Where did the third-party candidates go?

A trend we noticed in the last week while updating candidate biographies in preparation for the results of the June primary; a significant drop in the number of third-party candidates in 2012. Excluding the President and U.S. Senate races, the American Independent Party has no candidates on the ballot for other offices. This is the first time since the founding of the party in 1968 that the number has been this low. Only two Peace and Freedom Party candidates will appear on the ballot, which is the lowest number for that party since their founding (also in 1968). Finally, the Libertarians, usually the most active of the minor parties, has only six non-statewide candidates, the lowest since 1978, when they fielded four General Election candidates.

A major factor may be the number of third-party candidates who chose to re-register. Previous candidates who have changed their party affiliation for the 2012 election include;

Mike Moloney, who has run for Congress five times as a Republican, has changed his registration to run in 2012 as a Democrat.

Robert Lauten, who ran as an American Independent candidate for Congress in 2008 and Treasurer in 2010 has become a Republican in the 2012 campaign for U.S. Senate.

David L. Miller, who ran as an American Independent candidate for Congress in 2010 has become a Republican candidate in 2012. He had previously been a Republican until 1999.

Anthony Adams, a Republican Assemblyman until 2010, has filed to run for Congress as a No Party Preference candidate.

David Hernandez, a two time Republican congressional candidate, has filed to run this year as a No Party Preference candidate.