Tennessee Elections Office Explains Why Web Page Doesn't Yet List Green and Constitution Party Nominees

Although a U.S. District Court Judge in Tennessee put the Constitution Party and the Green Party on the Tennessee ballot back in February, it has been puzzling that the State Elections Division had not yet posted the names of those parties’ nominees for public office. However, the Elections Division has now said that the official list of November 2012 candidates will not be posted until August 30.

The Green Party nominee for U.S. Senate, Martin Pleasant, has the potential to poll more than 5% of the vote, because the winner of the Democratic Party primary for U.S. Senate has been disavowed by the state Democratic Party, because of his political views. In a somewhat analogous situation, in 2010, in South Carolina, the Democratic Party also disavowed its U.S. Senate nominee, Alvin Greene. In the November 2010 U.S. Senate race in South Carolina, the Green Party nominee, Tom Clements, polled 9.21%. Of course, that was a race in which the Republican incumbent (Jim DeMint) was easily re-elected. The situation is similar in Tennessee this year, where Republican incumbent Bob Corker, is virtually certain to be re-elected easily.

If Martin Pleasant gets at least 5% of the vote, the Green Party will be ballot-qualified automatically in 2014 and 2016. It would be the first party, other than the Democratic and Republican Parties, to poll enough votes to maintain its qualified status in Tennessee since George Wallace obtained that status in 1968 for the American Party. Even the Reform Party never enjoyed qualified party status in Tennessee. Ross Perot qualified as an independent in Tennessee in 1996. Tennessee is the only state in the nation in which the Reform Party tried to get on the ballot as a party in 1996, and failed.


  1. Nick Kruse · · Reply

    Because of a weak Democratic candidate, this is an excellent opportunity to gain ballot access. The green party should make sure that they take full advantage of that senate race.

  2. I heard that the Democratic Party may try to remove the candidate from the ballot and replace him with another democratic one. Is that Constitutional since the Democratic voters of Tennessee choose their candidate? Or am I just hearing speculation?

  3. Richard Winger · · Reply

    #2, it’s possible. Last month the 6th circuit upheld what was done in 2008 by the Tennessee Democratic Party. State Senator Rosalind Kurita won the Democratic primary for State Senate (by just 19 votes) and the party didn’t like how she had voted for Senate Majority leader the year before, and wouldn’t certify as their nominee, and certified the man who had lost the primary. And both the US District Court and the 6th circuit said a party can do that.

  4. […] alternative, and that’s to vote for Martin Pleasant, the Green Party candidate for Senate. As Richard Winger points out, if Martin Pleasant can get 5% of the vote, the Green Party would be automatically […]

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