Colorado's pint-sized Unity Party has nominated a baker's dozen of candidates up and down the state ballot, including a former Boiling Frog Party member who once ran to be the president of Arizona and the party's founder, who is running to be president of the United States.
The party convened online Saturday for its second state assembly of the month, held so delegates could nominate additional candidates to slots that weren't filled during its first assembly and convention on April 4.
After inviting candidates who failed to win nominations with Colorado's other political parties to consider running on the Unity ticket, the party managed to name 13 candidates to the state's November ballot, plus a candidate for a congressional seat in Texas.
Three years ago, after notching its 1,000th member, the Unity Party became an official minor political party in Colorado — joining the Libertarians, the Greens and the American Constitution Party — and with the designation secured the ability to nominate candidates straight to the General Election ballot, without having to petition on.
According to the most recent voter registration figures, the Unity Party of Colorado counts 1,696 active members, 373 inactive members and 26 future voters who have pre-registered as Uniters — the nickname for party members chosen in an online poll.
With just 0.05% of the state's active voters, however, the Unity Party isn't Colorado's smallest minor party, having lost that status last fall when the Approval Voting Party was made official. At 1,239 active members, the state's newest minor party makes up 0.04% of the active electorate.
“It’s a pleasure to see the Unity Party growing exponentially, even in the middle of a pandemic,” said Bill Hammons, the party's founder, national chairman and freshly minted presidential nominee, in a statement.
Hammons and his running mate, Unity Party of Colorado Chairman Eric Bodenstab, who doubles — or triples — as the party's communications director, have so far qualified for the ballot in Colorado and say they're working toward winning endorsements from other parties around the country, which could land their presidential ticket on other states' ballots.
Following its first round of nominations earlier this month, Hammons invoked the dystopian Aldous Huxley classic in an otherwise optimistic statement.
"I look forward to all Uniters working in a United fashion as our country, ready or not, enters into the Brave New World created by this global Coronavirus Pandemic," he said in a written statement.
Also nominated at the April 4 assembly was Stephan “Chairman Seku” Evans, who ran twice for mayor of Denver, for Colorado's U.S. Senate seat. Seku's win headed off a potential primary for the nomination, which drew the interest of at least three other candidates since last fall.
The party managed to pull off a feat at its pair of assemblies that has so far eluded Colorado Republicans this year — nominating candidates in each of the state's seven congressional districts.
Those candidates include Paul Noel Fiorino, also a former candidate for Denver mayor, running in the 1st Congressional District; Gary Swing, another perennial candidate, in the 2nd CD; Christopher "Critter" Milton, who was recently running for the U.S. Senate as a Democrat, in the 3rd CD; Laura Ireland in the 4th CD; Rebecca Keltie in the 5th CD; Jaimie Kulikowski in the 6th CD, where she unsuccessfully sought the Democratic nomination this year; and Dave Olszta in the 7th CD.
For the first time in decades, the Colorado GOP hasn't come up with a candidate in the Denver-based 1st CD, where Democratic U.S. Rep. Diana DeGette is seeking her 13th term.
Swing, the Unity Party's 2nd CD pick, has run for Congress in at least two other congressional districts as a Green and tried to run for the U.S. Senate in Colorado as the Boiling Frog Party nominee four years ago but didn't make the ballot. In 2012, he made a run for president of Arizona but failed, since the office doesn't exist.
“We’ve started to reach out to the voters of other third parties orphaned at the edges of American politics, and, rest assured, once all the paperwork is squared away and websites dusted off, we’ll be driving full bore down the middle towards making a mark this November, assuming the rest of the nation sees the common sense of Colorado’s mail-in ballot election system," Hammons said in a statement.
The party also nominated Jerry Burton to run in Senate District 33, Joe Richardson in House District 5 and James Treibert for the Adams County Commission in District 2. Karen Ben-Moyal was named the party's nominee in Texas' 14th Congressional District.