By Larry Dignan  |  Posted 2004-11-03 Email Print this article Print

With the 2004 Presidential race in the books, one sizable question remains: Who's going to be the next Howard Dean, in 2008?

: Becoming Legitimate"> 2007: Becoming Legitimate

With an organization and funding, the independent candidate still will be struggling to get on something like equal footing with the big boys.

Baan says at this juncture it would make sense to unveil a running mate, breaking convention and showing voters you are putting forth a team. And that you're willing to break molds.

"I think a presidency should have an entrepreneurial component and a managerial component," says Baan. "The entrepreneur thinks of the big steps and the manager focuses on ongoing improvement."

Getting on state ballots will require the managerial effort. Every state has different requirements for a candidate to get on the ballot, according to Richard Winger, editor of the Ballot Access Newsletter. During the 2004 election even Ralph Nader, a well-known third-party candidate, failed to get on the ballot in key states such as Pennsylvania.

An independent candidate can run for the nomination of an established third party, such as the Libertarian and Green parties. Or, register on his or her own, wrangling 620,000 signatures all told to make the ballots in all states.

If your organizing skills were good in 2006, your social network can coordinate the canvassing of signatures. Another choice would be to outsource the petition drive to a third party.

Don't be surprised if some former presidential campaign manager like the Dean campaign's Joe Trippi decides to get in the business of supplying such services, on a pay-as-you-go basis, using someone else's hardware, software and computing services.

"Getting on state ballots is a big hurdle, but it can be manageable," says Winger.

Nationally, a Congressional move to standardize state ballot requirements and accept digital signatures would hasten the day when even signature acquisition is pretty much automated. For now, getting on a state ballot is fairly manual and low tech, says Winger.

Business Editor
Larry formerly served as the East Coast news editor and Finance Editor at CNET News.com. Prior to that, he was editor of Ziff Davis Inter@ctive Investor, which was, according to Barron's, a Top-10 financial site in the late 1990s. Larry has covered the technology and financial services industry since 1995, publishing articles in WallStreetWeek.com, Inter@ctive Week, The New York Times, and Financial Planning magazine. He's a graduate of the Columbia School of Journalism.

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