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Oregon Constitution Party May Have Lost its Qualified Status

Published on December 19, 2012, by in General.

Oregon requires qualified political parties that have registration smaller than one-half of 1% to poll at least 1% of the vote for any statewide office, every two years, in order to remain on the ballot.

At the 2012 election, the Constitution Party nominated candidates for three statewide offices: President (the Oregon Constitution Party nominated Will Christensen for President instead of Virgil Goode); Treasurer; and Attorney General. The party’s nominees for President and Treasurer did not poll as much as 1%, and the party’s registration is only about one-seventh of 1%. However, the Constitution Party’s nominee for Attorney General, James Leuenberger, did meet the vote test; he polled 2.79%, placing third. But his vote appears not to count toward keeping the party on the ballot, because section 248.008(7) says a candidate who is nominated by more than one party cannot use his vote to “save” the ballot status of any party.

Leuenberger appeared on the November 2012 ballot as “Constitution, Libertarian” because he was also the nominee of the Libertarian Party. He won the Libertarian nomination in the Libertarian Party’s all-mail private primary election, in which all registered Libertarians were able to vote. No one else sought the Libertarian nomination for Attorney General. Oregon permits fusion. It now appears that Leuenberger injured his own party, the Constitution Party, by also winning the Libertarian nomination. This post has been re-written to reflect the existence of the law that says a fusion nominee’s vote total cannot help a party retain ballot status. Thanks to Dan Meek (see his comment #2 below) for this re-write. The Oregon Secretary of State’s office says it will soon rule on the status of the Constitution Party.

All of the other statewide Libertarian nominees all met the vote test and even if they hadn’t, the Libertarian Party has enough registrations so that it need not pass the vote test.

5 Responses

  1. johnO

    Is Mary Starratt still active in Oregon?

  2. Dan Meek

    I don’t think so. Oregon law states:

    248.008 Qualification as minor political party; party member registration requirement; eligibility to nominate candidates; maintenance of status as minor political party; loss of status as minor party.
    * * *
    (7) An affiliation of electors or a minor political party may not satisfy the one percent requirement referred to in subsection (1)(b) of this section by nominating a candidate who is the nominee of another political party at the same election.

    If two minor parties nominate the same person, the law is clear that neither party gets credit toward the 1% vote requirement.

  3. Casual Bystander

    From the national CPs point of view this might be a good thing. The Oregon party was “disaffiliated” anyway so this way the national party may be able to get back in the game in Oregon.

  4. Does the national CP have enough money to get on the Oregon? It’s not an easy state to qualify…

  5. Mark Seidenberg

    Casual Bystander,

    Why do you think that the Oregon
    CP qualifications problem is a “good thing” for the
    National CP?

    In California we do not have fusion an AIP of California
    has 477,129 electors in California

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

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