Former Louisiana Gov. Buddy Roemer announced in a statement this morning that his quixotic independent campaign for president has come to an end. After failing to get access to the GOP primary debates last year, Roemer had decided to run as an independent and seek the Reform Party and Americans Elect nominations. Then, Americans Elect folded earlier this month, while Roemer continued to struggle to draw attention and interest to his campaign. In his statement, Roemer said he would create a new organization — details TBD — focused on his core issue of getting corporate and special interest money out of politics.
National: Americans Elect, promoting third-party candidates, faces internal rebellion | North County Times
Americans Elect – the innovative effort to jolt the political system with a third-party presidential candidate – is facing a democratic uprising of its own. A hastily organized contingent of Americans Elect activists is agitating to reverse the group’s decision last week to pull the plug on its nomination process after failing to generate sufficient interest in its candidates. Complaining that the group’s leadership hasn’t listened to the membership, the insurgents are pushing for Americans Elect to forge ahead. They don’t want the $35 million the group raised to get on the ballot in 29 states, including California, to go to waste. Involved in the effort is a Bay Area activist and filmmaker who ran for the Americans Elect nomination and came in third place, after former Louisiana Gov. Buddy Roemer and former Salt Lake City Mayor Rocky Anderson. Michealene Risley, a resident of Woodside in San Mateo County, said she was shocked when she heard – via press release – that Americans Elect was shutting down the nomination process. “People feel really used and manipulated,” said Risley, who ran on a platform of campaign finance reform.
Americans Elect, the group that aimed to nominate a third presidential candidate through an online primary, ended its nomination process today after no prospective candidates met their minimum requirements. To run in its online primary a candidate had to get 10,000 “clicks” of support (1,000 in at least 10 states). Buddy Roemer was the closest to reaching that goal, but he got less than 6,300 “supporters. As of this week, no candidate achieved the national support threshold required to enter the Americans Elect Online Convention in June,” the group said in a statement. “The primary process for the Americans Elect nomination has come to an end.”
Editorials: Americans Elect meets reality: third-party effort may be viable — just not now | Doyle McManus/latimes.com
What happens if you start a political party and nobody comes? Six months ago, a newfangled third party burst onto the scene, full of hope and promise. It was called Americans Elect, and it sought to give voters a choice many said they were looking for: “centrist” candidates who could break the partisan gridlock paralyzing Washington. In its founders’ heads danced visions of middle-of-the-road candidates who could transform American politics: Hillary Rodham Clinton, Colin Powell, Michael Bloomberg, Jon Huntsman Jr. Wealthy donors invested millions in a fancy website for an Internet primary, signed up 420,000 would-be “delegates” and got on the ballot in 29 states. Newspaper columnists, including me, pondered what effect it might have on the election. Then the grand idea collided with reality.
As David Karpf wrote here ten days ago, the Americans Elect third-party experiment of 2012 looks like it has hit a dead end. No declared candidate is anywhere close to hitting the group’s requirement of earning 10,000 supporters across at least ten states, with at least 1,000 from each state. Former Louisiana governor Buddy Roemer the closest at just 5,840. He has less than 600 from California. As Jonathan Tilove points out in his story in the Times-Picayune, that means Roemer has more followers on Twitter than he has supporters who actually want him on AE’s presidential ballot line. Americans Elect had an ambitious plan to hold several rounds of online voting to winnow down what its leaders had hoped would be a competitive field of national candidates, and spent a reported $35 million circulating ballot petitions and building the organizational and online infrastructure to attract those candidates to its fold. It also attracted a fair amount of media coverage for its efforts, and encomiums from the likes of Thomas Friedman, John Avlon and Lawrence Lessig. But it never caught on, in part for the reasons I outlined almost a year ago: the lack of transparency about its finances made potential supporters distrustful (even spawning a watchdog blog called AETransparency), and the evident lack of public interest in its founders’ evident desire to find a “centrist” candidate. It’s possible that AE could have evolved differently, but that would have required that the vehicle be more genuinely controlled by its supporters, and that was an option that AE’s leaders clearly didn’t want to allow.
Two weeks ago, I wrote about the some of us who believe that the corrupting influence of money in American politics is the most important issue facing this nation, and that those who believe like us face a difficult dilemma: neither major party candidate is going to make this his issue for this campaign (indeed, the Obama campaign has just airbrushed his criticism of Citizens United from their webpage). So those of us who think this way must either accept that the issue will go dark for four years at least, or push a third-party candidate who will make this his central issue. I grabbed the second horn of that dilemma, arguing here that supporters of corruption reform should join Americans Elect and endorse a reform candidate. Two obvious choices lead the Americans Elect pack: Buddy Roemer, the four-time congressman and former governor of Louisiana, and David Walker, former Comptroller General of the United States. Both, I said, would be important reform candidates. Either could push corruption onto center stage.