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Eye On Candidates
May 6, 2016

Third-party or independent challengers to Trump?

It appears that the GOP's likely presumptive nominee Donald Trump hasn't yet quieted his foes in the Republican Party, and many are looking for third-party or independent alternatives. The Hill this morning has what amounts to a "wish list" for the #NeverTrump faction, and some of them are more plausible than others. A few excerpts:

Ten third-party candidate names at top of Never Trump’s list

Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.)

The 44-year-old freshman senator from Nebraska has been one of the most vocal opponents to Trump on Capitol Hill.

On Thursday, Sasse penned an open letter on his Facebook page about why voters should not settle for either Trump or Hillary Clinton, and outlined the qualities he wants to see in an independent or third-party candidate.

“Why are we confined to these two terrible options?,” he wrote. “This is America. If both choices stink, we reject them and go bigger. That’s what we do.”

Unfortunately for anti-Trump conservatives, Sasse, who has a young family, says he won’t run himself....

Former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson

The Libertarian Party nominee is so far the only candidate other than Trump and Clinton who is likely to be on the ballot in all 50 states.

Johnson served two terms as the Republican governor of New Mexico beginning in 1995. He participated in one GOP presidential debate early in the 2012 cycle before running as a Libertarian and winning about 1.3 million votes in the general election....

One of the biggest challenges facing a new candidate will be hitting the threshold of 15 percent in national polls to qualify for the debates.

Johnson could be the answer: A Monmouth University survey from late March found him taking 11 percent in a hypothetical match-up against Trump and Clinton....

Rep. Justin Amash (R-Mich.)

The 36-year-old libertarian-leaning Michigan lawmaker says he’ll never support Trump and is furious with his colleagues that have warmed to the likely nominee in recent weeks.

Amash, who first backed Rand Paul in the primary and later Ted Cruz, has thrived on Capitol Hill as a wildcard willing to buck GOP leaders.

He stoked speculation that a third-party run may be in the works with a cryptic tweet sent out late Tuesday night after Cruz suspended his campaign....

New names are likely to crop up and these and other familiar names are likely to drop off, but the unique circumstances of the 2016 election are likely to mean a boost to some third-party or independent candidate.