National Chair, Frank Fluckiger Introduction to the Constitution Party
Brief History of the Constitution Party
There is an ever growing void in American politics. Those who still believe in the principles of freedom on which our fore fathers founded this nation are feeling homeless and stranded. To fill this void the Constitution Party (CP) was founded in 1992 in New Orleans, LA by a number of well known conservative Republicans. The original name was the U S Tax Payers Party. The chief organizer of the party was Howard Phillips who founded the Conservative Caucus in the mid 70’s with the intent of steering the Republican Party back to the principles of the GOP national platform. Phillips had served as Secretary of Education under the Nixon Administration and had been promised that he would be allowed to dismantle that department, but once appointed to the cabinet position however, he was not allowed to do so. Another prominent organizing member of the party was Joan Johnson, sister of Senator Inhofe of Oklahoma and National GOP committee woman from that state. When George Bush Sr. won the GOP presidential nomination in 1992, it became clear to Phillips, Johnson and others, that the battle to return the GOP to its conservative platform had been lost. That year a number of independent parties including the American Independent Party of California and the Independent American Party of Nevada and other parties in several other states joined forces under the national name of the U S. Tax Payers Party. In September of 1999, the party changed its name to the Constitution Party to more fully reflect the party’s goal of reestablishing the principles of the Founding Fathers in our national government. The party continued to grow each year and by 2004 the party succeeded in getting on the ballot in 35 states. People in every state across then nation have begun to gather to the party. That year Michael Peroutka, the CP presidential candidate received 43% more votes than the CP candidate did in 2000. That was a break through year for the party. With the exception of the Libertarian Party whose presidential candidate got 2% more votes than in 2000, the Constitution Party was the only third party whose candidate for President received more votes in 2004 than in 2000. That was an impressive growth figure especially since the other minor parties excepting the Libertarian Party, declined substantially in the number of votes received by their presidential candidate.
The Constitution Party of Utah (CPofU) was not organized until August of 2001, and did not gain ballot position until 2004. Rick Jore a well known GOP member of the Montana Legislature came with his wife Nancy to Utah in August of 2001 to formally organize the party in this state. There were about 35 people from eight or nine counties that attended that meeting. Rick had resigned from the Montana Republican Party because he became frustrated at the continual pressure from GOP leaders to abandon sound principles of government in favor of the socialist agenda that the GOP leadership was pushing. Rick Jore ran for the Montana State Legislature this year on the CP ballot and became the first Constitution Party candidate to be elected to a state legislature. He won with over 56% of the vote. Even though 2004 was the first year that the CP was on the ballot in Utah, Utahans gave Michael Peroutka the highest percentage of the presidential vote of any of the 50 states. He received 6,841 votes or 0.74%.
Since that beginning, the party in Utah has grown steadily and in 2004 was able to attract a number of well known and respected statesmen from the Republican Party to file and run for office under the Constitution Party banner. Most note worthy of these people was Scott Bradley of Cache County and Jim Noorlander from Sanpete County. Scott was serving on the Utah Republican State Central Committee when he resigned and filed to run for the U. S. Senate in March of this year. Jim Noorlander resigned from the party to file for the U. S. Congress in Utah’s third Congressional District. Both men stated that they did not leave the Republican Party, but that the party had abandoned them by abandoning the platform which it purported to support. Scott Bradley received 3.75% of the vote and Jim Noorlander received 8.82% in their respective races. Mark Hudson a former democrat and transplant to Utah from Florida garnered 3.07% of the vote for the U. S. Congress in the first district. Both Bradley and Noorlander received enough votes to enable the CP to retain ballot position. No other third party did so. In both Millard and Sanpete County, Jim Noorlander out polled the democratic candidate and in a number of voting districts both Bradley and Noorlander out polled the democratic candidate. This type of third party vote getting power had not been experienced in Utah since the presidential race of Ross Perot when he out polled Bill Clinton state wide in 1992.
The party fielded a candidate for all three U. S. Congressional races, 11 of the 15 Utah State Senate seats up for election and 23 of the 75 Utah State House seats up for election, plus 11 candidates for various county offices. The CP had 50 candidates on the November General Election ballot in all. This was more than the total number of candidates of all the other minor party candidates combined. It was also the largest number of candidates fielded by the CP in any of the 50 states. The average vote received by the CP candidates who ran for the Utah State Senate was 5.10% and the average vote for those candidates running for the Utah State House was 9.97%. Those candidates running for local county office did even better. The average CP vote for those candidates was 11.64%. This is a significant improvement over the usual two to three percent usually garnered by third party candidates.
The goal of the party in Utah is to spread the message of “Honoring God, Defending the Family, and Restoring the Republic to the principles given us by the Founding Fathers”. This is the same message fostered by the Founding Fathers. They understood that to remain a free and prosperous nation their message needed to be embedded in the hearts and minds of each succeeding generation of Americans. The two major parties have failed miserably in that responsibility. The Constitution Party leadership is finding that this message resonates well with Utahans as it should. This is especially true of those conservatives who are moving to Utah. All of the state officers and nearly 70% of the county leadership are filled by transplants to this state. Our challenge is simply to get that message out to the public. Regardless of how difficult this task is, the party is intent on achieving it. As in other states, those coming into the party in Utah are not only disenfranchised republicans, but many democrats and independents as well. They are fully aware that the message of our Founding Fathers is a timeless one and one that is fitting to every generation of Americans.
In 2008 the national party rand Chuck Baldwin, a pastor from the state of Florida as the presidential candidate. Baldwin was an effective campaigner and very effective in handling news media interviews. He had had considerable experience in the field of news media and knew how to maneuver the interview in his favor. He was very gifted in that regard. Again that year our CP presidential candidate received the highest vote percentage of all of the 50 states. Baldwin garnered 12,012 votes state wide for 1.26% of the vote. Utah was the only state where the CP presidential candidate won more that one percent of the vote. He won the endorsement of Ron Paul which was very helpful. Idaho was second in vote percentage for Baldwin with 4,747 votes for 0.72%. That as followed by Alaska, South Dakota, Wyoming and then Oregon. Notice that all but one of these state is from the West where the party is strongest. That was a compelling factor in selecting Salt Lake City for the site of the 2016 Constitution National Convention. The strength of the party clearly lies in the West. Nearly half of the states nation wide that have ballot position for the party are in the West. That includes, Idaho, Wyoming, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico and Utah. With int month Alaska will have ballot access and by the end of the summer Hawaii should also have ballot access.
In the 2012 presidential election the party was noticeably hurt by the Ron Paul campaign and by the Mitt Romney campaign, particularly in the states of Utah, and Idaho. Many of the party members rejoined the GOP to support Ron Paul and then many voted for Romney in the general election. Since then though the party has been rebuilding.
We have focused hard on electing people to local office such as town council and town mayor. This has proven very successful. Currently two of the five town council member inthe community of Duchesne are members of the party where they are having a very positive effect in city government. We hope to increase that number is this fall’s election. We have also elected our first town council member in the city of Enoch. Steve ??? was elected to the town council there and was the second highest vote-getter in that election.