Richard Winger reports that the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) collected over 35,000 signatures to put Wendell Fant on the North Carolina ballot as an Independent
The independent candidate petition to place Wendell Fant on the November 2010 ballot in North Carolina’s U.S. House district 8 does have enough valid signatures. The law required 16,929 valid signatures. The campaign handed in 35,450 raw signatures, and 21,084 were valid. The validity rate was 59.5%.
This success sets a new nationwide record for the most difficult petition requirement that has ever been met, for the purpose of placing a candidate on the ballot for U.S. House. The previous record was set in Ohio in 1954, when independent incumbent Frazier Reams overcame a signature requirement of 12,919 valid signatures. There was also one instance in Illinois which was higher than 12,919, but in that Illinois instance, the petition was never checked because it was not challenged.
However, it appears Fant has no intention of running. Apparently he was never asked and never even hinted that he would be willing to run for U.S. House as an Independent.
Concord Democrat Wendell Fant announced today that he won’t run as a 3rd party challenger to Democratic U.S. Rep. Larry Kissell.
Fant said he decided to “put my family ahead of my own political ambitions.”
A group called N.C. Families First successfully petitioned election boards throughout the 8th District in support of Fant’s candidacy. Backed by the State Employees Association of North Carolina and the Service Employees International Union, the group opposes Kissell because of his votes against some major Democratic legislation, particularly health care.
Fant’s decision means the group will not appear on 8th District ballots this fall.
“I am honored that so many voters in the 8th District wanted me to be an advocate for working families,” he said in a statement.
“The message they sent to our member of Congress is clear: Never forget working families as you make decisions in Washington that affect their lives here, in Concord, and Fayetteville and throughout the district.”
This effort was organized out of opposition to Rep. Kissell, who voted against the healthcare bill. The SEIU organized an effort to qualify a left-leaning third party for the ballot called North Carolina First Party, but failed to qualify for the ballot.