John R. Rarick Dies

Posted in Ballot Access News:

On September 14, former Congressman John R. Rarick died in St. Francisville, Louisiana, at the age of 85. He had been the American Independent Party’s presidential candidate in 1980. He had served in Congress as a Democrat from Louisiana between 1967 and 1975. He endorsed George Wallace for President in 1968, and the Democrats in Congress, in retaliation, removed his seniority.

The American Independent Party had nominated Rarick for president on August 30, 1980, in Sacramento, California. Because Rarick was nominated so late in 1980, he only appeared on the ballot in the states in which the American Independent Party already enjoyed status as a qualified party; except that he also qualified in his own state of Louisiana, which only required paying a filing fee of $500 by early September. He was credited with 41,268 votes nationwide and was on the ballot in 8 states. Thanks to Peter Gemma for this news.

19 thoughts on “John R. Rarick Dies

  1. John C

    How many prominent Libertarians are going to be eulogizing this guy and his principled support of States Rights and George Wallace?

  2. Trent Hill

    There is an interesting discussion of this fella going on at Ballot Access News. Peter Gemma has some interesting facts to offer.

  3. Trent Hill

    It is odd to think of all the major names associated with the AIP over the years. Gov. Lester Maddox, Rep. John G. Schmitz, Rep. John Rarick, Rep. Bob Dornan, and many others.

  4. Jeremy Young

    The interesting thing is that even with all of these big names, none of them performed well at all at the polls. Cynthia McKinney did much better than most of them. Even Schmitz vastly underperformed what most people would have expected.

    If these guys were still around and ran as Constitution Party candidates, they would do much better.

  5. Trent Hill

    Cynthia McKinney scored only 180,000 votes, about 1/9th of what Schmitz scored.

    Let’s not forget that one of the party guys associated with the AIP was George Wallace himself–who scored 9 million + votes. Jim Gilchrist did better in his race for Congress in ’05 than any Green Party candidate has done in a three way race, I believe.

  6. Trent Hill


    Im actually somewhat surprised that the modern CP has not run a single former Congressman–many of them are interested in doing just that. I know 4 former congressmen, and a former senator, who would run if they were approached and given the backing of the party. Then there is Alan Keyes (who is obviously not very popular, but im just talking big-names here) and a number of higher profile businessmen.

  7. Jeremy Young

    I didn’t mean to compare McKinney with Schmitz, Wallace, or Gilchrist. Gilchrist essentially ran as a member of the Constitution Party.

    My point was that after Wallace built the AIP into a national party, it’s amazing that this long string of big names couldn’t sustain that. It would be as if Perot really had yielded to Dick Lamm in 1996, only to see Lamm fail to crack 5% in the general election. Numbers like Schmitz’s are impressive by today’s standards, but they also show a party in precipitous decline. The Constitution Party has done far better party-building work with nonentities like Peroutka and Baldwin than the AIP did with governors and congressmen.

  8. Jeremy Young

    I don’t think running a congressman for the Presidency is a good option for a third party. Historically it has yielded very poor results, as the campaigns of William Lemke, Benjamin Butler, Bob Barr, and Ron Paul (1988) can attest. A Senator is different, but assuming you’re talking about Bob Smith, he might suffer from the “old kook” syndrome that derailed Mike Gravel last cycle.

    A far better strategy for the CP would be to run someone who has not held particularly important political office, but who nevertheless possesses a national profile. The holy grail here is Roy Moore, but there are other attractive options.

  9. Gene Berkman

    In 1972, John Schmitz suffered from lack of money and division within the ranks of the parties that came out of the Wallace campaign.

    Schmitz did badly in the South – his highest vote in the South was 5% in Louisiana, where he had been endorsed by Congressman Rarick. He was not on the ballot in Georgia, Florida or Texas, all of which had active far right groups.

    At the same time, Schmitz was not a particularly good campaigner. I went to a Schmitz rally in Culver City, and barely stayed awake when Schmitz spoke. Tom Anderson was a better speaker, but even more obscure.

    The only area of strength for Schmitz was the far west and the Rocky Mountain states, where he got votes from Republicans disenchanted with Nixon. But fear of McGovern caused many conservatives to vote for Nixon, and fear of Nixon caused some libertarians to vote for McGovern.

  10. Trent Hill


    I dont know, but I hope so. I had an opportunity to meet Rarick and he was a very interesting man.

    I told Gemma, on the Ballot Access page, that I’d once had plans to write a book on far right third parties since WWII–but i’d since put off those plans.

  11. Richard Winger

    Schmitz would have had a far better vote if he hadn’t been off the ballot in 19 states, including big states like New York, Texas, Florida, and Illinois. Also he wasn’t on in certain states that would have given him a very big percentage, like Nevada and Wyoming and South Dakota.

  12. paulie Post author

    There is an interesting discussion of this fella going on at Ballot Access News.

    Yes, indeed.

    And, unlike most times when we repost BAN articles, they are getting way more comments over there, at least so far.

  13. Trent Hill

    I think that is largely becasue of the participation, over there, by Peter Gemma and Gary Odom–both old school guys who were THERE back in the day.

  14. Cody Quirk

    My point was that after Wallace built the AIP into a national party, it’s amazing that this long string of big names couldn’t sustain that.

    = Because those big names abandoned the Party afterwards. And the national AIP was brought down by a few bad apples from the JBS that wanted to ‘purify’ it from the populist atmosphere and instigated in-fighting.

    -Sorta like the theocratic kooks that joined the CP in the late 90’s and tried to do the same thing, even tried kicking Mormons and other non-protestants out of the CP, but they lost and left soon afterward.

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