In Four States, It Has Been Over Fifty Years Since Both Major Parties Ran a Full Slate of U.S. House Candidates

Ballot access laws for U.S. House are harsher than they are for any other office. This is ironic, considering that the founding fathers expected the U.S. House to be the most democratic branch of the federal government.

In four states, it has been over fifty years since both the Republican and Democratic Parties ran a candidate in each district in that state. The four states, with the last year in which both major parties had a candidate in each district, are: Florida 1926; Louisiana 1902; Massachusetts 1950; and Texas 1964.

As to third parties, Massachusetts has the worst record. No party, other than the Republican and Democratic Parties, has run a full slate since 1890, when the Prohibition Party did so. Also, in Georgia and Texas, no third party has run a full slate since 1894, when the Peoples Party did so. In modern times the Texas Libertarian Party would have run a full slate, except that it always chose never to run against Ron Paul, so it has never run a full slate.


In Four States, It Has Been Over Fifty Years Since Both Major Parties Ran a Full Slate of U.S. House Candidates — 15 Comments

  1. I think that there may have been one election where a Libertarian Party candidate did run against Ron Paul for US House when Ron Paul was running for reelection.

  2. Well, I looked through the Texas Secretary of State’s election history (side note, Vermont has an amazing site when it comes to that), and he had no Libertarian opponent 1996 and up in his elections. It has nothing before 1992 though, and it’s possible he had a Libertarian opponent in one of his 70’s or 80’s elections, but none that I could find at a cursory glance.

  3. I thought that there was one election where a Libertarian Party candidate did run against Ron Paul for US House when Ron Paul was running for reelection. I know that this was at least discussed, but I do not know if this LP candidate actually ended up appearing on the ballot.

  4. Unequal ballot access laws + minority rule gerrymanders

    = the oligarchy ROT on the USA — since day 1 in 1776.

    PR and AppV.

  5. Thank you, Jim. You’re right. I have fixed the date for Texas. I am grateful to you for catching that.

  6. In 1996, both Democrats and Republicans nominated a candidate in every district in Texas. The SCOTUS overturned the Democrat gerrymander in ‘Bush v Vera’, and the election for several districts was held as a special election. Special elections are Open Primaries (see Dubin) in which all candidates run independently of their party.

    The Democratic nominee in TX-6, Janet Carroll Richardson, apparently failed to put her party on her application for the special election, and therefore is listed as an “Independent” in official sources.

    Contemporary sources (CNN) indicated that she was a Democrat (and had won the Democratic Primary nomination).

    “Though a clerical error made her an Independent, Richardson is really a Democrat.”

  7. Andy and James Mahoney IV: I looked at the election results page at the Clerk of the House website and downloaded the PDFs for 1976-1982. Ron Paul lost to the Democrat in 1974 and later won a special election in 1976 (for the unexpired term). He lost the general election (for the term that began in 1977). Paul won again in 1978 and left Congress in 1985. The Clerk of the House records don’t show any Libertarians for these elections; the Our Campaigns website doesn’t show any Libertarians for the 1976 special election. A Vaudie V. Nance ran against Paul as an independent in 1980. I’ve found an obituary (he died in 1989). It didn’t mention his political views. Nance got 1,360 votes (less than 1%) in the race; Paul was unopposed in his last race in 1982. The Clerk of the House records 943 write-ins in 1982; that figure isn’t broken down by party label or name.

  8. Why do you say that ballot access laws for US House are harsher than for any other office?

    In 2016, Louisiana had 38 candidates for 6 congressional seats on the November ballot (6.3 per seat). Which state was second best?

  9. James Mahoney – Several states use the same format as Vermont for the historical election results, including New Hampshire, Massachusetts, and Virginia. It is a better format than many states use but, for New Hampshire in particular, there are an unacceptably high number of errors for some years.

  10. Jim, as for errors in that type of layout, I did notice after a cursory glance that the Vermont historical elections layout does include a difference between Bernard Sanders and Bernie Sanders in a rather arbitrary way. I’m sure it was related to how his name was on the ballot, but it’s still an obvious flaw that I can imagine many such layouts to have included.

  11. James Mahoney – New Hampshire is a lot worse than that for some years. It has incorrect vote totals and wrong party labels.

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