John Anderson Dies

Ballot Access News:

On December 3, 2017, John B. Anderson died. He was a member of Congress from 1960 to 1980. In 1980 he sought the Republican presidential nomination, but on April 24, 1980, realizing that Ronald Reagan was certain to become the Republican nominee, Anderson quit the race for the Republican nomination and announced as an independent candidate. He had already participated, or was about to participate, in Republican presidential primaries in 20 states (not including other states where he was a write-in in the primaries, such as Pennsylvania).

He had already missed the filing deadline for independent presidential candidates in Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, New Mexico, and Ohio. He sued all five states and won all those lawsuits. As a result, he got on the ballot in all 50 states plus D.C.

He didn’t choose his vice-presidential running mate until August 27, 1980. He chose Patrick Lucey, former Democratic Governor of Wisconsin. Anderson’s attorneys persuaded almost all states to let his stand-in, Milton Eisenhower, resign, and be replaced by Lucey. He sued three states that wouldn’t permit this, and won all three cases, against Indiana, Pennsylvania, and Florida. Only two states didn’t list Lucey; they were states he didn’t get around to suing.

Later his Ohio petition deadline case went to the U.S. Supreme Court, which agreed with the U.S. District Court that had struck down the March 20 deadline.

No state kept Anderson off the ballot because of “sore loser” laws. He thus set precedents in many states that sore loser laws don’t apply to president. Unfortunately, starting in 2012, some states started re-interpreting their laws to say that sore loser laws do apply to presidential primaries, even when the laws had not been recodified. Also in recent years, some states that let him substitute Lucey for Eisenhower have started denying the ability for independent presidential candidates to substitute a new nominee. Thus Anderson’s landmark legal victories have been slipping away. Anderson died at the age of 95. Here is a newspaper obituary.

2 thoughts on “John Anderson Dies

  1. Rev. James W. Clifton

    Sad day for his 1980 GOP primary- and Independent-run voters. I supported him in both races. He actually tied Carter and Reagan in one early poll but ended up getting about 7% of the vote. Good, strong liberal Republican before gong the independent route. Endorsed Mondale in 1984. R.I.P., Congressman Anderson.

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