Perennial candidate

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Mike The Mover has run for various offices under various political affiliations on 17 occasions to promote his furniture moving business.

A perennial candidate is a political candidate who frequently runs for elected office and rarely, if ever, wins.[1] Perennial candidates' existence lies in the fact that in some countries, there are no laws that limit a number of times a person can run for office, or laws that impose a non-negligible financial penalty on registering to run for election.[2]


A number of modern articles related to electoral politics or elections have identified those who have run for elected office and lost two to three times, and then decide to mount a campaign again as perennial candidates.[3][4][5] However, some articles have listed a number of notable exceptions.[2][6]

Some who have had their campaign applications rejected by their country's electoral authority multiple times have also been labelled as perennial candidates.[7]

Reason for running[edit]

It has been noted that some perennial candidates take part in an election with the aim of winning,[3][8] and some do have ideas to convey on the campaign trail, regardless of their chance for winning.[2][9]

Some perennial candidates may mount a run as a way to help strengthen his or her party's standing in a parliamentary body, in an effort to become kingmaker in the event of a political stalemate.[10]

Some perennial candidates have been accused of running for office continuously as a way to get public election funding.[11] Some have also been accused of being backed by the government of their country, in an effort to make the government appear more rational in comparison.[12]




Due to the complex and intricate political system in Brazil concerning political parties, there are more than 30 political parties. In this scenario, it is very useful to have hopeless candidates who can make a good number of votes and increase the overall votes count of a party (or coalition). As a consequence, there are thousands of small perennial candidates for local elections around the country, whose sole purpose is helping others get elected, then ask for a job in the elected government cabinet.[original research?]

  • Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva ran for President of Brazil in 1989, 1994 and 1998, ranking second on each occasion. He ultimately won by landslide in 2002, and was re-elected in 2006.
  • José Maria Eymael, a fringe political figure, ran for the Presidency five times (1998, 2006, 2010, 2014 and 2018); he failed to reach 1% of the votes in any of those. He also unsuccessfully ran for mayor of São Paulo in 1985 and 1992, though he won two terms on the lower house of the National Congress of Brazil, from 1987 to 1995.
  • Rui Costa Pimenta, leader and founder of the Trotskyist Workers' Cause Party, ran for the Presidency in 2002, 2010 and 2014 (his candidacy in 2006 was blocked by the Superior Electoral Court). He was last in all his runs, with his best performance being 0.04% of the votes in 2002.
  • Vera Guasso, labor union leader and member of the Unified Socialist Workers Party (PSTU), ran for the Porto Alegre city assembly, mayor of Porto Alegre, the Brazilian Senate and other positions in a non-stop serial candidacy (every two years) from the early 90s on. In her best results, she had numbers of votes in local Porto Alegre elections similar to those of lesser-voted elected candidates but did not get a seat due to her party's overall voting being small. PSTU traditionally enters elections with no visible chance to, allegedly, "put a leftist set of points in discussion" and "build the party" but has lately achieved some expressive numbers.[citation needed]
  • Enéas Carneiro, a cardiologist and founder of the far-right Party of the Reconstruction of the National Order (PRONA), ran for presidency three times, in 1989, 1994 and 1998. He was mostly known for his comical style of speech on political broadcasts (due in part to the reduced TV time his party had) and his distinct beard. He also ran for mayor in São Paulo at the 2000 elections, before finally being elected federal deputy in 2002 with record voting. He was re-elected in 2006 but died in 2007 from myeloid leukemia.
  • José Maria de Almeida, leader of the Trotskyist United Socialist Workers' Party, ran for the Presidency in four occasion 1998, 2002, 2010 and 2014. His best performance was in 2002 when he got 0.47% of the votes.
  • Levy Fidelix, leader and founder of the conservative Brazilian Labour Renewal Party, ran for all municipal and general elections held in Brazil from 1996 to 2020. He was twice candidate for the Presidency (in 2010 and 2014), twice candidate for the Government of São Paulo (in 1998 and 2002) and five times candidate for the Prefecture of São Paulo (in 1996, 2008, 2012, 2016 and 2020), never being elected for any position in his political career. He succumbed to COVID-19 on 23 April 2021.




  • Horacio Serpa Uribe, three-times Liberal Party's presidential candidate (1998, 2002, 2006).
  • Antanas Mockus, two-times presidential candidate (2006, 2010), one-time vicepresidential candidate (1998).
  • Noemí Sanín, three-times Conservative Party's presidential candidate (1998, 2002, 2010).
  • Álvaro Gómez Hurtado, three times Conservative Party's presidential candidate (1974, 1986, 1990).
  • Enrique Peñalosa, five-times Bogotá´s mayor candidate (1994, 1997, 2007, 2011, 2015), one-time senatorial candidate (2006), one-time presidential candidate (2014).
  • Gustavo Petro, three-times presidential candidate (2010, 2018, 2022).
  • Sergio Fajardo, two-times presidential candidate (2018, 2022), one-time vice presidential candidate (2010).

Costa Rica[edit]


  • Álvaro Noboa ran unsuccessfully for president in 1998, 2002, 2006, 2009 and 2013; he attempted to run for president in 2021 but his candidacy was suspended by the electoral authorities due to an alleged violation of registration requirements.


  • Nicolás Zúñiga y Miranda was a presidential candidate 10 times: 1892, 1896, 1900, 1904, 1910, 1911, 1913, 1917, 1920 and 1924 and also tried to run for a seat in the Congress of Mexico at least twice. The eccentric Zúñiga never got more than a few votes, but always claimed to have been the victim of fraud and considered himself to be the legitimate President.
  • Cuauhtémoc Cárdenas was a presidential candidate three times: 1988, 1994 and 2000, also was elected the first Head of Government of Mexico City in 1997, was the leader of PRD, the left-wing mayor party and was Governor of the state of Michoacan.
  • Andrés Manuel López Obrador ran unsuccessfully for president two times, in 2006 and 2012, before being elected president in 2018. He failed to acknowledge the results of his first presidential loss in 2006, protesting for months in the capital of the country during the aftermath.


  • Ciro Galvez ran unsuccessfully for president three times in 2001, 2006 and the most recent in 2021 and ran unsuccessfully for Governor twice in 2002 and 2006.
  • Keiko Fujimori, the daughter of imprisoned dictator Alberto Fujimori ran unsuccessfully for president three times in 2011, 2016 and 2021, each time losing in the run-off.
  • Verónika Mendoza, ran unsuccessfully for president in 2016 and 2021, did not qualify for the run-off in both rounds
  • Fernando Olivera ran unsuccessfully for president four times in 2001, 2006, 2016 and 2021 in which in 2006, he withdrew from the race and in 2021, his candidacy was rejected.
  • Máximo San Roman ran for the vice presidency four times between 1990, 1995, 2006 and 2011 in which, in 1990, he was successful and ran for the presidency on in 2000.

United States[edit]






  • Raila Odinga leader of Orange Democratic Movement has been in the ballot five times—1997, 2007, 2013 and 2017. Prior to that and under the old Kenyan Constitution, Raila was a Member of Parliament for the Lang'ata Constituency Raila who is referred to as 'Baba' by his followers.






Asia and Oceania[edit]



Hong Kong[edit]

  • Avery Ng
  • Bull Tsang
  • Frederick Fung, initially gained success in almost every election, including District Council, Urban Council and Legislative Council election since 1983. However, since 2015, Fung faced consecutive failures in every election he participated, including 2015 (District Council), 2016 (Legislative Council), March 2018 (Democratic Primary), November 2018 (Legislative Council By-election) and 2019 (District Council). He lost popularity because of his unwillingness to retire, as the Pro-democracy supporters having negative feelings on gerontocracy.






  • Bin Akao ran in numerous elections for his Greater Japan Patriotic Party until 1989, one year prior to his death.
  • Mac Akasaka, real name Makoto Tonami, was a candidate for many political offices, especially the governor of Tokyo 2012,[26] 2016[27] and mayor of Osaka in 2014.[28]
  • Yūtokutaishi Akiyama, an engraver artist, photographer, was a candidate for Governor of Tokyo 1975 and 1979, bringing pop art into the process.
  • Teruki Gotō was a candidate for Mayor of Chiyoda Ward, Tokyo (2013),[29] City Assembly of Chiyoda (2015),[30] and the Governor of Tokyo (2016).[27]
  • Hideyoshi Seizo Hashiba ran in numerous elections from 1976 to 2011.
  • Mitsuo Matayoshi (alias Jesus Matayoshi), leader of the World Economic Community Party and self-proclaimed Messiah, has run in at least nine local and national elections since 1997.
  • Yoshiro Nakamatsu (alias Dr. NakaMats), inventor and perennial candidate in Tokyo, has unsuccessfully campaigned to be elected Governor of Tokyo numerous times since 1995, most recently in 2014.[31]

New Zealand[edit]






Czech Republic[edit]

  • Jana Bobošíková is known for a series of unsuccessful candidatures in various elections. She unsuccessfully ran two times for President of the Czech Republic (2008 and 2013), the Chamber of Deputies (2010 and 2013), the Senate (2010 and 2012), Mayor of Prague (2010) and general manager of Czech Television (2009).
  • Petr Hannig is the leader of Party of Common Sense. Since 2002, he has repeatedly run for the Chamber of Deputies and Senate.[37][38] He also ran for Czech presidency in 2018 election.,[39] but failed as well, ending last but one with 0,57% of votes.
  • Miroslav Sládek ran for the Czechoslovak presidency in 1992. After dissolution of Czechoslovakia he sought the Czech presidency in 1993, 1998 and 2018.[40] He withdrawn from 2018 election due to failure of his party in the 2017 legislative election.[41]
  • Jan Švejnar unsuccessfully ran for the Czech presidency in 2008. He also ran for the position in 2013 but withdrew. He planned to run for the office in 2018 but he did not receive political support. Some politicians noted that Švejnar lives in the United States and "shows up in the Czech Republic only when there is a presidential election."[42]




Helmut Palmer's house in Geradstetten boasted some of his German election percentages.
  • Helmut Palmer (1930–2004) stood without any success for about 250 elections as mayor in villages and cities in southwestern Germany and various times as independent candidate for the Bundestag.[44] His son Boris Palmer became mayor of Tübingen.


  • Ástþór Magnússon is an Icelandic businessman and politician who unsuccessfully campaigned for the post of President of Iceland five times; in 1996, 2000, 2004, 2012 and 2016.



  • Marco Pannella is described by many as a perennial candidate, even though he was actually elected multiple times as a member of the Italian Parliament, the European Parliament, and the municipal councils of a handful of cities.



  • Janusz Korwin-Mikke unsuccessfully ran for President five times (1995, 2000, 2005, 2010 and 2015). He also unsuccessfully ran for Polish parliament nine times (1993, 1997, 2001, 2004 (two times, by-elections for Senate), 2005, 2007, 2013 and 2015), for European Parliament (2004, 2019), four times for regional assemblies (2002, 2006, 2007, 2010) and three times for President of Warsaw (2006, 2010, 2018). However, in 2014 he was elected for member of European Parliament and, in 2019, after a 26-year break, for member of Sejm, starting from Confederation Liberty and Independence list.
  • Kornel Morawiecki unsuccessfully ran for President three times in 1990, 2010 and 2015, achieving necessary 100,000 signatures to be registered as candidate only in 2010. He also unsuccessfully ran for Sejm in 1991, and for Senate in 2007. Eventually, he succeeded for the first time when he became an MP in 2015.


  • Corneliu Vadim Tudor, former president and founder of PRM, unsuccessfully ran for President five times in 1996, 2000, 2004, 2009 and 2014. His biggest score was in 2000 when he gained 33.2% in the second round against Ion Iliescu.


United Kingdom[edit]


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  2. ^ a b c Brown, Chris (29 September 2015). "Canada election 2015: Perennial candidates make running and losing a full-time job". Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 28 August 2021.
  3. ^ a b Weeks, Linton (23 September 2011). "Also-Rans: What Drives The Perennial Candidates?". NPR. Retrieved 28 August 2021. For the purposes of this story, we are defining the perennial presidential candidate as someone who runs for — and loses — the race to the White House at least twice. And then runs again.
  4. ^ "Iran's presidential election: Who the candidates are". BBC News. 28 May 2021. Retrieved 28 August 2021. [Mohsen Rezai] has stood three times as president, and never held public office, having also failed in a bid to be elected to parliament in 2000. He is commonly referred to as a "perennial candidate".
  5. ^ Samuels, Alex; Radcliffe, Mary (9 June 2021). "Most Candidates Take The Hint After Two Losses. Why Won't Beto O'Rourke and Charlie Crist?". FiveThirtyEight. Retrieved 28 August 2021. ...both O’Rourke and Crist are risking their political credibility if they run again and lose, as they’ve already failed to win two consecutive runs for office. Even worse, they could be marked as perennial candidates.
  6. ^ Zeitz, Josh (8 February 2015). "The Death of the Three-Time Candidate". Politico Magazine. Retrieved 27 August 2021. Henry Clay, whom Abraham Lincoln called his “beau ideal of a statesman,” ran for president four times. No one remembers him as a joke. William Jennings Bryan was a three-time Democratic presidential nominee. Also not a joke. Adlai Stevenson, twice nominated. Hubert Humphrey, Stassen’s fellow Minnesotan, ran three times. Ronald Reagan lost the GOP nomination in 1968 and 1976 before his victory in 1980. Definitely not a joke.
  7. ^ Kenyon, Peter (31 May 2021). "Iran's Presidential Candidate Slate Leans Heavily Toward Hard-Liners". NPR. Retrieved 29 August 2021. ...a former president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, was rejected again. He's becoming known as a perennial candidate.
  8. ^ Bor, Jonathan (2 October 2005). "Perennial candidate 'always ran to win'". The Baltimore Sun. Retrieved 29 August 2021.
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