10:36am

Tue May 15, 2012
It's All Politics

Americans Elect Could Field Third-Party Candidate – But For The Candidate

Originally published on Tue May 15, 2012 11:15 am

Americans Elect, the nationwide effort to launch a credible third-party presidential campaign, has money, media attention and — most importantly — access to the ballot in dozens of states.

What it doesn't have is a candidate for president.

So if it follows its own rules, the nonprofit, nonpartisan organization won't field a presidential candidate alongside President Obama and presumed Republican nominee Mitt Romney on Nov. 6, it announced Tuesday.

But the group also left the door open to bending those rules.

"As of today, no candidate has reached the national support threshold required to enter the 'Americans Elect Online Convention' this June," Americans Elect CEO Kahlil Byrd said in a statement.

"Because of this, under the rules that AE delegates ratified, the primary process would end today. There is, however, an almost universal desire among delegates, leadership and millions of Americans who have supported AE to see a credible candidate emerge from this process."

Byrd said Americans Elect expected to announce a decision on what it might do next later this week.

"Every step of the way, AE has conferred with its community before making major decisions. We will do the same this week before determining next steps for the immediate future," Byrd said.

NPR's Andrea Seabrook reported earlier this month that the group had gained access to the ballot in more than half of the states, but was having trouble finding a candidate:

"The most popular name on the group's website right now is Ron Paul, the Republican candidate who has said no to both the Libertarian Party and to Americans Elect."

"Among those willing to run, the most popular right now is ex-GOP presidential candidate and former Louisiana Gov. Buddy Roemer — hardly a household name."

Seabrook also reported: "Another cloud that's hovered over the new group is its refusal to name its financial backers. Americans Elect is organized as a nonprofit group, under section 501(c)(4) of the tax code. Because it isn't a political party, it isn't required to tell where its millions of dollars come from. It could volunteer that information, but it doesn't."

Copyright 2012 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.