Outgoing Reform Party chairman David Collison addresses the Reform Party’s postponement of its presidential nomination


David Collison

On July 30th, 2016, Richard Winger of Ballot Access News reported that the delegates at the Reform Party’s national convention in Bohemia, New York voted to postpone the selection of the party’s presidential nominee to August 8th. When asked for comment, outgoing Reform Party chairman David Collison responded with the following statement:

David Collison here, outgoing Chairman of the Reform Party National Committee.  I have the privilege of chairing the nominating convention, which is still nominally ongoing until such time as the nominee is chosen.  As such, I think I can clarify some of the items in this article, and also answer some of the questions being posed as a first-hand participant in the process.

Mr. Winger’s article is correct on some points, but needs correction on a few others.

I’d first like to thank Mr. Richardson and Mr. Cross for throwing their hats into the ring as long-time Reform Party supporters.  We take the concept of “home grown” credible Presidential candidates very seriously, and the knowledge that these two gentlemen are 100% supportive of the Reform Party’s platform and long term success weighs heavily in the delegates’ consideration.

I’d also like to thank Dr. Kahn and Mr. De La Fuente.  Both of these candidates, while coming from outside the Reform Party structure, are making huge efforts to obtain ballot access in multiple states.  Dr. Kahn is working a grass-roots, volunteer effort, while Mr. De La Fuente is spending considerable funds in a petitioning effort.  Clearly, the ability of a candidate to be on the ballot in multiple states also weighs heavily in the delegates’ consideration.

Yes, the convention opted to defer a final decision on Presidential nominee for a bit over a week.  The purpose of this was to provide the delegates time to evaluate the ballot access progress of some of the candidates.  As you may be aware, two of the candidates (Richardson and de la Fuente) only formally announced they were seeking the nomination 2-3 weeks ago.   Further, two of the candidates (de la Fuente and Kahn) claim they will be on several more ballots within a week or so.

The delegates believed that, in order to accurately weigh the very real benefits of solid Reform Party supporters like Richardson and Cross in a limited number of states against the potential of an outside candidate such as de la Fuenta and Kahn who potentially would have more ballot lines, we needed a little more time to verify whether those ballot lines really would be forthcoming.

We communicated this to the three candidates who were able to attend in person, and to Mr. Richardson who was unable to attend in person but who addressed the convention by teleconference due to an unforeseen emergency.  All of the candidates understood our reasons, and were not offended nor slighted by our due diligence, and neither should their supporters be offended on their behalf.

Also, the delay DOES NOT provide sufficient time to resolve the de la Fuente senate candidacy issue, and is not the intent.

To summarize all of that, it is NOT by any means a given that the candidate on the most ballot lines will receive the nomination.  The delegates are weighing the following factors:

-Likelyhood of long-term dedication to the Reform Party’s success.  Does the candidate have a history of supporting the Reform Party and will they be there for us over the next 4 years?
-Platform alignment and compatibility.  Is their current platform aligned with ours and to what degree?
-Risk of candidate not running a strong campaign due to completing political interests / efforts.  Does the candidate have political goals due to other election or political efforts that may not align with ours?
-How many ballot lines the candidate can be on and what fashion those ballot lines take.  Are they independent or party ballot lines?  Can those party ballot lines be affiliated long-term?

All of these factors are in play and frankly, no single candidate hits all of these.  Hence the need for longer consideration.

Regarding the RPNY ballot line, a more accurate explanation is that the RPNY affiliated with the RPUSA in 2010, but for various reasons internal to New York politics was unable to obtain a ballot line initially.  In 2014, a single-issue group focused on Common Core was able to obtain a ballot line.  Based on discussions between the two groups, the Reform Party of New York affiliated with the RPUSA was given the right to place down-ballot candidates on that ballot line, the Common Core group was given the right to use the Reform Party label, but retained the right to determine the Presidential candidate for this election cycle on that ballot line.

The Reform Party of New York can, and does intend to, work with whoever the RPUSA nominee is to petition that candidate onto the ballot in New York.

As long-time Reform Party member (since post-Buchanan 2001) and two-term National Chairman (2009-2016), I support the Reform Party of New York and RPNY State Chairman Bill Merrell’s efforts in New York 100%.  He has gained signficant benefit for the Reform Party in New York, nationally, and has already been able to have a positive impact for Reform Party stances in New York politics.

(Via American Third Party Report)

27 thoughts on “Outgoing Reform Party chairman David Collison addresses the Reform Party’s postponement of its presidential nomination

  1. Thomas L. Knapp

    “Also, the delay DOES NOT provide sufficient time to resolve the de la Fuente senate candidacy issue, and is not the intent.”

    Bzzzzt. De Fuente could have withdrawn his Florida Senate candidacy on Monday morning as soon as the elections office in Tallahassee opened, which would have resolved the issue. Has he?

    At this point, I suspect it may be too late. The deadline for requesting absentee ballots has passed, and I happen to know that some such ballots have already been cast in the Libertarian primary — which means they’ve probably been cast in the Democratic primary too. Which means that Fuente has appeared on a Florida ballot for Senate, and will therefore not be allowed to appear on a Florida ballot for president absent litigation.

  2. Richard Winger

    Tom, I don’t agree. The Florida Democratic primary for US Senate is not the same event as the general election. Rocky won’t be on any ballot for two offices simultaneously.

    Many major party people have run for president and some other office simultaneously, such as Lyndon Johnson, Joseph Lieberman, and Lloyd Bentsen. Some states permit that and some don’t. But as far as I know, no state says it is impossible to run for one office in a primary and then run for president or vice-president in November.

  3. The Reform Party Should Tread Carefully

    The 2016 Florida Statutes
    99.012 Restrictions on individuals qualifying for public office.
    (2) No person may qualify as a candidate for more than one public office, whether federal, state, district, county, or municipal, if the terms or any part thereof run concurrently with each other.

  4. Richard Winger

    That section of the Florida law refers to individuals filing declarations of candidacy. But when a qualified party nominates a presidential candidate, the presidential candidate does not carry out that process. For example, when the Democratic and Republican Parties hold their national conventions, the officials of the convention notify each state of the identity of the presidential and vice-presidential nominee. And the state Democratic and Republican Parties notify the state of the presidential elector candidates. But the presidential candidate does nothing and signs nothing. If the Libertarian Party had been ballot-qualified in all 50 states at the beginning of 2016, then Gary Johnson would not have had to sign or do anything either.

  5. The Reform Party Should Tread Carefully

    Who said anything about a presidential candidate signing anything?

    If the Reform Party notifies the Florida Division of Elections of its presidential elector candidates accompanied by a certificate showing that Rocky De La Fuente is the party’s presidential nominee, then the San Diego businessman will effectively be “a candidate for more than one public office” — something that is apparently prohibited by Section 99.012 (2) of the Florida statutes.

    That’s why Sen. Marco Rubio was careful to say that he wouldn’t be seeking reelection to his U.S. Senate seat when declaring his candidacy for the GOP’s presidential nomination in the spring of 2015.

  6. Richard Winger

    “No person may qualify” does not pertain to the presidential general election because “qualify” is a transitive verb in the law. But presidential candidates don’t do anything to get on the November ballot, if they are nominees of a qualified party. The law doesn’t say “no person is eligible…”. It is worded to refer to actions taken by candidates.

  7. The Reform Party Should Tread Carefully

    “But presidential candidates don’t do anything to get on the November ballot, if they are nominees of a qualified party.”

    So, actively seeking the nomination of a qualified party wouldn’t be considered an action taken by a candidate, especially if that same candidate happens to be simultaneously running for the U.S. Senate in Florida while seeking said presidential nomination? Hmmm.

    This ought to be interesting.

  8. Richard Winger

    There is nothing simultaneous about it. Florida, and all states, lets qualified parties choose their presidential nominees as late as September 6. That is because the Democrats didn’t nominate President Obama in 2012 until September 6, so all states were careful to have their deadlines that late.

    Rocky will lose the US Senate primary on August 30. Afterwards the Reform Party, and all of Florida’s qualified parties that want to nominate someone for President, can make a choice and send in the paperwork, if they haven’t already.

    By analogy to Marco Rubio, he ran for the Republican presidential nomination this year and lost. Now that that is settled, he is seeking the Republican nomination for US Senate.

  9. The Reform Party Should Tread Carefully

    “There is nothing simultaneous about it.”

    Well, legally there is something simultaneous about it if Rocky is nominated by the national Reform Party on August 8th or anytime earlier than August 31, the day after Florida’s U.S. Senate primary, particularly if that presidential nomination was sought specifically to give a candidate — a guy with absolutely no history or ties to the party — access to the ballot in Florida.

  10. Thomas Knapp

    Interesting that Ted Weill’s ghost would pipe up here. Presumably said ghost remembers that Richard Winger helped the Constitution Party kick the Reform Party off the ballot in Kansas in 2008. He seems to not like the Reform Party very much and to be dedicated this year to keeping it off the ballot in Florida.

  11. Richard Winger

    That is the exact opposite of the truth, Tom. I tried repeatedly to persuade Joy Holt, chair of the Kansas Reform Party, to fight back when Kansas Secretary of State violated precedent and legislative intent and removed the Reform Party from the Kansas ballot in November 2012. She would never return my phone calls, postal letters, or e-mails. I then contacted every single Reform Party presidential elector candidate and urged them to visit Joy and persuade her to fight back. I found an attorney for the Reform Party who was willing to file the lawsuit. I contacted persons in Kansas who were aware of the intent of the 1984 law when it passed. I contacted reporters. I even wrote the former Secretary of State, who had handled the process correctly in 2000. He had left the Libertarian and Reform Parties on the ballot in 2000 even though they had not polled 1% for president.

    As to helping the Reform Party in general, it was me who motivated the California Reform Party to re-establish its status as a California political body this year. The Reform Party is the biggest non-qualified party in California, and because it has status as a political body in California, everyone can see how their registration drive is faring.

    I was a witness in Reform Party winning ballot access lawsuits in Maine and Arkansas.

  12. Richard Winger

    It is not simultaneous. The Reform Party’s presidential nomination date is irrelevant. What matters is the date the Reform Party certifies its presidential nominee to the Secretary of State, and that can be as late as September 6.

  13. Richard Winger

    I was also a witness in the Reform Party’s winning ballot access lawsuit in Florida in 2004. In order for me to do that, I had to fly to Tallahassee with only 3 hours notice, leaving my spouse behind who was about to have an operation for apendicitis. My testimony was cited by the Florida Supreme Court when that court ruled that the Reform Party presidential nominee should be on the ballot.

  14. Thomas L. Knapp


    Your recollection differs from mine vis a vis Kansas — and that being the case, I am more than willing to trust that it is your recollection which is correct. So I apologize.

    But of course, you also tried to talk the Boston Tea Party out of running a presidential ticket in 2008. THAT recollection on my part is pretty solid, because I’m one of the people you talked to about it.

    My impression from that incident is that while you are in principle for very open ballot access, you balance that with the interests of certain parties — in 2008, for example, the interest of the Libertarian Party in not facing a libertarian presidential slate.

  15. Trent Hill

    Tom trying to disparage Richard Winger over “playing politics”. Too rich.

    Tom–you already slandered Richard on this thread once and you were wrong. You predicted Johnson wouldn’t do any better than 2012, that seems to be wrong too. You predicted the LP would crumble into a heap after Barr, he actually got more votes than the previous campaign did), etc. You just keep making predictions, and they just keep turning up wrong.

  16. Thomas L. Knapp


    What’s rich is you using the term “playing politics” as if I had used that term, and hoping people assume I did.

    “You predicted Johnson wouldn’t do any better than 2012, that seems to be wrong too.”

    It doesn’t “seem” any such thing. We won’t know whether that was right or wrong until November.

    “You predicted the LP would crumble into a heap after Barr”

    I don’t recall making that prediction, but given the history of the LP since 2008, it would seem to have been correct. We haven’t nominated a libertarian presidential ticket since then, which effectively makes us moribund as a political party at the national level.

    “You just keep making predictions, and they just keep turning up wrong.”

    And you just seem to keep following me around the Internet for no apparent reason, stalker.

  17. Richard Winger

    I was against a Boston Tea Party ticket in 2008, not because of partisan feelings toward the Libertarian Party, but because when presidential candidates get on the ballot in just one or two states, that puts pressure on those states with easy ballot access to make their laws tougher. In 2008 there 24 presidential candidates who were on the ballot in at least one state. When there are that many presidential candidates, that adds enables opponents of inclusive presidential debates to fling that statistic around and say therefore it is impossible to have inclusive debates. In 2008 the Objectivist Party was on the ballot in Florida and Colorado; the Boston Tea Party was on in Colorado, Florida, and Tennessee; the New American Independent Party was on in Colorado; the U.S. Pacifist Party was on in Colorado; the HeartQuake ’08 Party was on in Colorado; the Vote Here Party was on in New Jersey; We the People Party was on in Wisconsin; independent Richard Duncan was on in Ohio. That makes the ballots in the easiest states crowded. Colorado has had 16 presidential candidates on its ballots in each of the last 2 elections. Christina Tobin was at a meeting with the Colorado Secretary of State and he told her he will ask the legislature in 2017 to make it more difficult.

  18. Thomas L. Knapp


    Well, there you go.

    States make, or threaten to make ballot access more difficult.

    Your message to LP, CP, Greens: FIGHT! FIGHT FOR BALLOT ACCESS!


    I understand that you have reasons for taking that position. I disagree with those reasons.

  19. Richard Winger

    No, not consequences for the LP, CP or Greens. Consequences for ballot access laws.

  20. Thomas L. Knapp


    So what you’re saying is that you urged the LP, CP and Greens to refrain from running candidates in Colorado, too, lest the legislature make it harder for them to do so?

  21. Trent Hill

    Tom, it takes some severe mental gymnastics to assume he meant that, or anything approaching it.

    “It doesn’t “seem” any such thing. We won’t know whether that was right or wrong until November.”

    I’ll be more than happy to make a bet. Johnson gets a higher percentage in November than Clark.

  22. Trent Hill

    “And you just seem to keep following me around the Internet for no apparent reason, stalker.”

    If by that you mean “and you just keep commenting on the website you helped found and co-owned for 3 years”. Yeah. I do keep doing that. I don’t find you anywhere else on the Internet. But if you keep dripping this idiocy across Johnson threads, I’ll keep rebutting.

  23. Thomas Knapp


    Yes, you helped found and co-owned IPR.

    But the only time I notice you around here any more is when you feel like ragging on me.

    Not that healthy, dude.

    As far as Johnson’s performance is concerned, no, I won’t take that bet, since Johnson doing better than Clark falls well within the range of my predictions. I expect Johnson to get SOMEWHERE between 700,000 votes and 2% of the vote.

  24. langa

    Tom, it takes some severe mental gymnastics to assume he meant that, or anything approaching it.

    The only “mental gymnastics” required to reach the conclusion that TK did are the following assumptions:

    1. Winger is not a hypocrite.
    2. Winger’s position is motivated by logic, rather than partisanship.

    I’ll leave it up to you to determine whether one, both, or neither of those assumptions are true.

  25. itdoesntmatter

    Everyone has better things to do than trying to keep the Reform Party off any ballots, like running constant anti-LP vanity campaigns. It doesn’t seem like the Reform Party needs any help keeping itself off ballots.

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