Michigan Has Let Qualified Parties Replace their National Nominees Four Times in the Past, But Now Says it has "No Provision" to Do That

On September 7, the Michigan Secretary of State told the Michigan Libertarian Party that the party cannot replace its original presidential nominee, Gary Johnson of New Mexico, with a new nominee (Gary Johnson of Texas) because there is “no provision” for that. However, in 2000, Michigan let the U.S. Taxpayers Party replace its vice-presidential nominee with a new vice-presidential nominee.

The U.S. Taxpayers Party changed its name to the Constitution Party at its 1999 national convention, but in Michigan, the party still uses its old name, the U.S. Taxpayers Party. On October 1, 1999, the party’s national convention chose Joseph Sobran for vice-president. Sobran resigned as the nominee on March 31, 2000. On September 2, 2000, the national committee of the party replaced him with Dr. J. Curtis Frazier. Michigan printed Frazier’s name on the ballot, even though the original certification by the party had listed Sobran.

Michigan, like all states, also let the Democratic Party choose a new vice-presidential nominee in 1972. A book about that was published this year. It is “The Eighteen-Day Running Mate: McGovern, Eagleton, and a Campaign Crisis” by Joshua M. Glasser.

Also, in 1980, Michigan let the Anderson Coalition Party choose a new vice-presidential nominee in early September. The party’s original vice-presidential nominee was Milton Eisenhower, but he resigned and was replaced with Patrick Lucey, after the original certification.

And, in 1996, Michigan let the Reform Party choose a new vice-presidential nominee, also in September. The Reform Party, a ballot-qualified party in Michigan, had certified the names of Ross Perot for President and Carl Owenby for Vice-President, to the Michigan Secretary of State, shortly after Perot won the party’s presidential nomination on August 17, 1996. But on September 11, the Reform Party replaced Owenby (who had been considered a stand-in) with Pat Choate, and Michigan printed Choate’s name on the November ballot.


  1. How many States have a *process* to routinely replace candidates who die or are NOT qualified or have been nominated for another office at a convention ???

    i.e. in Michigan a primary winner may also be nominated at a party hack convention after the primary – thus a vacancy in the primary office.

  2. To me it seems like Michigan is digging itself a deeper and deeper hole. In a perfect world the incompetence expressed in the original court and the sheer bias exhibited by the SOS would be enough for any appeals court to step in.

    Also in a perfect world this would all be setting up one hell of a class action lawsuit against the State, SOS, and Republican Party of Michigan.

  3. I think that what the Michigan Secretary of State means is that there is no process for replacing a presidential or vice presidential candidate on the ballot if the Michigan Secretary of State feels that doing so would hurt the Michigan Secretary of State’s political party. If they needed to do so, I’m sure that the Green Party would have no problem placing a replacement candidate on Michigan’s ballot.

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