I recently published my criticism of Ron Paul’s decision to not run as a Third Party or Independent candidate for President once he lost his bid for the GOP nomination. I suggested that he made a poor choice by not doing so because he had the momentum to truly make a mark on this election. I must retract my criticism on this point because, as it turns out, Ron Paul didn’t really have an option.
Ron Paul had no choice in the matter. The GOP primary ballot access laws in several states force candidates to pledge to not run on another party’s ticket if they should not win the Republican nomination. In an email sent to us (included below) by Jesse Benton, Ron Paul’s spokesman and campaign communications manager, clarified this fact:
I enjoy your writing very much and check your website regularly. As a fan, I do have clear one point up with you.
Ron Paul could not have run Libertarian if he wanted to. In order to be on the GOP Primary Ballot in at least 11 states, including Texas, Ron had to pledge that he would not seek the presidency on another ticket if he failed to secure the GOP nomination. Not running third party was the price of admission.
We are certainly open to fair criticism of Dr. Paul. But criticizing him for not running third party is not fair criticism. I hope this clears things up.
I replied to Jesse thanking him for the clarification and expressed a wish that Ron Paul had mentioned this fact when asked about a third party run by the media. I was not aware of such rules and I expect many others who have been critical of Paul for “choosing” not to run on another party’s ticket were not aware of such rules.
So in the end, once Ron Paul was on the ballot in one of these “GOP hostage” states he gave up his ability to run outside the Republican Party.
Hopefully, this information will temper the criticism of Ron Paul on this point. Thanks to Jesse Benton for granting me permission to post his email.