Voting doesn’t begin for another two months but some Presidential candidates have already failed their first big ballot test, actually getting on the ballot in all 50 states.
The business of getting a candidate’s name on the ballot is a costly and complex endeavor, a major drain of money and manpower that threatens to weed out the most underfunded campaigns and strain the others in what remains a historically unwieldy Republican field. Some states require thousands of signatures to qualify; others charge tens of thousands of dollars.
Nationally, the price tag for ballot access can soar well past $1 million, more money than some campaigns have left in the bank.
Barring a major organizational misfire, there’s little doubt that the top-tier Republicans with big money operations: Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio, Ben Carson, Ted Cruz and Donald Trump, will be on the ballot nationwide. But for everyone else, including Chris Christie, John Kasich, and Rand Paul, whose campaigns say they are on track to be on the ballot everywhere, ballot access is an expensive challenge.
In Alabama, one of the few states where the filing deadline has passed, neither Jim Gilmore nor George Pataki, two long-shot former Governors running bare bones 2016 campaigns, paid the $10,000 fee to appear on the March 1 ballot. Failing to file guarantees that Gilmore and Pataki won’t win any of Alabama’s 50 delegates up for grabs next year.
While it’s true mathematically that candidates need not compete in every state to win the nomination, the political reality is that each failure to appear on a ballot undermines a candidate’s credibility as a national figure.
CLICK HERE to read Shane Goldmacher's article in Politico.
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