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Withdrawn Anti-Obama Kansas Ballot Challenge Continues Major Party Ballot Access Streak

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It has been 48 years since a major party presidential nominee failed to appear on the ballot in every state

kansasseal10.pngWhile there is little doubt that Barack Obama will lose the State of Kansas in the upcoming 2012 presidential election, the recent flare up over whether or not his name would appear on its ballot once again brought the 'birther' issue back into the mainstream.

Late last week, the state's Objections Board heard a challenge from a Kansas resident, Joe Montgomery, who petitioned Obama's name be removed alleging the president did not meet citizenship requirements to hold the office.

The Board was set to rule Monday on the challenge after requesting additional information on Obama's birth certificate from the State of Hawaii, but Montgomery withdrew his challenge over the weekend thus ensuring the president's name will indeed be on the ballot.

(The Objections Board is comprised of three top elected Republican officials: Lieutenant Governor Jeff Colyer, Secretary of State Kris Kobach, and Attorney General Derek Schmidt).

Kansas, of course, has been one of the most reliably Republican states in the nation - supporting the GOP presidential nominee in 20 of the last 23 cycles since 1920, failing to do so only during the Democratic landslide elections of 1932, 1936, and 1964.

But in the unlikely event Obama's name had been removed from the Kansas ballot, it would mark an end to the longest streak in U.S. history in which major party candidates received ballot access across all states in the union.

The last time a major party presidential nominee failed to appear on the ballot in every state was 1964, with Lyndon Johnson in the State of Alabama.

Instead of backing the national nominee for the party, Alabama - governed then by the anti-civil rights conservative Democrat George Wallace - offered a slate of unpledged Democratic electors, which netted 30.6 percent of the vote for the Party in one of the six states carried by Republican nominee Barry Goldwater.

Fourteen years prior, Alabama was also the second to last state in which a major political party presidential nominee did not appear on the general election ballot.

In 1948, State's Rights Democrat Strom Thurmond received the party's slot in that year's presidential contest in the Yellowhammer State - carrying it that November along with Louisiana, Mississippi, and South Carolina (Truman appeared on the ballot in these three states, having to file as an independent in Louisiana and Mississippi).

Prior to 1948, it had been 36 years since the last time a major candidate failed to earn a spot on each ballot across the country.

In 1912, incumbent Republican president William Howard Taft failed in his attempt to get on the ballot in two states - California and South Dakota - whose slate of GOP electors backed the former Rough Rider Teddy Roosevelt for president.

Running nationally under the Progressive Party banner, Roosevelt appeared on the ballot in 47 of the 48 states - losing a court appeal in Oklahoma.

In 1892, incumbent Republican President Benjamin Harrison was not on the ballot in Florida, while ex-Democratic President Grover Cleveland failed to do so in Colorado, Idaho, Kansas, North Dakota, and Wyoming.

Prior to 1888, ballots were not issued by the government and in most states political parties printed their own ballots with a list of their endorsed candidates.

As a result, many national presidential nominees were not 'on the ballot' across several states in the 1800s.

For example, in 1832, the Whig Party failed in their attempt to send the presidential election to the House of Representatives by backing regional nominees against Martin Van Buren, in the hopes the Democrat would not receive a majority of Electoral College votes.

Whig William Harrison carried Delaware, Kentucky, Indiana, Maryland, New Jersey, Ohio, and Vermont, Daniel Webster carried Massachusetts, and the party's southern candidate, Hugh White, carried Georgia and Tennessee.

In 1856, the newly formed Republican Party did not find its nominee, John Frémont, on the ballot in a dozen southern states: Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and Virginia.

In each of those states, the choice was between Democrat James Buchanan and American Party nominee and former president Millard Fillmore.

In 1860, each of the four candidates receiving Electoral College votes did not compete in at least one state: Republican Abraham Lincoln in nine southern states (Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, Tennessee, Texas), Democrat Stephen Douglas in one (Texas), Southern Democrat John Breckinridge in three (New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island), and Constitutional Union nominee John Bell in four (Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island).

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Remains of the Data

No Free Passes: States With 2 Major Party Candidates in Every US House Race

Indiana has now placed candidates from both major parties on the ballot in a nation-best 189 consecutive U.S. House races, with New Hampshire, Minnesota, Idaho, and Montana also north of 100 in a row.

Political Crumbs

Gubernatorial Highs and Lows

Two sitting governors currently hold the record for the highest gubernatorial vote ever received in their respective states by a non-incumbent: Republican Matt Mead of Wyoming (65.7 percent in 2010) and outgoing GOPer Dave Heineman of Nebraska (73.4 percent in 2006). Republican Gary Herbert of Utah had not previously won a gubernatorial contest when he notched a state record 64.1 percent for his first victory in 2010, but was an incumbent at the time after ascending to the position in 2009 after the early departure of Jon Huntsman. Meanwhile, two sitting governors hold the record in their states for the lowest mark ever recorded by a winning gubernatorial candidate (incumbent or otherwise): independent-turned-Democrat Lincoln Chafee of Rhode Island (36.1 percent in 2010) and Democrat Terry McAuliffe of Virginia (47.8 percent in 2013).


An Idaho Six Pack

Two-term Idaho Republican Governor Butch Otter only polled at 39 percent in a recent PPP survey of the state's 2014 race - just four points ahead of Democratic businessman A.J. Balukoff. Otter's low numbers reflect his own struggles as a candidate (witness his weak primary win against State Senator Russ Fulcher) combined with the opportunity for disgruntled Idahoans to cast their votes for one of four third party and independent candidates, who collectively received the support of 12 percent of likely voters: Libertarian John Bujak, the Constitution Party's Steve Pankey, and independents Jill Humble and Pro-Life (aka Marvin Richardson). The six candidate options in a gubernatorial race sets an all-time record in the Gem State across the 46 elections conducted since statehood. The previous high water mark of five candidates was reached in seven previous cycles: 1902, 1904, 1908, 1912, 1914, 1966, and 2010.


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