Reform Party Postpones Choices of a Presidential Nominee Until August 8

The Reform Party national convention of July 30 has voted to postpone the choice of a presidential nominee until August 8. The party is likely to nominate the presidential candidate who has qualified for the most state ballots by then, or the person who has promised to do the most to rebuild the party.

Even though the new national chair of the Reform Party (effective January 1, 2017) is from New York, it appears the ballot-qualified Reform Party of New York will not place the nominee chosen by the national convention on the New York ballot. The New York Reform Party feels obliged to nominate Donald Trump for President. This is partly because the origin of the New York Reform Party in 2014 was with Republican Party activists, who put the party on the 2014 ballot with the name “Stop Common Core Party.” After it got over 50,000 votes for Governor in 2014, it changed its name to the Reform Party. The Republican activists who created the party in New York in 2014 still have some sway over the party.


Reform Party Postpones Choices of a Presidential Nominee Until August 8 — 40 Comments

  1. If they go by who is on the ballot in the most states who are we likely to see as the nominee? De La Fuente???

  2. My information is that the two finalists are Rocky de la Fuente and Darcy Richardson, that there will be an email ballot to make the final decision, and that the results will be announced at 5pm on Monday, August 1st, not on August 8th.

  3. Bradley,

    Yes, Mr. Fuente has achieved ballot access in several states.

    Since he competed in the Democratic primaries, he may come up against “sore loser” laws in some of those states. That’s a poor initial outcome, but one good result might be a legal challenge getting rid of those laws.

  4. OK, it turns out that the nomination results will be announced on the 8th. No idea why they’re robbing their nominee of more than a week of campaign time with only three months to go until Election Day, unless it’s to give Rocky de la Fuente time to drop his Democratic primary bid for US Senate from Florida (Florida only allows a candidate to run for one office per election).

  5. I live in a household with a registered Democratic voter.

    Bizarrely, we got a huge glossy postcard in the mail today from Rocky – promoting his U.S. Senate campaign. It’s from a PAC called Floridians for Accountability.

    It’s actually the only mail we’ve gotten in the Democratic Senate race, thus far.

    Does this dude just HATE his money or what?

  6. Jeez… I respect the Reform Party, but they’ve got to get their act together!

  7. Austin,

    I’m not sure.

    This year, Rocky de la Fuente spent $95.50 for each vote he received in the Democratic presidential primaries, running against one of the most disliked politicians in history.

    In 2012, Darcy Richardson spent 21 cents per vote — and got more votes than Fuente in the five states where they both ran — running against a relatively popular incumbent president.

    It almost makes me wonder if Fuente’s campaign is some kind of money laundering operation.

  8. The main reason Rocky spent so much money running for president in Democratic primaries this year is because no state except California acknowledged that he is mentioned in news media. So he did extremely expensive ballot access petitions (the alternate procedure for pres primary candidates who aren’t discussed in the news media), which in some states are far worse than any general election ballot access requirements. Oregon and New Mexico have hideous presidential primary procedures. But usually no one ever cares because most people who run in major party presidential primaries are recognized by the news media.

  9. I’m not questioning why he spent so much money on the primaries. I’m wondering why he got so few votes from spending all that money.

    His campaign commercials — both for the presidential campaign and the Senate campaign — have decent production values. Did he air them?

    Money is a great thing. It is necessary, but not sufficient, to any kind of campaign. But it doesn’t do any good if all you do with it is throw it in a hole, douse it with diesel fuel, and set it on fire.

  10. My quixotic challenge to President Obama in the 2012 Democratic presidential primaries would not have been possible were it not for the personal generosity and encouragement from Austin Cassidy — and for that I remain forever grateful.

  11. How hard is it to hold a convention and choose a candidate? What an insult to the candidates who showed up expecting to receive a vote. Beyond idiotic.

    Also, if the New York party doesn’t place the party’s nominee on the ballot, they should be disaffiliated.

  12. Jeremy,

    The Reform Party does certainly seem to suffer from internal governance issues.

    My understanding is that Florida and New York are their only secure (by some definition I’m not sure of for New York) ballot lines. There’s a Mississippi Reform Party, but apparently they are some kind of splinter. As late as 2008 they were at least trying to run candidates in other states, but a cabal of evildoers apparently helped the Constitution Party kick their ticket off the Kansas ballot.

    My prescription for the party would be for this year’s presidential campaign to make identifying prospective new members and activists a priority with a view toward getting new state affiliates up and running in time for the 2018 midterm elections.

    Until today, I was relaxed vis a vis the nominations — happy to be Darcy’s running mate if he was nominated and they also accepted his selection, toes still tapping if things didn’t go that way.

    But I expected it to be decided one way or another today, and now I’m … annoyed. I’ve decided to go from relaxed to proactive. I’ve arranged for Darcy 2016’s first 100,000 banner ad impressions and am preparing a support campaign which I expect to result in the party’s delegates hearing from more people THIS week about THIS year’s presidential ticket than voted for the 2012 ticket.

    Messing around like this isn’t fair to the candidates and it isn’t fair to the voters.

  13. The problem is that the words “Reform Party” are too ambiguous. It’s attractive to people who want to run for office on the premise that local government is acting in a manner inconsistent with the wishes of the constituency to form a ballot line using this label. It’s difficult to maintain a national”Reform” party because the word has a different meaning in different contexts. I think this problem is evident by the fact that the same organization has claimed Ross Perot, Jesse Ventura, Donald Trump, and Ralph Nader all as standard bearers. Speaking as someone from Albany, I know there have been several candidates in this state with completely different agendas who at various times have used this label. Of course the national organization is disfunctional.

  14. Most/ALL of the money might be better spent on getting const. amdt. petitions for P.R. and nonpartisan App.V. on the ballots — around 18 States.

  15. “The party is likely to nominate the presidential candidate who has qualified for the most state ballots by then.”

    C’mon, King Richard, you don’t know that for sure. The Reform Party delegates might actually be interested in reviving their party, even if it means starting from nearly scratch rather than nominating a deep-pocketed “vanity” candidate who has been lavishing the Democratic Party, both nationally and in Florida, with his pocket full of funds. Last month, according to his most recent FEC filing, Rocky gave the Florida Democratic Party no less than $7,500 between June 15th and June 20th alone.

  16. The last thing this country needs is another “bought and sold” party. The Reform Party actually has principles.

  17. “So he did extremely expensive ballot access petitions (the alternate procedure for pres primary candidates who aren’t discussed in the news media), which in some states are far worse than any general election ballot access requirements. Oregon and New Mexico have hideous presidential primary procedures.” — Richard Winger

    Are you suggesting that Rocky spent more than $6 million on ballot access in the Democratic primaries? Seriously? I think your readers are much smarter than that.

    You ought to take a look at his campaign finance reports filed with the Federal Election Commission.

  18. Nothing says “We are going to shake up the system and take on the two major parties” like “We better put the Republican nominee on the ballot so the Republicans aren’t mad at us.”

    The national chairman’s party is not even putting on the nominee of the party. They are putting on the Republican. What a joke. This isn’t what Ross Perot had in mind 20 years ago.

  19. Clay,

    The Reform Party ran up against a third party’s biggest problem — how to respond to SUCCESS.

    Ross Perot’s 1996 campaign did well enough (8%) that it attracted two kinds of new people it wasn’t yet organizationally prepared for:

    1) Party shoppers like Ventura. They’re not necessarily bad people, but when a party keeps getting cult of personality in its gas tank, after a certain point it tends to displace long-term fuel like grassroots activism and local party organization. Perot had cult of personality, but he actually encouraged the grassroots so that the party would be able to continue on without him once he was gone. Ventura’s successful campaign for governor kind of wrecked the perception that more was needed.

    2) Money hunters like Buchanan. Once again, they may not be bad people, but they’re completely unconcerned with anything except the fact that there’s money for THEIR cause, whether that cause is the party’s cause or not. The Reform Party’s 2000 presidential nominee was entitled to $12.5 million in government campaign money, and the people who came hunting that check didn’t have party-building on their minds.

    Darryl Perry was spot-on in his “concession” speech at the Libertarian Party’s national convention — it was that check that really killed the Reform Party. Nader managed to keep it at “large third party” vote totals in 2004, but that was just back to name recognition, etc. The party was a shell of itself by then. In the two presidential elections since then, it’s received a total of about 2,000 votes (not per election, altogether!), down from 8 million in 1996 and ~400-500k in 2000 and 2004.

    A high priority for Darcy and myself is to help the party start getting back to doing things a party needs to do — building strong local and state organizations that can run candidates and get those candidates on ballots. And hopefully in a way that can be maintained even after another run of success instead of evaporating.

  20. To Darcy and/or Thomas, if you are the nominees of the Reform Party how many states do you believe you can get on the ballot? It looks like Florida you would be good and possibly New York depending on if they go with the party nominee or decide to go with Trump. If on in those 2 states(Florida and NY) that’s a good start. What other states do you think you would target for ballot access?

  21. Thomas Knapp you miss the whole point of my remarks. A party needs to stand for something immediately apparent upon hearing it’s name in order to sustain itself through periods where there are no self interested noteable or wealthy individuals using it as a vehicle. To the casual voter the Reform Party doesn’t have that fixed identity. Nobody knows what to think when they hear the name of the party. But Democratic, Republican, Libertarian, even Green (in a different way)…those words mean something.

  22. Clay,

    It’s not that I miss your point, it’s that I’m interested in how the Reform Party GOT to that point.

    At one (during the Perot era), people associated the Reform Party with standing for three things: Balancing the budget, withdrawing from NAFTA and the idea of “running government like a business.”

    Agree with those things or not (I agree with two of them and am skeptical of the third), that was what Perot brought to the table and built a party with.

    But when Perot left, between Ventura’s and Nader’s personality-driven campaigns and Buchanan’s “I’m just here for the money” campaign, the party lost what ability it had to define itself as an organization in association with an agenda. These days its platform and “core principles” are a dog’s breakfast of stuff, apparently adopted piecemeal as each “that sounds good” talking point came up over the years.

    In order to pull itself up by the bootstraps again, the Reform Party is going to have to simultaneously develop a coherent agenda / principles set AND build organizations that can operate in pursuit of that agenda and those principles over the long term instead of falling apart every time a Perot leaves or a Buchanan arrives.


    As you point out, the Reform Party has ballot access in New York and Florida, but the New York affiliate may give their ballot line to the Republicans this year. The two other states we’re initially eyeing for ballot access are Colorado and Louisiana, and we’ll be researching possibilities (even if only as write-ins) in other states.

    Obviously money helps with ballot access, but as Mr. Fuente’s campaign has already proven by missing elector submission deadlines this year, it’s not everything.

  23. Clay and Thomas, I have it from a good source that Buchanan said the only reason he didn’t run as the Constitution Party candidate was because the Reform Party had the $12.5M in matching funds. (He got less than 500K votes. Talk about a waste.) Also, what are the chances the Reform Party or Parties would be willing to change nominees and put an Indy GOP candidate on the ballot?

  24. Democratic, Republican, and Libertarian all have constructive connotations. Democratic refers to the idea that citizens working together can create a just government. Republican refers to the idea that the wisest people in a nation should be elected to indirectly maintain a just government. Libertarian refers to the idea that limited government should be deployed to maintain order while preserving personal freedoms for the citizens of the state. Reform means that the government isn’t functioning properly. It takes some unpacking to see what a Reform part thinks should be accomplished. The average citizen has no reason to be burdened with that task. The Greens (the party I support) believe positively in restructuring government so that the people’s business is always conducted with environmental considerations. I acknowledge that the Greens will probably never be as large as the Dems, GOP, or Libertarians because of the specific focus. But what all of these parties have that the Reform Party does not have is that they lead with prescriptions for government as the believe it should function. That’s a positive message. The Reform Party doesn’t have an immediate positive message. It doesn’t matter what the party’s history is. The central message that the name indicates is not constructive, and therefore the party’s not sustainable.

  25. Great analysis, Clay. In theory, the Constitution Party follows the same philosophy. Unfortunately, IMO, I think they have overextended themselves with their massive platform and thus are having a difficult time sending out a focused message that the government educated masses can understand.

  26. Actually, Ecological Wisdom is only one of the Green Party’s leading principles, its Four Pillars. The other three are Grassroots Democracy, Social Justice, and Non-Violence. Add six more — Decentralization, Community-Based Economics, Respect for Diversity, Feminism, Personal and Global Responsibility, and Sustainability/Focus on the Future — and you have our Ten Key Values.

  27. Feminism? No thanks, John.
    “Boy, the way Glenn Miller played!
    Songs that made the Hit Parade.
    Guys like us, we had it made.
    Those were the days!
    And you knew where you were then.
    Girls were girls and men were men….”

  28. What is nuts about getting REAL Democracy via P.R. and having REAL NONPARTISAN executive and judicial officers ???
    i.e. P.R. and NONPARTISAN App.V.

    However – the Clinton and Trump super-dangerous extremist REAL N-U-T-S are infecting lots of folks with even more nuts stuff.

    See the NUTS in action in 1914 and 1939 — i.e. the setup to both World WARS — attempts at world conquest by the EVIL monarchs/oligarchs in various places.

    Does history repeat — perhaps for the FINAL time — i.e. END of human life in WW III ???

  29. Darcy and Tom, any idea what the ideological leanings of the delegates are?

    FTR, while I have always thought that Buchanan picked the wrong third party and should have gone with the Constitution Party instead of the Reform Party, there was at least some issues overlap between Buchanan and Perot, and Perot had initially indicated that he would support Buchanan, although he later went back on that, so I don’t think Buchanan’s decision to go with the RP was purely opportunistic. I hope Darcy addresses the mysterious Perot reversal regarding Buchanan in his book which I have not yet read.

  30. Dan,

    No, I don’t have a good feel for the ideological leanings of the delegates.

    I think there was some overlap between Perot and Buchanan on trade issues like NAFTA and such, but I don’t think Buchanan was a good match for the Reform Party. He had a 30-year reputation as a movement conservative. Not necessarily an establishment conservative, but a conservative.

    Ditto Nader. He was a long-time known quantity of a specific persuasion.

    Whatever the Reform Party wanted to be, if it was going to succeed it needed to be running new blood, not minor figures from the existing power bases.

    The attraction for Buchanan versus the Constitution Party in 2000 was that the Reform Party nomination came with a $12.5 million paycheck (much of which, I’ve heard but it’s been a while so I’d need to go back for sources, made its way to Buchanan’s sister).

    The attraction for Nader in 2004 versus the Green Party (apart from some ideological disagreements) was that the Reform Party had quite a bit of remaining ballot access that wouldn’t have to be paid or petitioned for.

    Neither of those motivations bode well for a party.

  31. I think Buchanan went for the money in large part, but I also think he was uncomfortable with some potential anti-Catholic sentiment in the CP and felt it had limited popular appeal, although he could have had the nomination on a silver platter. Buchanan’s ostensibly less ideological 2000 RP campaign was in some ways the ’96 Republican campaign Sam Francis had recommended. But I definitely agree the RP has a serious branding/identity problem. That is the subject of the article I’m working on.

  32. Gentlemen,

    David Collison here, outgoing Chairman of the Reform Party National Committee. I have the privilege of chairing the nominating convention, which is still nominally ongoing until such time as the nominee is chosen. I think I can clarify some of the items in this article, and also answer some of the questions being posed, as a first-hand participant in the process.

    Mr. Winger’s article is correct on some points, but needs correction on a few others.

    I’d first like to thank Mr. Richardson and Mr. Cross for throwing their hats into the ring as long-time Reform Party supporters. We take the concept of “home grown” credible Presidential candidates very seriously, and the knowledge that these two gentlemen are 100% supportive of the Reform Party’s platform and long term success weighs heavily in the delegates’ consideration.

    I’d also like to thank Dr. Kahn and Mr. De La Fuente. Both of these candidates, while coming from outside the Reform Party structure, are making huge efforts to obtain ballot access in multiple states. Dr. Kahn is working a grass-roots, volunteer effort, while Mr. De La Fuente is spending considerable funds in a petitioning effort. Clearly, the ability of a candidate to be on the ballot in multiple states also weighs heavily in the delegates’ consideration.

    Yes, the convention opted to defer a final decision on Presidential nominee for a bit over a week. The purpose of this was to provide the delegates time to evaluate the ballot access progress of some of the candidates. As you may be aware, two of the candidates (Richardson and de la Fuente) only formally announced they were seeking the nomination 2-3 weeks ago. Further, two of the candidates (de la Fuente and Kahn) claim they will be on several more ballots within a week or so.

    The delegates believed that, in order to accurately weigh the very real benefits of solid Reform Party supporters like Richardson and Cross in a limited number of states against the potential of an outside candidate such as de la Fuenta and Kahn who potentially would have more ballot lines, we needed a little more time to verify whether those ballot lines really would be forthcoming.

    We communicated this to the three candidates who were able to attend in person, and to Mr. Richardson who was unable to attend in person but who addressed the convention by teleconference due to an unforeseen emergency. All of the candidates understood our reasons, and were not offended nor slighted by our due diligence, and neither should their supporters be offended on their behalf.

    Also, the delay DOES NOT provide sufficient time to resolve the de la Fuente senate candidacy issue, and is not the intent.

    To summarize all of that, it is NOT by any means a given that the candidate on the most ballot lines will receive the nomination. The delegates are weighing the following factors:

    -Likelyhood of long-term dedication to the Reform Party’s success. Does the candidate have a history of supporting the Reform Party and will they be there for us over the next 4 years?
    -Platform alignment and compatibility. Is their current platform aligned with ours and to what degree?
    -Risk of candidate not running a strong campaign due to completing political interests / efforts. Does the candidate have political goals due to other election or political efforts that may not align with ours?
    -How many ballot lines the candidate can be on and what fashion those ballot lines take. Are they independent or party ballot lines? Can those party ballot lines be affiliated long-term?

    All of these factors are in play and frankly, no single candidate hits all of these. Hence the need for longer consideration.

    Regarding the RPNY ballot line, a more accurate explanation is that the RPNY affiliated with the RPUSA in 2010, but for various reasons internal to New York politics was unable to obtain a ballot line initially. In 2014, a single-issue group focused on Common Core was able to obtain a ballot line. Based on discussions between the two groups, the Reform Party of New York affiliated with the RPUSA was given the right to place down-ballot candidates on that ballot line, the Common Core group was given the right to use the Reform Party label, but retained the right to determine the Presidential candidate for this election cycle on that ballot line.

    The Reform Party of New York can, and does intend to, work with whoever the RPUSA nominee is to petition that candidate onto the ballot in New York.

    As long-time Reform Party member (since post-Buchanan 2001) and two-term National Chairman (2009-2016), I support the Reform Party of New York and RPNY State Chairman Bill Merrell’s efforts in New York 100%. He has gained signficant benefit for the Reform Party in New York, nationally, and has already been able to have a positive impact for Reform Party stances in New York politics.

  33. David,

    Does that mean that starting in 2020 the NY Reform Party will place the Reform Party nominee on the ballot?

  34. BTW, Tom and Darcy, is the fact that both of you reside in FL a problem with both of you being on the FL ballot?

  35. Michigan Voter, it is my understanding that by 2020, yes, the Reform Party of New York will be obligated to place the Reform Party National Convention nominee on that state ballot line.

    Dan, thank you for the info.

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