Five people have been approved for listing as Independent candidates for president on Tennessee’s November ballot, including four who are otherwise designated as nominees by national party organizations less known than the Democratic and Republican parties.
Tennessee’s list of presidential candidates was finalized Thursday, according to a spokesman for the state Division of Elections, overseen by Secretary of State Tre Hargett.
Only Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton and Republican nominee Donald Trump will be identified by party affiliation on the Nov. 8 statewide ballot under a state law that has been the subject of lawsuits in recent years. But four are campaigning nationally as nominees of third parties. They are:
Roque “Rocky” De La Fuente, a wealthy Orlando businessman who is also one of five candidates for the Democratic nomination to the U.S. Senate in Florida’s Aug. 30 primary elections. In the presidential race, he is running as nominee of the Reform Party, founded in 1995 by Texas billionaire Ross Perot, though the party’s website says Perot is no longer active in the group.
Gary Johnson, former Republican governor of New Mexico, who is the Libertarian nominee for president. Nationally, the website RealClear Politics says Johnson is averaging about 9 percent of the vote in polling matchups against Clinton and Trump, the highest polling average for a third-party candidate since Perot ran in 1996 and finished with 19 percent of the vote on election day.
Alyson Kennedy of Chicago, a former coal miner who is running as the Socialist Workers Party candidate.
Jill Stein, a Massachusetts physician who is the Green Party nominee and has gained some national attention — notably by saying earlier in the year that should would abandon her candidacy if Bernie Sanders won the Democratic nomination. Real Clear Politics says she gets about 3.5 percent support nationally on average when included in polls with Clinton, Trump and Johnson.
The fifth independent candidate on Tennessee’s ballot will be Mike Smith, a Colorado Springs, Colo., lawyer specializing in advising small businesses, who is running without any party affiliation. His campaign website says he founded law firms in both Tennessee and Colorado, but does not name them. WVLT, Channel 8, has reported Smith is a graduate of Farragut High School.
Five others filed qualifying petitions with the state Division of Elections but failed to qualify by the deadline by failing to get the required 275 signatures on the petition from registered Tennessee voters. Evan McMullin, a former CIA agent and banker who lives in Washington, got just 129 on his Tennessee petition, according to Politico, which has joined some other national media outlets in reporting on McMullin’s campaign as an anti-Trump conservative.
Others filing petitions in Tennessee but failing to qualify for the ballot were Darrell Castle of Germantown, Tenn.; James Germalie of Parma, Ohio; David Limbaugh of Murfreesboro; Kyle Kopike of Flint, Mich.; and Emidio Soltysik of Los Angeles, according to a list provided by Adam Ghassemi, spokesman for Hargett.