The Ballot Access News newsletter published by Richard Winger had the latest scoop on Pennsylvania political parties:
On February 1, U.S. District Court Judge Lawrence Stengel issued an order deleting the county distribution requirement for statewide petitions for independent candidates and the nominees of unqualified parties. Therefore, there is no need for any future petitions to include at least 250 signatures from each of ten counties. This result came about because the Third Circuit had suggested that such county distribution requirements are unconstitutional unless the state could show that the requirement had no impact on voting rights. That motivated the state to consent to dropping the requirement.
Minor party and independent candidates for Governor in Pennsylvania in 2018 therefore need 5,000 signatures, which can be gathered anywhere in the state.
Democracy Chronicles author Michael Ossipoff and editor-in-chief Adrian Tawfik categorized the Constitution Party as a centrist party on our list of third/small political parties at DC’s Third Party Central. The Constitution Party is one of the fastest growing third party in terms of voter registration. The party’s official name was changed to The Constitution Party in 1999; however, some state affiliate parties are known under different names.
Founded by Howard Phillips, a three-time United States presidential candidate, the party currently puts its main effort focusing on opposing open immigration policy. a three-time United States presidential candidate. The party wants to impose stricter penalties on illegal immigrants and enforce a moratorium on all legal immigration. Look here for the Constitution Party party platform.
The ongoing struggles of the Libertarian Party nominee for congress, Drew Miller, highlight the challenges ahead in Pennsylvania for independent and third party candidates. From an interesting Tribune-Review article on his campaign from last month:
Unless a minor-party candidate has a lot of money, they are not likely to make an impact in the race, said Charlie Gerow, a Republican strategist based in Harrisburg. “If somebody came in with a million dollars to lay on the table as a third-party candidate, they could make an impact. Absent that, I just don’t think there’s running room,” Gerow said…
Miller said his campaign has no money. He said he had to form a nonprofit to start collecting donations, and that process is under way. He said he plans to try to energize young voters looking for an alternative to the two-party system. “The odds are against me in terms of the money being spent, but in the same regards I think people need to realize that if there’s that much money spent, the candidates are going to be working for the parties themselves and not the constituents,” he said.
A related video from Fair Districts PA, a “nonpartisan, citizen-led, statewide coalition working to create a process for redistricting that is transparent, impartial, and fair”: