Establishing a “Mendoza Line” for Georgia’s Presidential Primary

At the end of this month, the executive committees for the state Democratic and Republican parties will meet to determine who will make it onto the ballot for Georgia’s February 5th presidential preference primary as prescribed by state law [OCGA 21-2-193]. As a prelude to each Party’s respective executive committee meeting, the AJC’s Political Insider recently wrote that former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney sent his son to Georgia Republican Party headquarters to personally lobby for his father’s inclusion on the Georgia Republican ballot. Let me start by saying that unless a majority of the Republican state executive committee has it in for Gov. Romney, he doesn’t have anything to worry about. However, there are candidates, (on both sides), that I hope will be excluded from the February ballot.

Those candidates are (in no particular order):

Dennis Kucinich
Mike Gravel
Duncan Hunter
John Cox
Tom Tancredo
Sam Brownback

I singled these candidates out for exclusion because of Ron Paul. Ron Paul can hardly be considered a top-tier candidate for the Republican presidential nomination. However, Paul managed to raise $5 million for his campaign. With that five million dollar figure, Ron Paul established the Mendoza line for presidential politics. If you can’t raise at least $5 million, then you should not be included on the presidential primary ballot. At last count, many (if not all) of these candidates have not raised anywhere near that number; and their polling numbers in this state are negligible at the least.

The question has got to be asked, “if you can’t raise at least $5 million by November 1st, and if you can’t point to polls showing that you have measured support of at least 5% in the polls, then why are you running and why should we include you on our ballots?”

You know, I would not necessarily object to requiring presidential candidates pay a qualifying fee equal to 3% of the annual salary for the POTUS (i.e., the POTUS makes $400,000 a year; 3% of that is $12,000).


  1. Decaturguy says:

    How about excluding Vernon Jones (and all the other Democratic candidates) from the U.S. Senate primary ballot since none of them have even raised $200,000 when Saxby Chambliss is sitting on almost $3.5 million?

  2. Icarus says:

    Yesterday, there was a poll of who should be excluded, if any, from the Republican debate. I actually argued the He Who Shall Not Be Named be included in the debate, as he has demonstrated both financial and grass roots ability, and would provide a contrasting view to some of the opinions shared my most of the other candidates.

    That was before the debate. That was before the question was asked if he (and the others) would support the nominee of the party. He flatly stated he would not support any of the other candidates as the Republican nominee.

    As such, He should be excluded from the primary ballot. He is not a Republican. He is using the Republican primary process to draw attention to a 3rd party run.

    The purpose of a primary is for parties to decide who their nominee is. RP is not a Republican, and has no intention of supporting a Republican. He should be excluded.

  3. drjay says:

    perhaps we should be more like nh and if you can pay your $1000 (the fee in nh) you can get on the ballot–why should the prez race be different than any other where paying the fee gets you on the ballot–what was clinton polling in the fall of 1991–gephardt was polling around 5% in nh–all the way up into he got a bump by winning iowa a couple weeks prior–i get that primaries are in many ways property of the respective parties to do w/ what they wish–but if john cox wants to spend a couple mil of his own cash to be able to say he’s “run for president” does his name being on the ballot really harm anything–most of the other folks you mentioned have held or do hold high elective office–its kind of an insult to say a former senator or current congressman is not a “serious” candidate b/c of poll numbers several months before actual voting is going to take place–hunter has actually been a pretty solid performer throughout the debates ths far and i’m pretty sure kucinich took delegate sto the 04 convention…the libertarians generally get around 3% of the vote in races in which they field candidates–do you want to get rid of them as well–there were “serious” candidates that got quite less than 5% in the 10th special this summer–are they not allowed to play anymore either…

  4. Andre Walker says:

    For the sake of the discussion, if we applied OCGA 21-2-131 to the presidential preference primary, any candidate seeking to appear on the Georgia primary ballot would have to pay a qualifying fee equal to 3% of the annual salary for the office of President of the United States.

    In terms of fundraising, many of the candidates will easily blow past that 3% marker, so I don’t believe asking them to pay a qualifying fee is that far-fetched.

    Vernon Jones and (to my knowledge) the rest of the Democrats running for U.S. Senate have the qualifying fee (3% of $165,200 is $4,956) to get on the ballot, so they’re going to get on the ballot anyway.

    What I’d be interested in seeing done is the state legislature amending OCGA 21-2-198 which says that “No qualifying fee may be assessed for presidential candidates or for candidates for delegate or delegate alternate whose names are listed on a presidential preference primary ballot,” by inserting the language from 21-2-131 in its place.

    Currently, the state Democratic and Republican parties are paying for the costs of the state of Georgia running their respective primaries every two years. The state gets 25% of the qualifying fees while the political parties receives the remaining 75%.

    What I’m suggesting is that as a potential way of weeding out the “not-so-serious” candidates and also providing the state with some sort of compensation for running the presidential primary, a qualifying fee be assessed.

  5. drjay says:

    i would be o.k w/ a qualifying fee–i’m not sure about the 3% but a set dollar amt. around what the qualifying for guv or senate seems reasonable–of course this would then preclude the ballot denial you are advocating otherwise…

  6. Still Looking says:

    The most recent poll from Quinnipac shows Hillary beating Rudy in three swing states: Florida, Ohio and Pennslyvania. Even if Phred wakes up, it looks like Ron Paul will jump into a third party run. Happy Days Are Here Again

  7. StevePerkins says:

    > The purpose of a primary is for parties to
    > decide who their nominee is. RP is not a
    > Republican, and has no intention of
    > supporting a Republican. He should be
    > excluded.

    You might passionately disagree with the guy, but to say that somone’s “not a Republican” when they’ve served FOURTEEN TERMS as a Republican congressman is pretty silly. Perhaps you should your concerns up with the House leadership and/or Texas GOP… neither of which have seen fit to “excommunicate” him in his near-30 years of affilation.

    As I understand the party bylaws in Georgia, as well as those in most states, Republicans agree not to publicly endorse the candidate of another party. So yeah, if Ron Paul decided to endorse Hillary Clinton for some reason, he would be subject to party discipline. However, mere failure to publicly support a Republican that you disagree with does NOT mean that you’re “not a Republican”. It just means you won’t always be surrounded by friends.

  8. Doug Deal says:

    Charge the qualifying fee for President if you must, but realize that we are electing electors, and I think the pay for that position is $0 per year. I do not have a calculator handy, so I am not sure what that amounts to.

    Excluding people from the ballot who meet all other qualifications is a bad idea. People should be able to elect who they want, and if the parties want a two player monopoly on the system, they better accomodate the “fringe” candidates.

    Icarus, then you better include Huckabee along with RP. Huckabee said he would not support a candidate that was in essence the lesser of two evils.

  9. Icarus says:

    That’s not the way I interpreted what Huckabee was trying to say, but I’d still rather see him in a run for AR Senate. Wouldn’t exclude him to get that accomplished, however.

    On the subject of excluding the other guy, I wouldn’t make that decision lightly, but he is using the Republican primary to build up his third party run. He doesn’t support the Republican platform, he won’t support the Republican ticket. He shouldn’t be in Republican debates, or on Republican ballots.

  10. drjay says:

    doug, in the primaries we are not electing electors–in some states primaries you are electing delegates pledged to a candidate–but i do not think that’s the case in ga

  11. StevePerkins says:

    I have heard ZERO buzz in Libertarian Party circles about giving the nomination to Ron Paul if and when he drops out of the Republican primaries.

    For one thing, the LP is 180-degrees opposite from the Reform Party and Green Party. They are more than happy to let a Pat Buchanan or Ralph Nader jerk them around to the point of destroying the party… because the hopes of some celebrity-candidate getting them mentioned on TV means a lot to them. The Libertarian Party has the opposite problem… they are so AFRAID of winning that they find excuses to shy away from candidates with the slightest whiff of name recognition (e.g. Aaron Russo). Plenty of Big-L Libertarians would embrace Ron Paul, but plenty others resent him for his GOP affilation and would love to topple him because of it.

    Secondly, Ron Paul’s fundraising success means that he’ll probably be in the GOP primaries for the long haul… rather than fading out after Iowa and New Hampshire like some others. This pretty much closes the window on a Libertarian Party run… because by the time he IS eligable for “free agency”, the LP will probably already have selected their candiate.

    Last but not least, it’s been almost 20 years since Ron Paul ran as an LP candiate. He has given no signals that he’d like to do so again, and no sign that he’d like to give up his GOP congressional seat if he’s not elected President. The latter is why I also do not see him launching a truly independant bid apart from the LP.

  12. Rick Day says:

    problem is, I don’t trust polls.

    Democrats poll ‘likely Democrats’ and Republicans do the same with theirs. The parties choose which list to ‘randomly call’, the framing of the question, and stick to polling land lines only.

    Look, I gave up TV and land lines about 3 years ago. I depend on the Internet and a cell phone, which is never polled. Most people under 25 have only a cell phone.

    Andre, I postulate that is why RP ‘polls low’. Internet polls are ‘ignored’ because they, um, are Internet polls.

    I say Mendoza Line with the money marker, and not the polling marker. I agree with the above poster – the primary is the REAL poll – the true voice of the voter.

    The rest is all spin, bought and paid for.

  13. Icarus says:

    In a later thread, either here or on RedState, I gave him credit for answering a similar question much better, with more of a desire to rebuild the party, as well as some reasons why he considered himself a Republican.

    Do I think he’s running 3rd party this time, no. Do I think he’s still trying to undermine the current Republican nominee, yes.

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