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Washington Post: Jim Webb takes step toward independent presidential campaign

Washington Post:

Former senator Jim Webb of Virginia, who dropped out of the Democratic presidential primary in October, has hired a fundraiser to help him launch a possible independent bid for the presidency.

Sam Jones, who led fundraising efforts for a super PAC encouraging Vice President Biden to run for president, will help Webb decide whether he can afford a campaign.

“After weeks of study, including consultations with ballot experts and independent activists across the country, we have a handle on what it takes to give voters in every state a real choice,” Webb spokesman Craig Crawford said in a statement. Jones, he said, would help with the next step: “How to pay for it.”

Jones called Webb “a bold and honest leader . . . who stands miles apart from the bitter theatrics we see before us today.” […]

But running as an independent presents immense challenges, especially for a candidate ambivalent about the slog of the presidential campaign trail. Significant third-party campaigns in the past have been launched by wealthy self-financers such as Ross Perot, famous political figures such as Theodore Roosevelt or representatives of major constituencies such as George Wallace. When he left the Democratic race, Webb had just $317,000 left in his campaign fund. Former New Mexico governor Gary Johnson, who quit the 2012 Republican primary to run as a Libertarian, told The Post last fall that an independent could expect to burn through $8 million just to establish campaigns and ballot access in all 50 states.

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Andy Craig

2 Comments

  1. Andy Craig Andy Craig Post author | January 19, 2016

    The main reason Webb would run as an independent (if he does) is that he isn’t compatible with any of the major third-parties that have substantial ballot access. Libertarian, Green, and Constitution are probably all off the table. He might land Reform, but their ballot access is pretty skimpy. I forget exactly how many states they have, but not many, and not enough for 270+EVs. If they nominate him it will probably be in addition to an independent campaign, not instead of one, a la Nader.

  2. Shivany Lane Shivany Lane January 19, 2016

    I am interested in stories such as these.
    As some of you may know, and now you all will, I was the person who volunteered to get John McAfee onto all 50 ballots for the General election. When he decided to turn to the Libertarian party since they best matched his current values, I was out of a job.

    Regardless what some of you may have read or heard, I am very much still a part of his campaign.. Although I do not speak for the campaign. For that you will need to hit up the folks in Alabama.

    Anyway, my interest is this. I had plenty of lead time going in and had done an incredible amount of research, plus I had our country’s resident expert on Ballot Access, Richard Winger, to fill in the blanks. I was still feeling a little like Sisyphus. I was confident I could get some volunteers. I was also confident that I would be able to get John on at least a few ballots. Volunteers are hard to keep motivated and just because someone follows you on Twitter, it doesn’t mean that they would be willing to hankgout near a mall for 8 hours getting petitions signed.

    The Libertarians have actually been the most successful at Ballot Access and I know it has been no small feat and other third parties have benefited from their continued efforts to break through the 2 party system.

    So why would someone run as an Independent this late in the game, and even later if Trump doesn’t win the nomination and breaks his promise to not run as an independent. (which he has hinted already that he will). Even with Millions of dollars, is it really possible to get on enough ballots that you will make any kind of showing in the election?

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