada, India, etc. — even with the keeping of the gerrymander districts — due to the party list winners.
    —–
    P.R. and App.V. — NO single member districts.

  19. Mark F.

    Prop 14 means that in heavily partisan districts (like the district I’m in), the top 2 finishers will almost always be from the same party. In my district, there will almost certainly never be any non-Democrat to vote for in the general election. In conservative districts, Democrats will likely be shut out of the general election as well.

    How can this not both decrease the number of candidates running (already has happened) and decrease interest and participation in the general election?

  20. Demo Rep

    #19 How soon before CA goes into Civil WAR II mode ???

    i.e. the inland Elephant counties attempt to secede – from the Donkey communist coastal counties ???

    ALL district schemes –
    1/2 votes x 1/2 districts = 1/4 CONTROL

    Much too difficult for ALL the M-O-R-O-N-S in CA to understand — judges in Fed and State courts, law school profs, media know it all types, average citizens on the streets, etc. ???

  21. Demo Rep

    3 District Gerrymander Example
    PACK enemies, CRACK the rest of the area

    A, B Parties
    T Totals
    P Percent of Total Votes

    DIST–A—-B—-T

    1—51—49—100
    2—51—49—100
    3—0—-100—-100
    ————————
    T—102—198—300

    P—34.0—66.0—100.0

    The ENEMIES of Democracy LOVE having PACK/CRACK gerrymander districts — nonstop since 4 July 1776.

  22. Richard, are you counting only those candidates who actually qualified by Friday, or are you counting all candidates who took out papers at some point? I’m pretty sure that only two Peace and Freedom candidates qualified. Four is the number (that I’m aware of) who planned to qualify.

  23. @22, to avoid confusion, I should add that the numbers two and four do not include U.S. Senate.

  24. Demo Rep

    CA Election Code

    8103. (a) The following fees for filing declarations of candidacy
    shall be paid to the Secretary of State by each candidate:
    (1) Two percent of the first-year salary for the office of United
    States Senator or for any state office. The fee prescribed in this
    subdivision does not apply to the office of state Senator, Member of
    the Assembly, member of the State Board of Equalization, or justice
    of the court of appeal.
    (2) One percent of the first-year salary for the office of
    Representative in Congress, member of the State Board of
    Equalization, or justice of the court of appeal.
    (3) One percent of the first-year salary for the office of state
    Senator or Member of the Assembly.
    (b) For purposes of this section, “salary” means the annual salary
    for the office as of the first day on which a candidate may
    circulate petitions in lieu of filing fees pursuant to Section 8106.
    ———
    8106. (a) Notwithstanding any other provision of this article, a
    candidate may submit a petition containing signatures of registered
    voters in lieu of a filing fee as follows:
    (1) For the office of California State Assembly, 1,500 signatures.
    (2) For the office of California State Senate and the United
    States House of Representatives, 3,000 signatures.
    (3) For candidates running for statewide office, 10,000
    signatures.
    (4) For all other offices for which a filing fee is required, if
    the number of registered voters in the district in which he or she
    seeks nomination is 2,000 or more, a candidate may submit a petition
    containing four signatures of registered voters for each dollar of
    the filing fee, or 10 percent of the total of registered voters in
    the district in which he or she seeks nomination, whichever is less.
    (5) For all other offices for which a filing fee is required, if
    the number of registered voters in the district in which he or she
    seeks nomination is less than 2,000, a candidate may submit a
    petition containing four signatures of registered voters for each
    dollar of the filing fee, or 20 percent of the total of registered
    voters in the district in which he or she seeks nomination, whichever
    is less.

    rest of section omitted
    ——–
    Gee – have some SERIOUS candidates ???

  25. Mark Seidenberg

    The American Independent Party of California has endorsed for the United States Senate Robert Lauten of
    Brea, County of Orange, State of California.

    Good luck to Robert Lauten!

    Sincerely, Mark Seidenberg, Chairman, American Independent Party of California.

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