Montanans dismayed with both Democrat Hillary Clinton and Republican Donald Trump will have other options when they vote at the top of the ticket this fall.
The Montana Secretary of State’s office said Thursday that supporters of Jill Stein of the Green Party and Roque “Rocky” De La Fuente of the American Delta Party each turned in more than the 5,000 signatures required to place their candidates on the ballot.
Including Libertarian Gary Johnson, a former Republican governor of New Mexico, the total number of candidates on Montana’s ballot is now five.
“Jill Stein is the only candidate prepared to lead a revolution for economic, social and environmental justice in a time when catastrophe is in daily occurrence,” said Ryan Moore of Bozeman, the statewide coordinator for Stein’s signature-gathering campaign. “We do not get to silence the voices of opposition to the political establishment and call ourselves a democracy.”
Stein, 66, is a physician living in Lexington, Massachusetts. She is a frequent candidate and ran for president in 2012 on a progressive populist message.
“We have turned in more than double the amount of signatures needed to qualify for ballot access,” Moore added. “That is good proof that we Montanans are ready for a third party voice and are sick of what the out-of-touch major parties corrupted by dark money and super-PACs have to offer to the working and middle-class electorate.”
De La Fuente, 61, is a California businessman who moved to Orlando, Florida, this year. After losing the Democratic presidential primary nomination, De La Fuente founded the American Delta Party in order to continue campaigning. He’s simultaneously running for Florida’s U.S. Senate seat. De La Fuente’s campaign hadn’t returned an email seeking comment Thursday.
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Growing discontent with the corporate-funded Democratic and Republican parties could manifest itself in greater numbers than ever before. Last fall, a Gallup poll found that 60 percent of Americans believed that our democracy needs a third party. And this year, many supporters of Bernie Sanders in Montana have quickly pivoted to supporting Stein and, to a lesser extent, Johnson.
“I have attended several events throughout Montana…. There is evidence that the unpopularity of the Democratic and Republican nominees is boosting interest in Gary Johnson, and a lesser degree the Libertarian Party,” said Francis Wendt of Bozeman who is organizing Johnson’s campaign here. “More specifically I have had Democratic and Republican candidates in state races admit that they have Libertarian leanings.
“We ran a booth at the fair in Billings where several hundred people had positive interactions with our volunteer staff. In my personal interactions while manning the booth the statement that kept coming up was that people didn’t like their choices. It is difficult to quantify given the data, but from my experience supporting Johnson in 2012, there is exponential growth in people’s reception to him as a candidate.”
Author: Troy Carter, Chronicle Staff Writer
Date: Aug 25, 2016
Troy Carter can be reached at 582-2630 or [email protected] He’s on Twitter at @cartertroy.