The following is adapted from the July 2016 edition of the Wikinews series On the campaign trail.
“[T]here was and is a party that was opposed to NAFTA, CAFTA, the WTO and other unfair trade agreements and which is still deeply committed to the Hamiltonian idea of protecting U.S. jobs and industry as we proceed into the 21st Century”
Two individuals who each previously spoke with Wikinews sought the 2016 presidential nomination of the Reform Party of the United States. Historian
“In short, my candidacy is designed to remind older folks about the Reform Party’s important role in American politics”, said Richardson, “and to inform younger millennials — those facing a low-paying, if not jobless, future — that there was and is a party that was opposed to , , the and other unfair trade agreements and which is still deeply committed to the idea of protecting U.S. jobs and industry as we proceed into the 21st Century.”
De La Fuente, a businessman with properties throughout the world, got his start in the automobile industry and has since branched into the banking and real estate markets. Before his 2016 Democratic Party campaign for president, he had not sought political office, but did serve as the first-ever , at the . During his 2016 presidential campaign, which he began largely as a reaction to the presidential campaign of Donald Trump, De La Fuente qualified for the ballot in 48 Democratic primary contests. In addition to seeking the Reform Party nomination, he is attempting to qualify for the general election ballot in several states as an independent or as the nominee of the new “American Delta Party,” which he founded. De La Fuente is currently running in the Democratic Party primary for U.S. Senate in Florida as well. According to Nicholas Hensley, in remarks to Wikinews, ballot access expert encouraged De La Fuente to seek the Reform Party nomination.
According to Richardson, De La Fuente entered the race a mere 24 hours after he did. Moreover, Richardson distinguished himself from De La Fuente, arguing that while those within the Reform party encouraged him to run, De La Fuente ran at the insistence of “a partisan Libertarian [Winger] […] who personally has little interest in the Reform Party’s current fortunes or its future”, and who sees the Reform Party as “just an available ballot line”.
“[There were] five states that both Mr. [De La] Fuente [in 2016] and Mr. Richardson [in 2012] appeared on a Democratic primary ballot [in different election cycles] […],” explains Knapp, comparing De La Fuente and Richardson’s Democratic Party candidacies, “Richardson outpolled [De La] Fuente and did so on a budget two full orders of magnitude smaller, even though Richardson was running against a popular incumbent president [Barack Obama] and [De La] Fuente was running against one of the most hated politicians in America [Hillary Clinton].”
“In his presidential campaign so far [De La Fuente] has spent $6.4 million to get 67,000 votes”, Knapp continues. “That’s $95.50 per vote.”
De La Fuente was asked to respond to these statements and to comment on this report, but he has yet to do so.
The Reform Party was founded in 1995 by industrialist briefly sought the party’s presidential nomination, but it was ultimately won by icon , who went on to receive only 0.4% of the popular vote in the general election. In , the party opted to endorse consumer advocate , but ended the year nearly bankrupt. won the party’s 2008 presidential nomination, but appeared on the ballot in only one state and won a total of 481 votes. In 2012, the party’s presidential nominee, fitness model Andre Barnett, on the ballot only in Florida with write-in status elsewhere, received a total of 952 votes. The party is currently on the ballot in New York and Florida, but, according to Ballot Access News, the New York affiliate is expected to nominate Trump.. Perot ran as the party’s first presidential nominee in , and won over eight percent of the popular vote, the highest percentage for a third-party candidate since. In 1998, professional wrestler ran on the Reform Party ticket and was elected . The party fell in prominence during the lead-up to the when it was plagued by infighting between ideological factions. In 2000, Donald Trump
The party held its 2016 convention the last weekend in July. It had planned to formally announce its presidential ticket on August 8. According to Knapp, Richardson and De La Fuente were the two leading contenders for the nomination. Others seeking the nomination included 2012 vice presidential nominee Kenneth Cross and psychologist Lynn Kahn.
On August 9, the party announced it had nominated De La Fuente for President and presumably, Michael Steinberg, his preferred running mate, for Vice President. The final tally of the committee showed Kahn with one vote, Cross with one vote, Richardson with four votes, and De La Fuente with five.