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.