On January 7, the Florida Whig Party announced that it now has five candidates for U.S. House in 2010. The newly-announced candidates are Stephen J. Bacon in the 7th district, and Craig Porter in the 25th district. Previously announced candidates are Paul McKain in the 2nd district, John Annarumma in the 3rd district, and Clayton Schock in the 20th district.
This blog does not routinely mention instances when a minor party announces a list of candidates, but this Florida news is exceptional. Florida and Georgia are the only states in which, at no time since the 1930’s, has there ever been an election in which at least half of that state’s U.S. House seats had minor party or independent candidates on the ballot. Florida and Georgia, in other words, are the only states in which over half the voters have never seen a minor party or independent candidate on their ballot for U.S. House.
Even though Florida abolished mandatory petitions for minor party and independent candidates in 1999, minor parties in Florida have been slow to take advantage of the freedom to run candidates for Congress. No minor party has had more than two candidates in any one year, in Florida, for U.S. House, since the 1999 liberalization. This is partly because the filing fee is so high, and partly because ingrained habits seem to make Florida minor parties not accustomed to thinking of running many candidates. For example, the Green Party has not had even one U.S. House candidate in Florida since the 1999 liberalization.