If David French knocks that stupid gorilla off of trends he has my vote
— Stephen Miller (@redsteeze) May 31, 2016
By now you’ve heard the rumor that National Review columnist David French is exploring an independent presidential bid to challenge Donald Trump from the right. But how hard will it be for French — or anyone for that matter — to get on the ballot as an independent this late in the game?
In summary, it’s very tough with the website Ballotpedia estimating it would take almost 900,000 signatures to get on the ballot in every state:
An individual can run as an independent. Independent presidential candidates typically must petition each state to have their names printed on the general election ballot. For the 2016 presidential contest, it was estimated that an independent candidate would need to collect in excess of 900,000 signatures in order to appear on the general election ballot in every state.
Now, as we understand it, the goal of the #NeverTrump isn’t to get their candidate on the ballot everywhere but to target a select few states where the conservative candidate can somehow win the state and deny either Trump or Clinton an electoral college majority, thus throwing the election over to the House of Representatives where the House would then pick the independent over Clinton or Trump.
Ballotpedia helpfully lists each state’s signature requirement and the filing deadline so we’ll know pretty quickly if this strategy is even doable. Georgia, for example, is 7500 signatures by July 12. Utah is 1000 signatures by August 15. Tennessee — French’s home state — requires on 275 signatures by August 18. Texas is already out of play as its deadline was May 9.
The cast of “Morning Joe” — who had talked up the above strategy just last week — weren’t sold on French as the guy, basically saying for it to work you need someone like Mitt Romney to run:
— Morning Joe (@Morning_Joe) June 1, 2016
FWIW, Mitt Romney looks to be signaling his support if French does decide to jump in:
I know David French to be an honorable, intelligent and patriotic person. I look forward to following what he has to say.
— Mitt Romney (@MittRomney) June 1, 2016
Bill Kristol’s only response so far to the French rumor is this tweet from Wednesday morning quoting Theodor Herzl:
Here in Israel, reading about possible @DavidAFrench candidacy, thought of Herzl: Im tirtzu, ein zo agada. If you will it, it is no dream.
— Bill Kristol (@BillKristol) June 1, 2016