American Independent Party
|American Independent Party|
|Chairman||under dispute: Jim King or Markham Robinson|
|Founded||July 8, 1967|
|Headquarters||1561 N. Beale Road
Marysville, California, U.S. 95901
|National affiliation||under dispute: Constitution Party or America's Party|
|Colors||Purple, blue, white|
The American Independent Party is a right-wing political party of the United States that was established in 1967 by Bill and Eileen Shearer. It is most notable for its nomination of former Alabama Governor George Wallace, who carried five states in the 1968 presidential election running on a segregationist platform. The party split in 1976 into the modern American Independent Party and the American Party. From 1992 until 2008 the party was the California affiliate of the national Constitution Party, with its exit from the Constitution Party leading to a leadership dispute during the 2008 election.
Early history 
In 1968, the American Independent Party nominated Alabama Governor George C. Wallace as its presidential candidate and retired U.S. Air Force General Curtis E. LeMay as the vice-presidential candidate. Wallace ran on every state ballot in the 1968 presidential election, though he did not represent the American Independent Party in all fifty states: in Connecticut, for instance, he was listed on the ballot as representing the "George Wallace Party." The Wallace/LeMay ticket received 13.5 percent of the popular vote and 46 electoral votes.
In 1969, representatives from 40 states established the American Party as the successor to the American Independent Party. In some places, such as Connecticut, the American Party was constituted as the American Conservative Party. (The modern American Conservative Party, founded in 2008, is unrelated to the Wallace-era party.) The party flag, adopted on August 30, 1970, depicts an eagle holding a group of arrows in its left talons, over a compass rose, with a banner which reads "The American Independent Party" at the eagle's base. In 1972, the party nominated former Republican Congressman John G. Schmitz of California for president and Tennessee author Thomas Jefferson Anderson for vice president.
After the 1976 split 
In 1976, the American Party split into the more moderate American Party, which included more northern conservatives and Schmitz supporters, and the American Independent Party, which focused on the Deep South. Both parties have nominated candidates for the presidency and other offices. Neither the American Party nor the American Independent Party has had national success, and the American Party has not achieved ballot status in any state since 1996.
In the early 1980s, Bill Shearer led the American Independent Party into the Populist Party. Since 1992, the American Independent Party has been the California affiliate of the national Constitution Party, formerly the U.S. Taxpayers Party. However, in 2008 one faction of the AIP broke with the Constitution Party and gave the ballot line (which it controlled) to Alan Keyes, candidate of the similarly named America's Party.
The American Independent Party has had ballot status in the state of California since 1968 and is still active there. As of early 2008, AIP's registration total was 328,261. Many political analysts have theorized that the party, which has received very few votes in recent California elections, maintains its state ballot status because people join the Party mistakenly believing that they are registering as an "independent," also known as a "non-partisan" or "decline-to-state" voter. One such voter was Jennifer Siebel, fiancée of San Francisco's liberal Democratic mayor Gavin Newsom; in 2008, Siebel attempted to change her party affiliation from Republican to Non-Partisan, but "checked the American Independent box thinking that was what independent voters were supposed to do," according to the San Francisco Chronicle.
2008 leadership dispute 
A split in the American Independent Party occurred during the 2008 presidential campaign, one faction recognizing Jim King as chairman of the AIP with the other recognizing Ed Noonan as chairman. Noonan's faction claims the old AIP main website while the King organization claims the AIP's blog. King's group met in Los Angeles on June 28-29, elected King to state chair. Ed Noonan's faction, which included 8 of the 17 AIP officers, held a convention in Sacramento on July 5, 2008. Issues in the split were US foreign policy and the influence of Constitution Party founder Howard Phillips on the state party.
The King group elected to stay in the Constitution Party and supported its presidential candidate, Chuck Baldwin. It was not listed as the "Qualified Political Party" by the California Secretary of State and Baldwin's name was not printed in the state's ballots. King's group sued for ballot access  and their case was dismissed without prejudice.
The Noonan group voted to pull out of the Constitution Party and join a new party called America's Party, put together by perennial candidate Alan Keyes as a vehicle for his own presidential campaign. Since Noonan was on record with the California Secretary of State as (outgoing) party chairman, Keyes was added to the state ballots as the AIP candidate. This group elected Markham Robinson as its new chair at the convention.
The King faction website is now billed as the Constitution Party of California, stating "Vote Constitution Party--the only party fighting for a return to Constitutional government!"; but continuing with a list of "2010 California Candidates: We endorse the following candidates who are running under the "American Independent" banner in California for 2010!"
Presidential candidates 
- 1968 George C. Wallace/Curtis LeMay
- 1972 John G. Schmitz/Thomas J. Anderson
- 1976 Lester Maddox/William Dyke
- 1980 John Rarick/Eileen Shearer
- 1988 James Griffin/Charles Morsa
- 1992 Howard Phillips/Albion Knight, Jr. – U.S. Taxpayers Party
- 1996 Howard Phillips/Herb Titus – U.S. Taxpayers Party
- 2000 Howard Phillips/Curtis Frazier – Constitution Party
- 2004 Michael A. Peroutka/Chuck Baldwin – Constitution Party
- 2008 Chuck Baldwin/Darrell Castle – Constitution Party (disputed) (write-in candidate)
- 2008 Alan Keyes/Wiley Drake – America's Independent Party (disputed) (ballot candidate)
- 2012 Edward C. Noonan Winner of the California Primary - America's Independent Party (ballot candidate) (Was not nominated by the 14 people at the AIP State Convention.)
- 2012 Tom Hoefling/Robert Ornelas –America's Independent Party (ballot candidate)
- 2012 Virgil Goode/Jim Clymer – Constitution Party (disputed) (write-in candidate)
California gubernatorial candidates 
The American Independent Party has nominated the following candidates for Governor of California:
- 1982 Jim Griffin - 56,249 votes (0.7%)
- 1986 Gary V. Miller - 50,547 votes (0.7%)
- 1990 Jerome McCready - 139,661 votes (1.8%)
- 1994 Jerome McCready - 133,870 votes (1.5%)
- 1998 Nathan E. Johnson - 37,955 votes (0.5%)
- 2002 Reinhold Gulke - 128,035 votes (1.7%)
- 2003 Diane Beall Templin - 1,067 votes (0.01%)
- 2006 Edward C. Noonan - 61,901 votes (0.7%)
- 2010 Chelene Nightingale - 166,308 votes (1.6%)
- Bill Shearer: 1967–1999
- Nathan Johnson: 1999–2002
- Jim King/Reed R. Heustis: 2002–2004
- Nancy Spirkoff: 2004–2006
- Edward C. Noonan/Mark Seidenberg: 2006–2008
- Disputed: Chair is either Jim King or Markham Robinson: 2008–present
- Winger, Richard. "EARLY 2008 REGISTRATION TOTALS", Ballot Access News, March 2008.
- Voting at the Political Fault Line: California's Experiment With the Blanket Primary (2002), page 219. ISBN 0-520-22834-0.
- Newsom's girlfriend stumbles into wrong party
- Quirk, Cody. "AIP holds its State Convention, endorses Chuck Baldwin and reaffirms CP affiliation", Third Party Watch, June 30, 2008.
- Bock, Alan. "American-Independent split". Orange County Register Horserace '08. Wednesday, July 2nd, 2008.
- California Secretary of State - Elections & Voter Information - Quaified Political Parties
- Quirk, Cody. "Statement from Jim King, AIP Chairman", Third Party Watch, July 22, 2008.
- Winger, Richard. "Keyes Wins California Lawsuit on Procedural Issue", Ballot Access News, August 26, 2008.
- Garris, Eric. "California Ballot: Alan Keyes Replaces Chuck Baldwin on American Independent Party Ticket", Third Party Watch, July 22, 2008.
- Blog of "King faction" now billed as the Constitution Party of California accessed August 11, 2010
- American Independent Party King faction.
- American Independent Party of California Noonan faction.
- American Independent Party at JoinCalifornia