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There are six candidates for president of the United States on the Nov. 3 ballot in New Mexico, including one who is a native New Mexican and another who was born in El Paso.
The candidates are
There have been a wide range of third-party candidates in American history, including those of the anti-Masonic, Nullifier, Liberty, Free Soil, American (also known as the No Nothing Party), Southern Democratic, Constitutional Union, Greenback, Prohibition, Union Labor, Populist, Socialist, Progressive (three different parties), Union, States’ Rights, American Independent, Independent, Libertarian, Reform and Green parties.
America’s first president, George Washington, was elected twice without a political party. 1796-1848, the U.S. elected one Federalist candidate, four Democratic-Republican candidates and two Whig candidates as president.
Since the election of 1852, only a Democrat or a Republican has been elected president. John Quincy Adams was elected in 1824 (the only U.S. presidential election decided in the U.S. House of Representatives) as a Democratic-Republican but ran unsuccessfully for re-election in 1828 as a National Republican.
Henry Clay ran unsuccessfully as a National Republican candidate for president in 1832.
Since 1832, the third-party candidate receiving the highest percentage of the popular vote was Theodore Roosevelt, who earned 27.4 percent in 1912. Roosevelt had served as president 1901-09, but chose not to run for re-election in 1908, instead backing U.S. Sec. of War William Howard Taft, who easily won that year’s general election.
Roosevelt was unhappy with Taft’s presidency and ran against him in the 1912 Republican Primary. Taft won the Primary but finished third in the General behind Democrat Woodrow Wilson and Roosevelt, running as a Progressive. It’s the only time in American history that an incumbent president has finished third in a general election, and the only time a third-party candidate has finished ahead of a Republican or a Democratic candidate in the popular vote.
Former President Millard Fillmore, running as the American Party candidate, got 21.4 percent of the popular vote in 1856. Businessman Ross Perot (Reform Party) got 18.9 percent in 1992; Vice President John C. Breckenridge got 18.2 percent in 1860, running as a Southern Democrat; U.S. Sen. Robert LaFollette (Progressive) got 16.6 percent in 1924; Alabama Gov. George Wallace (American Independent) got 13.5 percent in 1968; former U.S. Sen. John Bell (Constitutional Union) got 12.6 percent in 1860; former President Martin Van Buren (Free Soil) got 10.1 percent in 1848.
Breckenridge earned the highest percentage of electoral votes of any third-party candidate: 72 in 1860. The Democrat, Stephan A. Douglas, got more popular votes than Breckenridge, but only 12 electoral votes. The winner, Abraham Lincoln, who was the nation’s first Republican president, got 180 electoral votes and almost 40 percent of the popular vote. Bell won 39 electoral votes.
Theodore Roosevelt earned the most electoral votes, 88, of any third-party candidate, in 1912. Incumbent Taft received only eight electoral votes. The winner, Wilson, received 435.
The last third-party candidate to earn electoral votes was Wallace, who garnered 46 in 1968. Then South Carolina Gov. J. Strom Thurmond (States’ Rights/Dixiecrats), earned 39 electoral votes in 1948, and LaFollette received 13 (winning his home state of Wisconsin) in 1924.
In the 2016 presidential election, Libertarian candidate and former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson earned almost 4.5 million votes, equal to 3.28 percent of the total. Green Party candidate Jill Stein received almost 1.46 million votes, or 1.07 percent. Constitution Party candidate Darrell Castle received 203,000 votes, or 0.15 percent.