Christina Tobin to lead 2016 ballot access for Independent presidential candidate, rumored to be Jim Webb

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On Christina Tobin’s Facebook page:

Did you know it takes almost one million signatures from registered voters to get on the ballot as Independent for POTUS in the United States? I worked as the 2008 National Ballot Access Coordinator for Indendent Presidential Candidate Ralph Nader successfully getting him on the ballot in 45 states plus D.C. (TY Nader Raiders). I have been asked to coordinate a 2016 Independent Presidential Ballot Drive. I truly take a non-partisan stance and believe that we need “More Voices, More Choices” on the ballot!‪#‎Independent‬ ‪#‎BallotAccess‬ ‪#‎ElectoralReform‬ ‪#‎OpenElections‬ ‪#‎Petitioning‬‪#‎MoreVoicesMoreChoices‬

In addition to her work on the 2008 and 2004 Independent campaigns of Ralph Nader, Tobin is the founder of Free & Equal Elections Foundation and in 2010 was the Libertarian candidate for California Secretary of State. In the comments on her post, she confirms that she has accepted the offer.

Tobin has not confirmed the identity of the candidate, but it is rumored to be Jim Webb, former Virginia Senator and Secretary of the Navy, who dropped out of the Democratic primary earlier this year to announce that he was exploring an independent run.

38 thoughts on “Christina Tobin to lead 2016 ballot access for Independent presidential candidate, rumored to be Jim Webb

  1. Joshua

    WOW! Huge news if it is in fact Webb! Shows he knows who to hire and is a sign that this would be a legitimate Independent Presidential campaign.

  2. Michael H. Wilson

    Given Webb’s opinion on the foreign policy issues it would be refreshing to see him on the ballot.

  3. Matt Cholko

    If he makes it onto the ballot in a good number of states, this is probably bad news for the small parties (in those states where the ballot access retention threshold is within reach). On the other hand, more choice is good news. Hopefully, we’ll see 5-6 candidates on all 50 state ballots, and on a few debate stages together. Of course, we won’t.

  4. Joshua

    There is also, I’ve seen, efforts to get him drafted by the Reform Party and Modern Whigs. If they lent him their ballot lines and support that’d be helpful for his campaign. (Even though they don’t have ballot access in many states. Something is always better than nothing.)

  5. Richard Winger

    The Modern Whig is not ballot-qualified in any state. Reform is in Florida, Louisiana, and Mississippi, although the state chair of the Mississippi Reform Party, Shawn O’Hara, has not cooperated with the national Reform Party in recent years.

  6. paulie

    Florida and Louisiana are trivially easy. Mississippi is as well. Webb wouldn’t gain much of anything from getting those endorsements – almost certainly less than a thousand votes nationally. Not that he shouldn’t, but it wouldn’t make much difference either way.

  7. paulie

    Modern Whig is nothing but a name. Why would he care? I mean, sure, get their endorsement… but whether he does or not what difference does it make? Even less than Reform, and that makes very little difference.

  8. Richard Winger

    In Florida, an independent presidential candidate needs 119,316 valid signatures, but a new party needs no signatures. In Maryland an independent presidential candidate needs approximately 38,000 signatures, but a party needs 10,000. In New Mexico an independent presidential candidate needs 15,388 signatures but a new party needs 2,565. In Texas an independent presidential candidate needs 79,939 signatures but a new party needs 47,086. For Webb or anyone to run purely as an independent candidate is not sensible. Neither Ralph Nader, nor John Anderson, nor Ross Perot in 1992, ran “pure independent.”

  9. Richard Winger

    Furthermore, presidential candidates who run “pure independent” can’t get primary season matching funds, but people who say they are seeking the nomination of a party may qualify for primary season matching funds.

  10. Robert Capozzi

    I’d like to know why Webb would want to run. What is his purpose? His op-ed in the Post seems to indicate that he mostly feels the Rs and Ds are defunct in their own ways, and that sounds about right.

    Still, what is he for, and would he be running to win, or to makes some sort of point? If so, what is it?

  11. paulie

    He can invent a party label in those states where it provides a ballot access advantage. Whether it is an existing one or a new one will make little practical difference. “Independent” polls better, and is actually easier for ballot access in many states, so he will probably do a combination of the two depending on what is easier in which states. As would be the smart thing to do, unless he is really interested in building up a new party long term, and I doubt that he is.

  12. Mark Axinn

    If I were Webb, I would want to use the Reform Party name if possible.

    It now has ballot status in New York (a large state with difficult ballot access laws) because the Stop Common Core Party changed its name after achieving ballot status in the 2014 election.

    Even though Webb is not Perot and his positions and many Reform Party ones may differ (An aside: Does the RP actually have positions?), most voters (i.e., the great mass of sheep out there, not IPR readers) vaguely remember that the Reform Party was something to do with a third party and maybe it ran someone for President before.

  13. Richard Winger

    Mark, I have been presuming that the state officers of the New York Reform Party are utterly loyal to the Republican Party. Therefore I assume they would never nominate anyone for president other than the Republican nominee.

  14. Trent Hill

    For money and prestige, they could certainly be movable.

    If Trump wins the Republican nomination (Which I still consider incredibly unlikely) and faces Clinton, a LOT of Republicans will be looking hard at Jim Webb.

  15. Jed Ziggler

    I wouldn’t be so sure of that. They affiliated with the national party, I don’t know why they would bother doing so if they don’t intend to field national’s candidate. Also you keep saying that the officers are loyal Republicans, but I was told the state chairman was a longtime Reform Party activist. My guess is that the New York Reformers will endorse a ton of Republicans, but run the Reform presidential candidate.

  16. Mark Axinn

    Well it looks like NY Reform Party controlled by Bill Merrill of Suffolk County (Long Island) which is a very Republican area.

    SCC was a Republican front (just as Women’s Equality Party was for Cuomo Democrats), so Richard is probably right. But as I don’t know anything about Merrill, perhaps he will surprise us and show an independent streak, especially if there is a real Reform party candidate.

    Stranger things have happened!

  17. paulie

    I’d like to know why Webb would want to run. What is his purpose? His op-ed in the Post seems to indicate that he mostly feels the Rs and Ds are defunct in their own ways, and that sounds about right.

    Still, what is he for, and would he be running to win, or to makes some sort of point? If so, what is it?

    Winning is not out of the question; if, for example, Trump and Clinton are the nominees, he could hope that the anti-Trump Republicans and/or AE funders may line up behind him. To some extent this could still happen if the Republicans nominate, say, Cruz. Or, what if Clinton gets indicted or commits some huge gaffe and the Democrats nominate Sanders? Personally I don’t think they would nominate Sanders even then, but that could be one plausible pathway to winning for Webb.

    Short of winning, his secondary goals could be advancing his positions in the national debate, raising his name recognition for future book deals and speaking fees and business deals of all sorts, and so on.

    I don’t think his goals will involve creating a new long standing political party, but I could be wrong.

  18. Anthony Tolda

    It doesn’t matter who the candidate is, our people deserve more choices!
    Christina Tobin has the experience & heart to pull this off & I know she will do an excellent job!

  19. trying again

    Whether or not “anti-Trump Republicans” or “AE funders” line up behind Webb will depend on his rhetoric about Russia. Webb has been a pretty steady antiwar candidate. If he starts talking a lot of shit about Putin and Russia and Assad and Syria the bloodthirsty neocon warmongers (i.e. the “anti-Trump Republicans”) might back him.

    If Webb sticks with a pro-peace position on these issues along the lines of Trump, they will instead be agitating for AE2.0 to draft a Jeb! or Bloomberg or McCain or Lieberman.

  20. paulie

    bloodthirsty neocon warmongers (i.e. the “anti-Trump Republicans”)

    There’s lots of anti-Trump Republicans, not all of whom are warmongers.

  21. Joshua

    Was announced on Jim Webb’s Twitter feed that the former Financial Director for the Draft Biden campaign is fundraiser from Jim Webb’s potential independent campaign.

  22. Joshua

    From Jim Webb’s Facebook page:

    Webb2016 has retained former Draft Biden National Finance Director Sam Jones to lead fundraising operations for Jim Webb’s potential independent presidential candidacy.

    While no firm decision has been made about a run, Webb and staff have conducted a thorough study of the process for gaining access to ballots in an environment where the Democratic and Republican monopoly of the complicated state-by-state rules are designed to deny voters an independent choice.

    “After weeks of study, including consultations with ballot experts and independent activists around the country, we have a handle on what it takes to give voters in every state a real choice,” Webb spokesperson Craig Crawford said. “We are so pleased that Sam Jones is coming on board to help us examine what is now the decisive issue: How to pay for it.”

    Jones, who lives in Dallas, TX, crafted a nationwide network of donors last year that was poised to significantly boost a Biden presidential campaign, but the Vice President chose not to run. Prior to that effort Jones has worked on the fundraising side for a variety of national, state and local campaigns.

    “Americans deserve a new type of bold and honest leader, one who stands miles apart from the bitter theatrics we see before us today,” Jones said. “There is one proven leader who can rise above this mess. One who can make voters from all walks of life proud, regardless of their political affiliations. And that leader is Jim Webb. I’m honored to be a part of his team and this movement to restore sanity to the national discourse.”

    The Webb Campaign has also partnered with Aristotle, a non-partisan, pioneering and leading international political technology enterprise run by John Aristotle Phillips and his brother, Dean Aristotle Phillips.

    Jim Webb left the Democratic nomination race late last year to pursue the possibility of an independent run, writing in a Washington Post Op-Ed: (http://wapo.st/1NI3zTQ)

    “Equal-opportunity disgust is at play here. … Far more Americans consider themselves to be political independents than Democrats or Republicans. … There can be no better answer to these developments than electing as president a tested, common-sense independent who can bring to Washington a bipartisan administration to break the gridlock paralyzing our political debates and restore the faith of our people in their leaders.”

  23. Joshua

    @Christina, if he in fact has coordinating ballot access for his campaign then it appears that Senator Webb is putting together quite the campaign team. Would be, in my mind, the most serious Independent Presidential campaign since Ralph Nader’s last run. Would love to see a debate featuring Webb, Johnson, and Stein. Could be the election year alternative voices finally break through.

  24. Joshua

    From Christina Tobin’s Facebook:

    “In 2008 I served as the National Ballot Access Coordinator for Independent Presidential Candidate Ralph Nader securing him on more state ballots than any other independent candidate including the Libertarian Candidate who had a larger budget and full-time staff. We all understand the problems caused by our current two-party system. No change will happen unless people have the right to vote for whom they choose rather than the “lesser-of-two-evils” that are chosen by the two major parties. I’m extremely committed to protecting ballot access for all independent candidates. I’ve submitted a requested proposal to Independent Presidential Candidate Jim Webb Campaign to coordinate his ballot access drive which requires upwards of 1.7 million gross signatures from registered voters in order to get on the ballot in 50 States plus D.C. Wish me luck!”

  25. Trent Hill

    I’d rather see a major debate that included Webb. Both major party nominees are unlikely to agree to that. I’d guess the Republicans will think that Webb will hurt them (and I’d guess polling will bear that out)

  26. Joshua

    You’re probably right there. But I’d like to see 3 alternative candidates running national campaigns. I’d love to seem them all debate one another and it get wider coverage than the debate in ’12, which was fantastic by the way, did.

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