2016: Tough Year for Minor Parties

2014 was a tough year for California’s minor parties and 2016 is looking even more challenging.

Looking at the number of minor party (also called “third party”) candidates who made it onto the General Election ballot, we can see that (excluding statewide offices and the BOE) the numbers have been falling fast. In 2000, there were 124 minor party candidates on the November ballot. It dropped to 101 in 2002, then into the nineties and continued to fall from there.

In 2010, the last year before the arrival of the new Top Two primary, there were 77 minor party candidates (45 were Libertarians). The following cycle, the number had fallen to 3 (all from the Peace and Freedom Party). In 2014, the number held at 3 (Libertarian Patrick D. Hogan, American Independent George R. Williams, and Peace & Freedom’s Adam Shbeita).

So far in the 2016 cycle, no minor party candidates have qualified for the General Election (most of these candidates will be determined in the June primary). But we can see that the number of minor party candidates who filed has dropped severely, with the Libertarians running seven candidates and one each from the Greens, AIP and Peace & Freedom.



  • Congress: 75
  • State Senate: 40
  • State Assembly: 118


  • Congress: 86
  • State Senate: 25
  • State Assembly: 96


  • Congress: 0
  • State Senate: 0
  • State Assembly: 1


  • Congress: 1
  • State Senate: 0
  • State Assembly: 0


  • Congress: 2
  • State Senate: 1
  • State Assembly: 4

No Party Preference

  • Congress: 17
  • State Senate: 0
  • State Assembly: 7

Peace and Freedom

  • Congress: 1
  • State Senate: 0
  • State Assembly: 0