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American Independent


Founded: 1968
Highest Office Won: None
Current Party Ranking: 3rd Largest of Six Qualified Parties in California
Current Voter Registration:
2.63% of California's voters (510,486 registered voters as of 2/10/2017)

  • Although related, the AIP is not the same party as the American Party which separated from the AIP for several years.

The History of the Party
The American Independent Party was first organized to support the 1968 Presidential Campaign of Democratic Governor George Wallace. In California, the party was founded by William Shearer, and officially came into being following a Bakersfield convention in July, 1967. The AIP gained qualified status in California on January 2, 1968. The AIP got off to a strong start, running fifty-nine candidates for partisan office that year (35 for Assembly, 13 for Congress, 10 for State Senate, and Wallace for President). The number of AIP candidates has declined sharply since the first years after its creation. During the 1970s, 193 individuals ran as AIP candidates. By the 1980s, the number had dropped to 29 for the entire decade, where it remained for the 1990s (30 individuals). The AIP had an innovative "first" when, in August 2007, it became the first California political party to hold its State Convention entirely online, using video conferencing software.

Recent AIP History in California
The AIP received a boost in 2005, when Jim Gilchrist ran a strong campaign during the 2005 Special Election for CD-48). Gilchrist received 25.5% of the vote, a high number considering that there was a crowded field. Although the AIP is easily the largest Californian third-party (with just under 2% of the registered voters), it has a problem attracting voters on election day. Of the 47 statewide candidates in 2006, only nine (including all seven of the AIP statewide candidates) received a larger share of the vote than the party registration in the state.

During the early filing period for the 2008 State Primary, a number of AIP candidates filed to run for office. Due in large part to difficulties collecting nominating signatures, only Robert Lauten (running in the CD-47 race) was able to qualify for the June ballot. If no additional candidates qualify for the November ballot through write-in campaigns, only two AIP candidates (Lauten and Presidential nominee Chuck Baldwin) will appear on that ballot.

Change in National Affiliation
In June 2008, the AIP changed its national affiliation from the Constitution Party to the America's Independent Party (later renamed America's Party) and its Presidential nomination to change from Chuck Baldwin to Alan Keyes. The AIP had been an affiliate of the national Constitution Party since 1992. This caused the On August 4, Jim King filed a lawsuit against Secretary of State Debra Bowen in Sacramento Superior Court, claiming that he, not Ed Noonan, is the Chair of the AIP party and that Baldwin (not Alan Keyes) should appear on the November ballot. The suit was unsuccessful, and the control of the party remained wth the Noonan faction.

External Links
American Independent Party Official History