Former Congressman Reportedly Interested in Constitution Party Presidential Nomination

Originally reported at American Third Party Report

According to the Twitter feed of Politics1.com, former Republican Congressman John Hostettler of Indiana is “very interested” in the Constitution Party’s 2016 presidential nomination.

Hostettler served in Congress from 1995 to 2007.  He is perhaps best remembered for his 2004 detainment at a Kentucky airport for carrying a firearm in his luggage.

After leaving Congress, Hostettler appeared at Constitution Party events and endorsed the candidacy of the party’s 2008 presidential nominee Chuck Baldwin.

Earlier this year, former senior IPR editor Trent Hill, who has ties with the Constitution Party, revealed that the party was in talks with a “big name” for the 2016 nomination.  Hill denied the suggestion that Hostettler was the “big name,” which was implied to be former Congressman Steve Stockman, who later decided not to run.

Former Congressman Virgil Goode served as the party’s 2012 presidential nominee.  He appeared on the ballot in a total of 26 states, receiving 122,388 votes on Election Day, roughly 0.09%.

40 thoughts on “Former Congressman Reportedly Interested in Constitution Party Presidential Nomination

  1. NewFederalist

    I wonder why he would want to do this? Footnote in the history books? Since nominating former GOP US Representatives seems to do next to nothing for vote totals or party building, I wonder why the CP would want him? Wow! All questions.

  2. David

    Would around 20 state ballot access be worth the trouble for this candidate? I wouldn’t think the CP would gain that many more states from their current total.

  3. Cody Quirk

    I wonder if he knows about the CP’s baggage, especially with Riley Hood & Don Grundmann?

  4. Richard Winger

    There has never been a presidential election in which the Constitution Party was only on in 20 states. It has always been on more than that. 2012 was relatively bad, at 25 states. In 1996 it was 38.

  5. Bob Haran

    If Hostetler is conservative and a patriot, then the Constitution Party is the party for him. If he is for the American middle class and not for the Republican-Corporate-Establishment and puts Main Street before Wall Street, then the Constitution Party is the party for Hostetler.

  6. paulie

    I wonder why he would want to do this? Footnote in the history books?

    Probably imagines he will be a big deal if he runs, just like all those other crossover US Reps did. Then they discover just how much of ann uphill climb it actually is and leave, usually in a huff.

    But then, he may be more realistic, looking to increase audience for books and paid speaking gigs, marginally increase media interviews and mentions, maybe parlay it into a ttalk show gig or syndicated column, etc.

    Since nominating former GOP US Representatives seems to do next to nothing for vote totals or party building, I wonder why the CP would want him?

    Apparently some people never learn.

  7. paulie

    I wonder if he knows about the CP’s baggage, especially with Riley Hood & Don Grundmann?

    Every party has fringe elements. What makes you think he cares, or would care if he knew?

  8. paulie

    Would around 20 state ballot access be worth the trouble for this candidate?

    That depends on his objectives.

    I wouldn’t think the CP would gain that many more states from their current total.

    That depends on their fundraising and ballot access management.

  9. paulie

    There has never been a presidential election in which the Constitution Party was only on in 20 states. It has always been on more than that. 2012 was relatively bad, at 25 states. In 1996 it was 38.

    One could interpret that, as some people here have, as meaning that they are in a downward spiral. However, that is not necessarily completely true, and if it is, he may or may not be able to turn it around.

  10. Cody Quirk

    Those people are not on the ‘fringes’ in the CP, Paulie; they are officers and leaders in the Constitution Party- in fact Grundmann is still listed as the Chairman of the California CP on the SoS’s website.
    Plus such views and beliefs are quite tolerated in the CP; look at the celebrity treatment that Peroutka still gets with that party, for one.

  11. Cody Quirk

    IMO, yes they’ll likely end up being on more then 20 states indeed, but unless they run a candidate with money that knows how to organize petitioners and understands state ballot access laws very well, I highly doubt they would be on in more states then they were with Goode.

  12. Trent Hill

    This was not the candidate who was rumored earlier–at the time Hostettler was not considering a run, so far as I know.

    Hostettler will be a great candidate. Non-interventionist, sincere, and conservative. If they’re smart, they’ll try to find another lesser-name to go with him rather than just pairing him with a party name (ala Gary Johnson/Jim Gray).

  13. paulie

    unless they run a candidate with money that knows how to organize petitioners and understands state ballot access laws very well, I highly doubt they would be on in more states then they were with Goode.

    That won’t and shouldn’t fall entirely on the candidate. If Goode just wrote checks and didn’t insist on micromanaging what he does not understand he would have been on in more states and would not have created ill will that he did not need to.

  14. Trent Hill

    Cody–don’t you have better things to do? Every CP article that pops up, you’re here to try to emphasize how awful they are. Start an alternative, work from inside to make it better, or stop being so annoying about it.

    Hostettler is not wealthy, nor has he ever been a prolific fundraiser. I do suspect he will campaign for the benefit of more than just his own name, though.

  15. paulie

    Every CP article that pops up, you’re here to try to emphasize how awful they are.

    It does get old. And I am not a CP fan at all but really, just how much can you beat a dead horse over a grudge that seems to never end?

    Hostettler is not wealthy, nor has he ever been a prolific fundraiser.

    That doesn’t sound too good. Goode was at least wealthy, although penny wise and pound foolish.

    I do suspect he will campaign for the benefit of more than just his own name, though.

    If he does, in that respect he will be an improvement over Goode.

  16. Trent Hill

    Hostettler is likely as wealthy as Goode–if I had to guess. But, candidates of that low-level of wealth do not often spend personal money on a campaign. Hopefully Hostettler is better (considerably) at raising money. If someone like Bush, Trump (highly unlikely), or Kasich wins, then the CP could experience a boon in interest.

  17. paulie

    Those people are not on the ‘fringes’ in the CP, Paulie; they are officers and leaders in the Constitution Party

    From what I have seen Hood is pretty extreme even for the CP. State officer in a state party that barely exists, when there are othr states with no state party at all? Meh.

  18. paulie

    Grundmann is still listed as the Chairman of the California CP on the SoS’s website.

    I think I addressed this before. He took out separate paperwork to qualify the state party for the ballot, as did someone else. Neither effort has gone very far, but it led to this website listing. That doesn’t really amont to a hill of beans and not even Grundmann is going around claiming to still be the state chair, at least from what I have seen.

    Plus such views and beliefs are quite tolerated in the CP; look at the celebrity treatment that Peroutka still gets with that party, for one.

    He’s a past presidential candidate for them. I think that is most likely as deep as most of them think about that when inviting him to speak.

    Some CPers are more strident than others. Some are more tolerant to fellow party members with whom they disagree somewhat than others. How is that different from any other party?

  19. paulie

    Hostettler is likely as wealthy as Goode–if I had to guess. But, candidates of that low-level of wealth do not often spend personal money on a campaign.

    If he is a millionaire several times over like Goode, it wouldn’t take too much out of his hide to help them afford a few states worth of ballot access they would not otherwise have, but that’s his decision to make. I wouldn’t fault him if he concludes like a lot of candidates do that their time is contribution enough.

    If someone like Bush, Trump (highly unlikely), or Kasich wins, then the CP could experience a boon in interest.

    Trump’s biggest issue is immigration demagoguery with trade bellicosity not far behind. Same with the CP. He claims that he is now pro life. He made a point of pointing out that he came out against the Iraq war early on. On a lot of the issues where he used to be more liberal he now says he is conservative. It seems to me that if he is the NSGOP nominee, or a Perot-level independent, that will not be good news for the CP, unless of course they nominate him themselves, and that seems unlikely.

  20. Cody Quirk

    “Cody–don’t you have better things to do? Every CP article that pops up, you’re here to try to emphasize how awful they are. Start an alternative, work from inside to make it better, or stop being so annoying about it.”

    You remember I tried that FOR YEARS; in fact you used to be involved with me on it too during the Tampa debacle in 2006. In fact I actually tried to help build up the CP to where it would have no minor-party competition on the Right, and of course I got thrown under the bus for it.

    “It does get old. And I am not a CP fan at all but really, just how much can you beat a dead horse over a grudge that seems to never end?”

    The same reason why the Germans continued their bombing of Britain with zeppelins until the end of WW1; even if they lost their effectiveness early on in the war, they still were significant in causing enough of a problem for the Brits to have some benefit for the Central Powers.

    However I actually have moved on and am quite focused on a few non-political projects on my end. Yet anytime a chance pops up to expose or give the CP’s image a hard time online, I will still take it- especially since it makes the Libertarian Party look more reasonable and competent to both disgruntled Republicans ready to go third party, and practical-minded constitutionalist voters.

  21. Trent Hill

    Get a new hobby, man.

    Paulie–Trump won’t be acceptable to most CP-type voters. He’s an idiot, a former democrat, is a fan of universal healthcare, used to be pro-choice, isnt religious, etc. Not gunna be enough.

  22. paulie

    He’s an idiot,

    I don’t think he’s an idiot. He graduated from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, which is by no means an easy program, especially a half-century ago when he was there. He certainly increased the wealth he inherited considerably and managed to bounce back from several bankruptcies and business setbacks. He has been successful in a variety of different fields and keeps finding good looking younger women who want to marry him. Sounds like a smart guy to me, albeit he absolutely is an intentionally ignorant blowhard who loves the sound of his own voice spouting ugly nonsense, with a fragile and exagerated ego and tons of anger and bellicosity. But an idiot? No.

    a former democrat, is a fan of universal healthcare, used to be pro-choice,

    Former and used to be being key words there, and he claims he is not for universal/government health insurance any longer, although his answer was somewhat rambling and ambiguous. Are you saying the CP would never forgive him for his past views even if he has changed them? Not that I would expect him to seek their nomination, but say for the sake of discussion he did.

    isnt religious,

    You’re right, that would probably be a deal breaker for him. I assume he would have to claim to have found Jesus and be born again if he actually wanted their nomination for real.

  23. paulie

    anytime a chance pops up to expose or give the CP’s image a hard time online, I will still take it- especially since it makes the Libertarian Party look more reasonable and competent to both disgruntled Republicans ready to go third party, and practical-minded constitutionalist voters.

    Problem is the LP is already too skewed in that direction. Disgruntled Republicans usually end up goin back home after a spell because they are more afraid of letting the Democrats win than they are mad at Republicans (especially once their fit subsides), because they get a reality slap when they run into the grim truth about how hard and frustrating it is to organize an alt party from the ground up, and because there still remain some actual libertarians in the LP despite their best efforts. It’s either that, or keep on moving past the LP into anti-voting anarchists soon after evolving into actual libertarians, or remain sort of in the LP but lose interest in doing anything active with it. Most of them end up back in the NSGOP sooner or later, and in most cases sooner. A few keep bouncing back and forth.

    Meanwhile, their disproportionate presence tends to make it harder to recruit much more readily available and persuadable left-center-libertarians, especially socially liberal and antiwar 18-30 year olds who know and care relatively less about economics than other issues and are open to being persuaded and educated on economic issues as long as our language shows us to be compassionate and motivated by justice. These people are a lot less likely to have a firmly set pattern of voting for one establishment party or the other (or not voting at all, which is just as hard a pattern to break people out of), are more open to change in general, and make up the largest chunk of their age group ideologically. An LP that is skewed disproportionately towards generally older conservative-leaning people, disproportionately male “white” Anglos who are in most cases financially comfortable is not a place that seems like a welcome home to them, and the language such a party and its people use will not attract them. There are way more of them than there are (mostly older) disgruntled Republicans, they have more years ahead of them on average, they have less of a set pattern that they need to be broken out of, they are less temperamentally conservative (as in immune to change)… but we keep not being able to bring in nearly as many of them as we should because we keeping coming off like a bunch of angry old white disgruntled Republican guys. It’s just not a good look, and the last thing we need is to exacerbate the problem, especially just to bring in a bunch of disgruntled Republicans most of whom will end up going back anyway. Honestly, I’d rather those folks went to the CP than the LP, if anything. We’ll bring in more and better recruits without them being in the way.

  24. Andy Craig

    Packing the CP convention would probably be cheaper than petitioning a couple dozen states.

    If it were up to the current CP membership? Being irreligious and formerly pro-choice, etc., they’d throw a fit over it. But could they actually stop Trump from winning their nomination if he sought it, and brought with him enough to supporters (most of whom think of themselves as conservatives), to drown out the current CP membership hundred-fold? That isn’t so clear. I don’t think Trump would try it, given his experience with Reform. But I wouldn’t be so certain that he couldn’t. It would also knock out a potential competitor (albeit not much of one) for right-wing populist votes.

  25. paulie

    That would be harder than it sounds. He’d have to start by packing the state conventions, and they may have rules requiring people to have been members for variou lengths of time before being allowed to be delegates if the rule is not waived, and in the even of an organized takeover attempt that party stalwarts are not on board with, wouldn’t be waived. Then they have proxy vting at the national convention, so een though relatively few people might make the trip to SLC, the few that do can wield a bunch of proxy votes on behalf of their states and say their state delegations are full (of delegates who aren’t even there but sent their proxy votes in). Takeover shills paid by Trump would be denied seats and/or outvoted by proxy votes and would go home empty handed. The Donald would be unhappy, and would tell them they’re fired.

  26. Andy Craig

    All true, but at the end of the day the CP isn’t that big. 76,425 nominal members, which means *maybe* 15,000 active, being very generous. Those active and dedicated enough to the extant CP ideology to resist a Trump candidacy? Plausibly fewer than a couple thousand- officers and past candidates mostly. But when their phone is ringing off the hook with Trumpies demanding the CP ballot line? When three dozen Trump supporters show up at their local affiliate meeting that is usually lucky to have three people? A few hundred at state conventions that rarely get more than two dozen?

    We’re talking a few thousand, or maybe even a few hundred, scattered and disorganized and divided state and national leaders (some of whom would actually support Trump), against, being conservative, the 2 or 3 million followers Trump would bring with him, and at least a good quarter-million active volunteers.

    I think whatever procedural safeguards that are in place, would just be overwhelmed. Also given that I think a not-insubstantial minority of current CP-ers would probably be willing to accept Trump, which would be the main difference between them and us in that scenario (along with Ls being more numerous). These are mostly people whose primary populist/anti-establishment right-wing news sources will having been singing Trump’s praises for over a year, and who overlap heavily with the “anti-PC” anti-immigrant, etc. narrative that’s fueling Trump’s support.

    Anyway, I agree it’s not a sure thing, and that the possibility of failure (again) at seeking a third-party nomination will keep Trump from trying it. But I just don’t think it would be impossible if he did attempt it, and I’d be willing to say more likely than not he would end up with, if not the national CP nomination, then at least a good chunk of their state party ballot lines.

  27. Andy Craig

    Yes, though I think it’s less likely as a larger and better-established party which is a lot less compatible ideologically. I think the LP could fight him off, but it would be an actual fight. Just look how close Trump’s mini-me was able to get. There are already some Ls out there who see the upside in Trump, and honestly they can make a halfway-plausible case. Capitalist, not really socially conservative, has endorsed drug legalization in the past and could again, at least nominally hostile to regulation, etc. Not that I buy it at all- I don’t care how good somebody’s tax plan is, if I don’t trust them to not nuke somebody I’m not voting to put them in the White House.

    I also think Trump would reject being associated with the Libertarian label- since we’re all a bunch of rapist-importing drug dealers who want to ship jobs to China. In a way, something generic and conservative-sounding like “Constitution” (also “Independent American” etc.) wouldn’t be as much of a problem.

  28. Cody Quirk

    From what I have seen Hood is pretty extreme even for the CP. State officer in a state party that barely exists, when there are othr states with no state party at all? Meh.

    = No, the only difference is that Riley and Don don’t hide their views and don’t keep their mouths shut; believe me from someone that has been in the CP for years; MANY leaders and members of the CP believe the same way they do, only they know better then to shoot their mouths off, and try to sugarcoat or water it down in public, yet they are just as extreme as those two individuals.
    Regardless of how insignificant they are now, for them to be made even more insignificant would benefit not just the LP, but liberty and REAL constitutionalism (which includes anti-sectarianism, Article 6 cl. 3, the First & Fourteenth Amendments) in the long run too.

    He’s a past presidential candidate for them. I think that is most likely as deep as most of them think about that when inviting him to speak.

    = Yet nevermind the mess he, John Lofton, Scott Whiteman, and others made back in the mid’ 2000’s and the Tampa meeting, especially in how he also helped split the CP then over the abortion issue that they tried to use to kick out non-Calvinists from the CP. Though that’s old history for me. And yet it’s even more ironic, and more telling that the CP is reaching out to him again, which further shows that the dogmatic, religious extremism in the CP never went away at all.

    Some CPers are more strident than others. Some are more tolerant to fellow party members with whom they disagree somewhat than others. How is that different from any other party?

    = Their ideology, for one. To claim to be a “constitutionalist” and also support religious tests and/or the unconstitutional influence of one religious faith in government over others, along with turning religious law into secular law is a disturbing oxymoron that, if it ever gained enough power and influence in this country to institute it’s agenda into our government- would be as dangerous and vile as instituting outright tyrannical communism into American government.

    Granted, that is very unlikely with the way western society is going these days. And yet to confess here, since I left the CP and “constitutionalism” in general, I feel extreme guilt and remorse for not seeing the error of my former ways sooner and having wasted too much of my time with a pathetic form of politics that I didn’t realize until after the situation with the CCTUC went south -was anti-American and also anti-Liberty.
    Therefore I feel I ought to made up for such a mistake when given the opportunity and expose that dark interior of what is despicably called “constitutionalism” to the public when the occasional moment will arise.

  29. Sean Scallon

    “I wonder if he knows about the CP’s baggage, especially with Riley Hood & Don Grundmann?”

    Well, either he can win the party’s nomination and focus it towards his brand of politics or he fails and the CP will be run by the same people and continue to shrink into sectarianism. Virgil Goode couldn’t stop this, we’ll see if Hostettler can fare better

  30. Trent Hill

    I’d guess Hostettler will be a considerably better candidate than Goode was, if only because he will be more active.

  31. Trent Hill

    Touche. To be fair, though–had Goode had the same ballot access that Baldwin did, he would’ve outperformed him.

  32. Trent Hill

    I’ve heard from several State Party chairs who, without exception, said they are excited about the possibility, but want to be sure that he will help THE PARTY. Seems like they feel burned by Goode. Hostettler will have to prove to them he isnt the same.

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