America's Party (political party)
|Founded||August 21, 2008|
|Split from||Constitution Party|
|Headquarters||Fenton, Michigan, U.S.|
|Seats in the Senate||
0 / 100
|Seats in the House||
0 / 435
0 / 50
|Seats in State Upper Houses||
0 / 1,921
|Seats in State Lower Houses||
0 / 5,410
America's Party, founded as America's Independent Party, is a conservative American political party formed in August 2008 in an offshoot of the Constitution Party by supporters of Alan Keyes, with the goal of an alternative to the Republican and Democratic party system. It selected party leader Tom Hoefling in the 2012 presidential election, and Hoefling is seeking the party nomination again in the 2016 Presidential election.
Alan Keyes 2008 candidacy before the AIP
Alan Keyes declared his candidacy for President seeking the Republican nomination on September 14, 2007. Just three days later, Keyes placed third in the Family Research Council's Values Voter straw poll, behind Mike Huckabee and Ron Paul, garnering 5% of support.
The Keyes campaign drew limited support in any of the caucuses or primaries that took place. In the Iowa caucuses, Keyes claimed some of the state's ballots did not even list him as a candidate, and his campaign CEO, Stephen Stone, stated that the reason Keyes did not show up on most ballots was primarily because Keyes had decided to enter the election cycle so late. He also blamed the media for not recognizing Keyes as a viable candidate, excluding him from debates and providing practically no campaign coverage.
Keyes was awarded four Republican Party convention delegates, more than he received in 1996 but less than in 2000. In early 2008, Keyes explored the possibility of allying himself with the Constitution Party, marking this change away from his lifelong involvement in the GOP with a speech on April 15 in Hazleton, Pennsylvania, a town which has been a battleground in the political fight over illegal immigration. However, due primarily to his fundamental disagreement with CP founder Howard Phillips over foreign policy, the party instead selected Chuck Baldwin at the party's convention. Following the defeat, Keyes told a group of his supporters that he was "prayerfully considering" continuing his candidacy as an independent, and refused to endorse Baldwin.
Following the failure to come together with the Constitution Party, Keyes' supporters formed America's Independent Party, which held its convention in Fenton, Michigan on August 21, 2008, making Keyes their Presidential nominee. A press release from the party said: "John McCain has abandoned the principles of Ronald Reagan – particularly the Reagan pro-life platform plank," and the party also opposed John McCain on other points, such as his opposition to a federal amendment outlawing marriage for same-sex couples, sponsoring McCain/Feingold legislation, which they said was "a direct attack on their First Amendment rights to political free speech and grassroots citizen activism;" they also opposed his support for immigration reform, deriding it as "amnesty" and his support for legislation intended to combat global warming. The AIP gained ballot access in three states and became a recognized write-in candidate in several dozen others. A struggle within the American Independent Party of California (the California affiliate of the Constitution Party), between a pro-Keyes faction and Constitution Party supporters of the 2008 candidacy of Chuck Baldwin, led to the placement of Keyes and Wiley S. Drake on the ballot as the AIP-CA nominees, where they received 40,673 votes. Two lawsuits by the Baldwin forces to regain control of the California AIP, one before the election and one after, failed. Keyes also received 2,550 votes on the AIP ticket in Florida, 3,051 votes in Colorado, and write-in votes in a few other states, for a nationwide total of 47,941 recorded votes, or 0.04% of the national popular vote, with approximately 85% of votes for the ticket cast in California.
Renaming and financing
According to the party's official website, it has renamed itself "America's Party". The party's website announces that, "America's Party does not accept financial contributions.... Instead, we're asking you to directly support fully-vetted, proven, principled candidates, so that 100% of your precious resources will go directly to the most important work." Instead, the party maintains a "Directory of Approved Candidates, State, County & Local Front Porch Caucuses" on its website (paid for by party Chairman Tom Hoefling). There was a convention on February 18, 2012 to nominate candidates for President and Vice President resulting in the nominations of Tom Hoefling as presidential candidate and J.D. Ellis as vice-presidential candidate. During this convention the America's Party also ratified its 2012 platform.
America's Party has several outreach groups. Having stated that the mainstream news media is biased against conservatives, the party maintains its own "America's Party News" site. Party members may submit news reports and opinion columns via the "We Are the Media" outreach group. Another outreach group is "Can-Do USA", which appeals to business owners, inventors, entrepreneurs, etc. " Veterans United to Save America" (V-USA) is the outreach group to military veterans. That group is chaired by screen actor Tom Kovach, who is a former Security Police staff sergeant in the U.S. Air Force.
The party seeks to reform the tax structure by advocating the repeal of the 16th Amendment, and despite the fact that many members support the FairTax, the platform remains open to other replacements for the federal income tax.
2012 presidential election
On February 18, 2012, Party chairman Tom Hoefling was chosen as the America's Party 2012 presidential nominee in an online nominating convention. J.D. Ellis was selected as the vice presidential nominee. The ticket received 40,624 votes in the election, or 0.03% of the national popular vote, with about 95% of the votes coming from California.
2016 presidential election
In late January, founding chairman Tom Hoefling announced that he would again run for president. Three weeks later, on President's Day, V-USA chairman Tom Kovach announced that he was "testing the waters" for a possible presidential campaign. The party's nominating convention is planned for July.
- "US Constitution Party". United States political partiesAffiliations.com. Retrieved May 27, 2011.
- Luo, Michael (September 18, 2007). "Values Voters Pick Huckabee". The New York Times. Retrieved April 23, 2010.
- Tommy Birch (2008-01-03). "Keyes garners little support in Iowa". IowaStateDaily.com. Archived from the original on 2008-01-26. Retrieved 2008-01-21.
- Penn, Steve. Constitution Party stunner: Chuck Baldwin KOs firebrand Alan Keyes. Kansas City Star, 26 April 2008.
- Hill, Trent "Keyes' Continuing Candidacy", Third Party Watch.com. April 27, 2008
- Kraske, Steve "Constitution Party stunner II: Keyes won't back Chuck Baldwin for president, suggests party used him", KansasCity Star. April 30, 2008
- "Alan Keyes Acceptance Speech"
- Brill, Sanford. "Florida Department of State - Election Results".
- "Ballot Access News -- December 1, 2008".
- "No donations".
- "America’s Party nominates Hoefling and Ellis, ratifies platform".
- "Category & forums listing - America's Party News".
- "Security Check Required".
- "Tom Kovach".
- "Alan Keyes’ Party Qualifies for Florida Ballot". Ballot Access News. February 29, 2012. Retrieved March 8, 2012.