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9 More 2012 Presidential Candidates

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The third party presidential candidates we told you about a couple of weeks ago were only the top of the list of those running for president in 2012. There are plenty more, but as you go down the list, information becomes harder to find. Here are a few that are either on the ballot somewhere or are waging a serious (or semi-serious) write-in campaign, in no particular order.

1. Jeff Boss

Jeff Boss is an independent candidate for the presidency and a conspiracy theorist. His campaign website claims that the National Security Agency (NSA) conspired to arranged the 9/11 attacks, which he witnessed himself. Boss also claims the NSA is trying to kill him, and that his website has been hacked and altered by the NSA, but the link which visitors are redirected to is empty. See a video of Boss in an article by Becky Turco. Jeff Boss will be on New Jersey's presidential ballot.

2. Randall Terry

Randall Terry gained fame as the pro-life activist who founded Operation Rescue. Terry has been arrested many times for blockading the entrances of abortion clinics, and he organized protests around the Nancy Cruzan and Terri Schiavo cases, both involving the question of withdrawing life support from patients in a vegetative state. Randall Terry will be on the presidential ballot in Kentucky, Nebraska, and West Virginia. Photograph by Ben Schumin.

3. Samm Tittle


Sheila "Samm" Tittle of El Paso, Texas, is a conservative independent candidate who is running on a platform advocating tougher border security, an end to abortion, smaller government, the abolition of the Federal Reserve, time-limited welfare benefits, and states' rights. Sheila Tittle has ballot access in Colorado and Louisiana.

4. Dean Morstad

Dean Morstad is an independent candidate from Minnesota who is running on a platform of cutting federal spending, reducing the size of government, and balancing the budget. He is recruiting election volunteers on his Facebook page. Morstad will only be on the ballot in Utah and Minnesota.

5. Jill Reed

Jill Reed is running for president for the Twelve Vision Party. Reed espouses a "protection-only" government and preaches on the "Prosperity Option" and self-improvement for all. Jill Reed will be on the ballot in Indiana and Florida.

6. Jerry Litzel

Jerry Litzel is a collector of presidential campaign memorabilia. Now that he is running for president, with his brother (on the right) as his running mate, he will have souvenirs with his own name on them. That appears to be the main thrust of his candidacy. The campaign has no website. Litzel will be on the ballot in Iowa only.

7. Terry Jones

You may recall Terry Jones as the pastor of the Dove World Outreach Center in Gainesville, Florida. He achieved notoriety in 2010 for announcing a Burn the Koran Day. He now has a television show. Jones has no ballot access in any state.

8. Temperance Alesha Lancecouncil

Temperance Alesha Lancecouncil has no campaign website, but she is the candidate of the Anti-Hypocrisy Party. From the mission statement:

A party has been formed to support any, and all of you who expose and oppose - - THE HYPOCRITE. Speak loudly against those who've put themselves in roles of leadership, power, or influence who "talk the talk," but don't "walk the walk." Or those who've walked a crooked path and waddled in its puddles, only now only to chastise you and me. WE ARE THE PARTY OF THE PEOPLE, THE TRUE PILLARS OF HUMANITY.
ANTI-HYPOCRITES, AT LONG LAST, UNITE!!

One gets the idea that this may be a one-woman party.

9. Jack Fellure

Jack Fellure is the presidential candidate of the Prohibition Party. Fellure, from Hurricane, West Virginia, has put in a bid for president through the Republican party in every election since 1988. He even threw his hat into the ring in 2012, but when the primaries commenced without him, he decided to run with the Prohibition party, which nominated him at their convention in June. His platform is the King James version of the Bible, and of course his affiliation with the Prohibition party means he is anti-alcohol and other drugs. No state will have Fellure on their official presidential ballot this year. Photograph by William S. Saturn.

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History
Abraham Lincoln Letter About Slavery Could Fetch $700,000 at Auction
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Christie's Images Ltd. 2017

The Lincoln-Douglas debates of 1858, in which future president Abraham Lincoln spent seven debates discussing the issue of slavery with incumbent U.S. senator Stephen Douglas, paved the way for Lincoln’s eventual ascent to the presidency. Now part of that history can be yours, as the AP reports.

A signed letter from Lincoln to his friend Henry Asbury dated July 31, 1858 explores the “Freeport Question” he would later pose to Douglas during the debates, forcing the senator to publicly choose between two contrasting views related to slavery’s expansion in U.S. territories: whether it should be up to the people or the courts to decide where slavery was legal. (Douglas supported the popular choice argument, but that position was directly counter to the Supreme Court's Dred Scott decision.)

The first page of a letter from Abraham Lincoln to Henry Asbury
Christie's Images Ltd. 2017

In the letter, Lincoln was responding to advice Asbury had sent him on preparing for his next debate with Douglas. Asbury essentially framed the Freeport Question for the politician. In his reply, Lincoln wrote that it was a great question, but would be difficult to get Douglas to answer:

"You shall have hard work to get him directly to the point whether a territorial Legislature has or has not the power to exclude slavery. But if you succeed in bringing him to it, though he will be compelled to say it possesses no such power; he will instantly take ground that slavery can not actually exist in the territories, unless the people desire it, and so give it protective territorial legislation."

Asbury's influence didn't end with the debates. A founder of Illinois's Republican Party, he was the first to suggest that Lincoln should run for president in 1860, and secured him the support of the local party.

The letter, valued at $500,000 to $700,000, is up for sale as part of a books and manuscripts auction that Christie’s will hold on December 5.

[h/t Associated Press]

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Big Questions
Can You Expel a Sitting Senator?
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In light of recent allegations, Republican Senator Cory Gardner of Colorado this week said that if Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore “refuses to withdraw and wins, the Senate should vote to expel him, because he does not meet the ethical and moral requirements of the United States Senate.” Meanwhile, Senator Bob Menendez, Democrat of New Jersey, has been involved in a high profile corruption trial, with calls that he should resign or be expelled if convicted. Has anything this drastic ever happened before?

Yes, but not for a very long time. Once you’ve been voted into the Senate, it’s difficult to get you out.

REFUSING TO SEAT

Refusing to even seat a senator is very rare, but one example from over 100 years ago also involved Alabama.

In 1913, Alabama Senator Joseph F. Johnston died just a few months after the ratification of the 17th Amendment to the Constitution. The Amendment allowed for direct election of senators, as well as clarifying the role of the state in calling special elections. Alabama’s governor put up Representative Henry Clayton, but he soon resigned the appointment. This was followed by Frank Glass, a local newspaper editor. As Glass was about to be seated, senators worried that his appointment was illegitimate (similar fears had surrounded Clayton). As one senator said at the time, “I believe that the [17th] Amendment means exactly what it says. It is perfectly plain and unambiguous. It simply means from this time forward every senator of the United States must be elected by the people, unless the legislature of a state by express terms empowers the executive to make temporary appointments to fill vacancies. The legislature of the state of Alabama has not given such power to the executive.”

By a vote of 32-31, the rest of the Senate agreed and refused to seat Glass, leading to a special election in 1914 that brought in a new senator.

Since then there have been multiple attempts to not seat a senator—most famously Roland Burris in 2009, who was appointed by Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich under the cloud of corruption charges (though he was ultimately let in). But in reality a refusal to seat a senator is unlikely to succeed.

In 1969, the Supreme Court ruled in Powell v. McCormack that as long as a duly elected representative met the age, citizenship, and residence requirements of the Constitution, they could not be excluded from the House. They could be expelled after taking their seat, but not excluded. Since it’s generally felt that this ruling extends to the Senate, it would likely not be possible to exclude an elected senator from their seat. But once that seat is taken, expulsion becomes a possibility.

EXPULSION

The United States Constitution states that, “Each House may determine the Rules of its proceedings, punish its members for disorderly behavior, and, with the concurrence of two-thirds, expel a member.” However, this is exceedingly rare.

The first time it happened was in the 1797 case of William Blount, one of the first two senators from Tennessee. According to the Senate, Blount had worked on a plan to take control of Spanish Florida and Louisiana and transfer them to the British with the help of Native Americans and frontiersmen. This plot was discovered and Blount was expelled, but not until he was impeached by the House of Representatives (the House has the sole power of impeachment, and it falls to the Senate to try the impeachment). The Senate ultimately decided not to try the impeachment, although whether that’s because senators believed that they themselves are unimpeachable or because Blount was unimpeachable because he had already been expelled and thus ceased being a senator is up for debate.

The next attempt at expulsion was in 1808, when Ohio’s John Smith was caught up in the Aaron Burr controversies. When it came to vote, the tally was 19 yeas for expulsion and 10 nays. Since the Constitution requires a two-thirds majority, Smith was saved from expulsion by one vote, although he would resign soon after.

The largest crop of expulsions was in 1861 and 1862, in regards to senators from southern states. As some senators were still officially members of the Senate, despite representing seceding states, it was felt that their status should be clarified by expulsion. As a result, 10 senators were expelled on July 11, 1861 (the expulsion order of one of the senators, William K. Sebastian of Arkansas, was later posthumously revoked after it was determined the charges “were as regards Sebastian merely a matter of suspicion and inference and wholly unfounded as to fact” and he didn’t commit conspiracy against the government). Later, a few more senators were expelled on the charge of supporting the rebellion. Including Sebastian, a grand total of 14 senators would be expelled during the Civil War. Since then, no senator has been expelled.

That’s not to say there haven’t been attempts. Cases since the Civil War have ended in either an exoneration or the senator leaving office before the vote. The most recent near-expulsion was Nevada Senator John Ensign in 2011 under accusations that he broke federal laws while attempting to cover up an affair. At the time, Senator Barbara Boxer of California said the case was “substantial enough to warrant the consideration of expulsion.” Ultimately, Ensign resigned.

It has been 155 years since the last senator was expelled. Whether—or when—that fact will change only time will tell.

Have you got a Big Question you'd like us to answer? If so, let us know by emailing us at bigquestions@mentalfloss.com.

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