In 2016, third party candidate Gary Johnson set the record for the Libertarian Party’s best-ever electoral result with 3.27 percent of total votes. The other third party candidate, Jill Stein of the Green Party, received about 1.1 percent of votes. While those votes didn’t put a dent in the electoral college, Johnson and Stein’s presence on the ballot did have an effect on the Democratic and Republican candidates’ overall votes.
In 2020, more third party candidates have the potential to stir things up.
Particularly in Maine, where the 2020 General Election will implement ranked-choice voting in the presidential race for the first time in U.S. history, third party candidates will likely have a greater impact than in other states.
Alliance Party candidate Roque “Rocky” De La Fuente says he hopes the use of ranked-choice voting in Maine will send a message to the two controlling parties.
“Rank choice voting provides Maine voters the opportunity to vote for me, and other third party and independent candidates like me, to take office and begin to bring about the necessary changes this state and nation so desperately need,” De La Fuente said.
De La Fuente will appear on General Election ballots 16 states, including Maine. Howie Hawkins of the Green Party and Jo Jorgensen of the Libertarian Party are other notable candidates, though a handful of others—such as Kanye West—are set to appear on at least five states’ ballots.
Jo Jorgensen is the Libertarian candidate. Her running mate is Jeremy "Spike" Cohen.
Here's what we know about Jorgensen:
- Jorgensen was nominated to be the Libertarian nominee in May at the party's convention.
- She is the first woman presidential nominee for the Libertarian party.
- Jorgensen was Harry Browne's Libertarian Vice-Presidential nominee in the 1996 election.
- Her running mate, Cohen, is the host and co-host of several podcasts.
- Jorgensen has a background in business and marketing, and has a Ph.D. industrial and organizational psychology.
- She ran for South Carolina's 4th Congressional District in 1992.
- She says "big government mandates" have created problems—like the $26 trillion national debt, war, high health care costs, and more—and to solve them, she wants to make government "much, much smaller."
The Jorgensen/Cohen ticket will appear on the ballot in all 50 states and Washington, D.C.
Learn more about Jorgensen's and her platform here.
RELATED: Third party presidential candidate Jo Jorgensen campaigns in Maine, spreads message of Libertarian Party
Howie Hawkins is the Green Party candidate this election. His running mate is Angela Nicole Walker.
Here's what we know about Hawkins:
- Clinched the Green Party nomination in June after winning more than 176 delegates in Green Party caucuses and primaries; he was formally nominated as the party candidate at the Green Party National Convention in July.
- Hawkins' running mate Angela Nicole Walker is a veteran and labor activist.
- He was the Green Party's candidate for governor in New York in 2010, 2014, and 2018.
- He is a Marine Corps veteran who served in the Vietnam War.
- He was the first candidate to campaign for a Green New Deal during his 2010 Gubernatorial run.
The Hawkins/Walker ticket will appear on the 2020 General Election ballot in 30 states and territories, including Washington, D.C. and Guam, and will be conducting a write-in campaign in 17 other states. The campaign is facing legal challenges to get on the ballot in Pennsylvania, Louisiana, Nevada, and Oklahoma. For a full list of states that will have Hawkins on the ballot, click here.
Learn more about Hawkins' and his platform here.
Roque "Rocky" De La Fuente
Roque "Rocky" De La Fuente is the Alliance Party candidate nominee for president. His running mate is Darcy Richardson.
Here's what we know about De La Fuente:
- He won the Alliance Party nomination in April. About the Alliance Party: Founded in 2018, the Alliance Party seeks to elect public servants "who will end corruption, stagnation, and partisan politics."
- He is also the Reform Party and American Independence Party nominee.
- He ran as a Republican in the 2018 U.S. Senate races in California, Delaware, Florida, Hawaii, Minnesota, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington, and Wyoming. He was defeated in the primaries. He also ran for U.S. Senate in Florida in 2016.
- De La Fuente was the Reform Party presidential candidate in the 2016 election, though he previously sought the Democratic nomination in the 2016 election as well.
- He is the son of Mexican immigrants.
- In 1992, he was the first Hispanic American to serve as Superdelegate for California at a Democratic National Convention.
- His running mate, Darcy Richardson, is an author, historian, and activist.
The De La Fuente/Richardson ticket will appear on the ballot in 15 states and will run a write-in campaign in three states. He is on the ballot in California with Kanye West as his running mate.
Learn more about De La Fuente and his platform here.
Rapper and fashion designer Kanye West is running as a member of the "Birthday Party" in the 2020 Election. His running mate is Michelle Tidball.
Here's what we know about Kanye West's presidential campaign:
- In July, Kanye West launched a scattershot 2020 presidential campaign that many of President Donald Trump’s allies believe could siphon votes away from former Vice President Joe Biden.
- He chose Wyoming preacher Michelle Tidball as his running mate.
- West was blocked by judges in Virginia and Arizona from getting on the ballot.
- West has a bipolar disorder, which he and his wife Kim Kardashian have spoken openly about.
- His campaign has a general focus on issues like reforming the police, student debt, and "restoring prayer in the classroom."
West will be on the ballot in 5 states: Arkansas, Colorado, Oklahoma, Utah, and Vermont. He has pending applications in Iowa, Missouri, Minnesota, and Tennessee. He missed the filing deadline in 25 states, including key swing states Florida, Michigan, and Wisconsin.
Former coal executive Don Blankenship is the Constitution Party candidate. His running mate is William Mohr.
Here's what we know about Blankenship:
- Blankenship is a former coal industry executive, who worked for the Massey Coal Company.
- Blankenship went from prison to politics after serving a one-year sentence related to the deadliest U.S. mine disaster in four decades. He claims he was wrongfully convicted.
- He ran a third-party bid for U.S. Senate in West Virginia in 2018.
- He shares similar views as Trump's 2016 campaign, such as the "drain the swamp" objective and opinions about immigration and border security. However, when Blankenship announced his run in November of 2019, he said Trump doesn't get anything done "because he is too busy mending his self-inflicted wounds and tripping over his ego."
- His running mate, William Mohr, switched his party affiliation from Republican to the Constitution Party. He has a background in the housing industry.
The Blankenship/Mohr ticket will appear on the ballot in 18 states and will have a write-in campaign in Alabama, Pennsylvania, and Vermont.
Click here to learn more about Blankenship and his platform.
Brian Carroll is the American Solidarity Party candidate for president. His running mate is Amar Patel.
Here's what we know about Carroll:
- Carroll is a lifelong educator and Evangelical Christian who is passionately what he calls "whole life."
- He declared his candidacy in April of 2019.
- The American Solidarity Party is a Christian Democratic political party.
- He believes that "a just economy, a peaceful world, and a healthy environment are all life issues."
- "Other candidates champion autonomy of money or autonomy of body. Brian focuses on entirely different questions," his campaign website says.
- His campaign focus is climate protection, health care for all, and protection of life.
The Carroll/Patel ticket will appear on the ballot in 8 states (Colorado, Wisconsin, Illinois, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Vermont, and Rhode Island) and will have a write-in campaign in 21 states. Paperwork to get on the ballot in 5 states has been submitted, while the candidate is ineligible in: Nevada, Montana, Oklahoma, South Carolina, North Carolina, West Virginia, Hawaii, and Maine.
Learn more about Carroll's campaign here.
Alyson Kennedy is a Socialist Workers Party candidate for president. Her running mate is Malcolm Jarrett.
- Kennedy also ran for president in 2016.
- She is a pro-labor union member who works at a Walmart and has worked in coal mines.
- She was the Socialist Workers Party candidate for vice president in 2008 and for U.S. Senate for Illinois in 2010.
- She ran for mayor of Dallas in 2019.
- Kennedy is a women's rights activist who strongly supports a woman's right to abortion.
- Her vice-presidential nominee, Malcolm Jarrett, is an African-American activist and cook from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
Kennedy and Jarrett will appear on the ballot in Colorado and Vermont, with petitions filed in other states.
Gloria La Riva
Gloria La Riva is a Party for Socialism and Liberation candidate for president. Her running mate is Sunil Freeman.
Here's what we know about La Riva's campaign:
- She was also the party's nominee in 2008 and 2016.
- She's a labor, community, and anti-war activist.
- She's also an advocate for immigrant rights.
- Her campaign's focus is climate change, human rights, end racism and police brutality, and full immigrant and LGBTQ rights.
The La Riva/Sunil ticket will appear on the ballot in 15 states and will have a write-in campaign in 12 other states.
Learn more about La Riva and her campaign here.
Brock Pierce is running as an Independent for president. His running mate is Karla Ballard.
Here's what we know about Pierce:
- Pierce is an entrepreneur in the digital currency industry who co-founded the cryptocurrency Tether.
- He's a philanthropist who founded the Integro Foundation to help Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria, as well as the Brock Pierce Foundation, which supports the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, the Center for Individual Rights, the Brennan Center for Human Rights, and the American Civil Liberties Union.
- He was a child actor who appeared in "The Mighty Ducks" and other films.
- Pierce is running "to put an end to the illusion that we live in a flourishing democracy that facilitates solving the real problems facing Americans each and every day."
Pierce is on the ballot in 15 states and Washington, D.C. He's a write-in candidate in Alabama, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Vermont, and Rhode Island.
Learn more about Pierce and his campaign here.
To see which candidates will appear on your state's General Election ballot, visit your Secretary of State's website for sample ballots.