Diamond Enters PA Gubernatorial Race

April 13th, 2006

Yet another interesting independent candidate for governor this year, this time in Pennsylvania.

Pittsburgh LIVE has the story…

Russ Diamond, the 42-year-old founder of a group targeting incumbent officeholders, today announced he will run as an independent candidate for Pennsylvania governor.

Diamond, of Lebanon, needs to gather about 67,000 signatures on a petition by Aug 1, in order to get the on the November ballot with Democratic incumbent Gov. Ed Rendell and Republican Lynn Swann, of Sewickley Heights.

Diamond formed Operation PACleanSweep last July, to oppose the Legislature’s now repealed pay raise that Rendell signed into law. His organization grew into a stateiwide anti-incumbency movement, but has been hit by controversy as members of Diamond’s board of directors balked at the idea of his running for statewide office.

Diamond told reporters in Harrisburg this morning that he’ll step down from the board next week.

He asid he’ll also hammer Swann on the government pay issue, because Swann is backed by the GOP establishmdent that engineered the pay raise.

“This could be a good time for a second American revolution,” Diamond said.

Badnarik Billboard - Now We’re Talking!

April 11th, 2006

The Badnarik campaign has put up their first billboard…

http://www.badnarik.org

Constitution Party ‘Spoiling’ Montana House?

April 11th, 2006

From the Helena Independent-Record...

The conservative Constitution Party, which calls the Republican Party too liberal, has fielded a record 20 state legislative candidates for this fall’s election, a turnout that some Republicans worried could hurt their own party.

Although still little more than a political curiosity, the Montana Constitution Party is already influencing, at least to a small degree, campaign decisions made by Republicans this year.

In one legislative district, Republicans didn’t even offer a candidate because they didn’t want to split conservative votes with the Constitution Party candidate and end up handing a the seat to a Democrat.

And worse, Republicans say, the Constitution Party could steal enough conservative votes to give Democrats wins in two other districts.

With the House currently tied 50-50, even just one loss in a conservative area could really sting.

‘‘I am seriously worried it could cost us a couple of seats, and as tight as things are in the Legislature, it could cost us a majority,’’ said Chuck Denowh, executive director with the Montana Republican Party. ‘‘We not only have to promote our candidates, but we also have to let people know what the stakes are and how important it is to vote Republican.’’

The Constitution Party opposes what it calls ‘‘undeclared wars’’ like the one in Iraq, any type of abortion, the United Nations and the Patriot Act. It wants to return the country to the gold standard, abolish property taxes and have parents pay for their child’s own schooling.

The number of legislative candidates who filed this year is up from 13 in 2004.

‘‘Every election we get bigger,’’ said Jonathan Martin, chairman of the Montana Constitution Party that was formed in 1999. ‘‘We’ve seen a tremendous surge, especially this year, as far as interest goes.’’

In 2004, the party had 13 legislative candidates, but none got elected.

Martin said most members of the Constitution Party are disgruntled former Republicans.

‘‘We don’t take one single vote from Republicans. They give them away,’’ he said. ‘‘The Constitution Party is here because the Republicans have left their principles. It is more important for them to have a majority in the Legislature than to stand to conservative principles.’’

Most Constitution Party candidates are given little chance at winning, but Martin said that’s not the point.

‘‘We have two parties that both realize to be re-elected they have to do the same thing. To one degree another they both do the same thing,’’ he said. ‘‘To us it is not the most important thing to win, it is to stand up and speak the truth. If people are not ready for it, there is no sense in being elected anyway.’’

In House District 12, Constitution Party candidate Rick Jore is considered to have a good chance at winning. In fact, Republicans hope he does — and didn’t even field a candidate in the race to help Jore corner the conservative vote.

In 2004, Jore split a lot of conservative votes with Republican Jack Cross. Democrat Jeanne Windham was declared the winner over Jore after a court battle in the close race.

Denowh said Republicans are threatened in two districts — House District 1 in Libby and House District 59 in Red Lodge — where the third party could take enough votes to give Democrats the wins.

Craig Wilson, a political scientist at MSU-Billings, said he believes it’s unlikely the Constitution Party is going to make much of a dent in other races.

He said most legislative races in Montana are won by large margins, and Constitution Party candidates don’t have the means to mount active campaigns. Stealing just a few percentage points of the conservative vote probably won’t be enough to cost Republicans any wins.

Plus, some of the votes given to the third party candidates are simply ‘‘protest’’ votes that could come from the left or the right, he said.

‘‘I think it’s open question to what extent they will hurt the Republicans,’’ Wilson said. ‘‘But if you really go back and look at the results from prior races, you are going to find in lots of instances its a small percentage of the vote.’’

He said you have to go back at least half a century to find a third party candidate that won a state legislative race.

Candidate of the Day Feature

April 10th, 2006

The Candidate of the Day feature has been really popular on this site. People have been emailing me suggestions since Day 1 and I’ve tried whenever possible to incorporate them into the daily postings.

However, it’s still only April and many campaigns have barely gotten off the ground at this point. I don’t want to exaust the feature too far before the election, so I’m going to give it a break for the next month or so. I still have at least a dozen and probably more candidates in mind as ones that I want to feature in the future.

When Candidate of the Day does return sometime in May, expect a little bit of a surprise with the first candidate profile. :)

Until then, please feel free to continue emailing me suggestions and other comments.

And remember that the site itself is not taking a break from update (not at all), but just the daily featured candidate.

Thanks! - Austin

A few blog items…

April 10th, 2006

-> Tim West talks some more about his health situation and also gives a few hints about where he plans to take Liberty For Sale in the future.

-> This item from Hammer of Truth is a really good read. Stephen Gordon goes through an absurdly bad article by a member of the LNC and tears it apart point-by-point.

-> Green blogger J. M. Branum (of JMBZine.com) passed the bar exam in Oklahoma. Congrats!

-> The official Libertarian Party blog takes on the question: “What government programs are the most harmful?”

Maryland Bans Fusion in Federal Elections

April 10th, 2006

In a decision that seems at least partly aimed at the “fusion” Green/Libertarian/Populist campaign of Kevin Zeese for U.S. Senate, the Maryland legsilature passed a bill to outlaw fusion in Federal elections.

From Ballot Access News...

On March 31, the Maryland legislature passed Senate Bill 129 on an emergency basis. Since it is an emergency bill, it takes effect immediately and does not need approval by the Governor. It outlaws fusion in federal elections. It also codifies the court decision Maryland Green Party v Bd. of Elections. That decision, issued in 2003, struck down the need for qualified minor parties to submit petitions for their nominees, and was a great ballot access victory.

Although Maryland has outlawed fusion in state elections for decades, a loophole in the law seemed to permit fusion for congressional and presidential elections. That loophole is now closed.

Although it is disappointing that federal fusion no longer exists in Maryland, the other part of the bill is beneficial. When a court strikes down a ballot access restriction, it is always useful to have the legislature then amend the law to reflect the court decision, to avoid confusion. In Pennsylvania, during the last 21 years, six different ballot access restrictions have been struck down by federal courts, and yet the Pennsylvania legislature has not amended the election code to reflect any of these decisions.

Weld To Seek Libertarian Ballot Line?

April 7th, 2006

Apparently Republican gubernatorial candidate Bill Weld (NY, formerly MA) is interested in appearing on the ballot as both the GOP and Libertarian candidate under New York’s fusion system that allows a single candidate to win multiple nominations. This sounds like it might be a really good move for the NY Libertarians.

From the NY Daily News...

GOP gubernatorial hopeful Bill Weld is sailing into uncharted waters in New York Republican politics: He’s making a major run to line up the backing of the tiny Libertarian Party.

Weld confirmed to the Daily News last night that he would “definitely be interested” in winning the Libertarian line.

“’Libertarian’ is not a bad word in my lexicon,” he said, noting one of his favorite expressions is: “I want the government out of your pocketbook and out of your bedroom.”

Asked about the party’s opposition to the war on drugs, Weld said he’d back medical marijuana, but added, “I’m not for the decriminalization of drugs.”

Because Republicans are outnumbered by Democrats in New York by a 5-3 ratio, GOP candidates covet a second ballot line.

Overwhelmingly, their partner has been the Conservative Party. But Weld’s more conservative GOP rival, John Faso, has a virtual lock on the Conservative line.

Today’s Candidate: Jesse Mortenson

April 7th, 2006

FRIDAY —March 7th, 2006

Today’s candidate of the day is Jesse Mortenson for Minnesota State House. He’s running as the Green Party candidate and this is the second time he has been featured as our candidate of the day.

I started off this week with Craig Bergland, a candidate with a website that is quite amusing… but also a functioning example of “what not to do” if you want to be taken seriously.

So, I figured it might be a good idea to end the week with a candidate’s website that is doing just about everything right. That candidate is Jesse Mortenson for Minnesota State House.

The design is clean and the color-scheme reflects the candidate’s Green Party background. He’s wisely focused on five main issues and laid them out in an easy to digest format.

Also check out MTV, the candidate’s media page featuring video, audio, and even a podcast subscription.

Additionally, the site includes a photo gallery with some credibility-enhancing images. This is something I think a lot of third party campaign sites mistakenly ignore.

Consider this shot of a couple of supporters standing around during the campaign’s kick-off event as well this one of the entire room from the same event. The giant poster in the background of the first image and the crowded room in the next image send a clear message that the campaign is pretty well organized. At the very least, they can fill up a room with supporters and hang professional-looking campaign material on the wall… and that’s quite a bit more than most third party candidates for local office ever accomplish.

In short, campaign sites need more pictures like this:

And fewer pictures like this:

(that’s the head and two fingers of Roger I. Price of Utah, candidate for U.S. Senate)

The website: http://www.jessemortenson.com

‘Pro-Life’ Not Allowed on Idaho Ballot

April 6th, 2006

It appears that the State of Idaho will not let Constitution Party gubernatorial candidate Marvin Pro-Life Richardson (that’s his real name) use his legal middle name on the ballot this fall. He will appear simply as Marvin Richardson.

The Idaho Press-Tribune has the story…

Gem County gubernatorial candidate Marvin Pro-Life Richardson will be just plain Marvin Richardson on the election ballot in November. And the organic strawberry grower and Constitution Party member is not happy about it.

The Idaho Secretary of State Office says a ballot is for identifying candidates and not for political slogans. So Richardson, who legally changed his middle name to Pro-Life two years ago, will not be able to use his full name. Richardson, 64, said he’s thinking about taking the state of Idaho to court over the matter. And he said he may even legally drop the Marvin and Richardson from his name just to see what the Secretary of State’s Office, which is responsible for creating voting ballots, would do.

“I don’t know why they’re being so ridiculous,” Richardson said. “Maybe they think I’ll get a certain amount of votes and it would cause the election to go some way or another. But I don’t think that’s going to happen.”

The decision not to allow Richardson’s middle name on the ballot is based on an Idaho Supreme Court ruling in 2000, Secretary of State Chief Deputy Tim Hurst said. That ruling struck down a law calling for ballots to include whether or not candidates supported term limits.

“Our stand is that the names on the ballot are to identify the candidates, not to give them the opportunity to put a policy message on the ballot,” Hurst said. “And that basically was the (Supreme Court) decision.”

Richardson said the two issues are not the same.

“This is a whole different thing,” Richardson said. “This is a person’s name.”

Richardson, who ran for the state Legislature and lost in 2004, said his Pro-Life middle name may actually cause him to lose votes because even some of the members of his own party think the name change is too extreme.

“They look at me as being ridiculous for doing that,” Richardson said.

Richardson admitted he knew he would probably have his new name on a ballot when he changed it. But he says that’s not the point.

“If I never run for office again, if I move to another country, I’m still going to continue to use my name of Pro-Life,” Richardson said.

Richardson and Constitution Party Lieutenant Governor candidate William Charles Wellisch of Dingle will conduct a press conference at noon today on the second floor rotunda of the Statehouse. The two candidates will address Richardson’s ballot question and other issues.

Today’s Candidate: Jim Lendall

April 6th, 2006

THURSDAY —April 6th, 2006

Today’s candidate of the day is Jim Lendall for Governor of Arkansas.

Lendall is a former Democratic state representative and the Green Party’s candidate for Governor this year. After serving 8 years in the state legislature, Lendall has decided to seek the state’s top office as a Green because he feels the Democrats have become too much like the Republicans, two parties that essentially stand for the same things.

He certainly has a unique look.

The website: http://www.jimlendall2006.com