When I voted yesterday in the presidential primary, I knew that all of the GOP candidates' names would be on the ballot (including the ones who have "suspended" their campaigns), but for the Democrats, I thought there would be exactly two: Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders. But there were nine, including the withdrawn Martin O'Malley, and six other names I didn't recognize: Henry Hewes, Rocky De La Fuente, Keith Judd, Willie L. Wilson, John Wolfe Jr., and Jon Adams.
How did they get on the ballot? According to the Missouri Secretary Of State's website:
Candidates must provide a filing fee receipt of $1,000.00 paid to the state committee of candidate’s established political party or a statutorily qualifying petition signed by not less than 5,000 registered Missouri voters and a sworn statement that the candidate is unable to pay the filing fee. The receipt or the petition together with a sworn statement must be submitted with the written request to be included on the presidential preference primary.
In other words, you don't have to stand around the supermarket with a clipboard trying to convince people to sign a petition to let you run. You just have to come up with a thousand bucks, and you're on the ballot. I'm guessing that's how the six unknowns got on there, but I can't even speculate why.
It's wrong to look at these people as crazy, even though they had no chance in the long-term. After all, Jeb Bush wasted $150 million and he's not going to be his party's nominee. Neither are Marco Rubio, Ben Carson, Rand Paul, Mike Huckabee, Carly Fiorina, Rick Santorum, or Chris Christie. Yet, at some point, they all must have believed they were going to be our next commander-in-chief, and had advisers and friends who bought into the concept and encouraged them -- not to mention the people and PACs who wrote checks to support that impossible dream (Yahoo Finance's Rick Newman tallies the wasted money here).
Believe it or not, the unknowns actually did receive some votes. In this state, while Clinton won with 310,602 and Sanders received 309,071 votes, the third place finisher was Hewes, who a remarkable 648 people voted for. That's more than O'Malley, who despite dropping out, was still the choice of 440 Missourians.
Technically, "uncommitted" was in third place, and I'll never understand that option even being on the ballot. If you don't know who to vote for, why are you taking the time to drive to the polling place, wait in line, take a ballot, and then make no choice? It's not like there were other offices and issues to vote for yesterday. All you had to do was choose which candidate you wanted to be the nominee of your party, and you essentially chose "none of the above." Why bother?
Besides Hewes, the other unknowns had totals of a few hundred each, including Jon Adams, who claims he's a third-cousin-many-times-removed from America's second president, and may have had another motive for running. It appears that Adams is using his presidential candidacy to try to get laid. On his website, on a tab labelled "First Lady," Adams writes:
I have not been lucky in love. And yet this presents an opportunity. If you are interested in joining the campaign as a possible future First Lady of the United States, and if you have a deep, abiding love of country as well as class, elegance and style, please email a short bio to: FLOTUS@adamsforpresident.com. This is not a reality television show. You can become First Lady of the United States. If all else fails, we can always hold a small election for First Lady in December 2016.
I wonder if Darva Conger is still single.