Party Reforms Thinking
Roman, Dave, The Florida Times Union
Leave it to the Reform Party to be different.
The entire world is talking about the White House sex scandal,
and the Reform Party is focused on issues.
Ross Perot may be out of the picture, but the charts and graphs
are still with us.
After twice failing to capture the White House, the Reform
Party apparently has decided for the moment to focus on less
lofty goals. Reform leaders are sticking to the serious work of
building a political party from the ground up, or at least
closer to the ground than their previous efforts.
In Florida, that means shooting for a congressional seat and
trying to change the state Constitution.
After collecting more than 15,000 signed petitions to get
Reform Party candidate Jack Gargan on the ballot in Florida's
5th Congressional District, party officials are turning their
attention to a proposed amendment to the state Constitution
that would even the playing field for Gargan and other minor
Gargan, the first minor party candidate to qualify for a
congressional race in Florida, will face Rep. Karen Thurmam, a
Democrat, in the November election for the district that
stretches from Gainesville west to Pasco County and north along
Florida's Gulf Coast. The Republicans have no candidate.
"We've got to get Revision 11 to the Constitution passed to
make ballot access more fair to minority parties," said Janet
Stanko, who chairs the Duval County Reform Party. "We actually
had to sacrifice some candidates in order to qualify just one."
What Stanko means by that is Reform Party volunteers had to
give up helping other candidates to concentrate on the difficult
task of gathering enough signatures to get Gargan on the ballot.
Unlike a Republican or Democratic candidate, Gargan wasn't
allowed to simply pay a qualifying fee to get his name on the
ballot. Instead, Florida law required Gargan, a member of one
the "minor parties," to collect signatures from 3 percent of
registered voters in the 5th District.
What makes the law even more unfair to minor party candidates
is that Republicans and Democrats who choose to qualify by
petition rather than pay a fee need to collect signatures from
only 3 percent of the voters in their own parties.
Not surprisingly, such unequal treatment has united the state
leaders of the Reform Party, Green Party, Libertarian Party,
Natural Law Party, Socialist Party and American Reform Party in
an effort to pass Constitutional Revision 11. …