Alan Woodruff is running for office in the 1st Congressional District. He calls himself a “Blue Dog” Democrat—an increasingly rare breed these days—and hopes to win the party’s nomination and go on to defeat the incumbent, Republican U.S. Rep. Phil Roe, in the 2012 general election.
Woodruff ran for Congress two years ago, in Albuquerque, New Mexico, as a Libertarian Party candidate. Or was it as a Green Party candidate? Both, actually. Sort of. He secured the nomination of the Libertarian Party of New Mexico, and later changed his affiliation from Libertarian to Green. But then the Green Party was found not to have ballot access after failing to receive enough votes in 2008, and lost a challenge in the courts to have its candidates on the ballot.
Enter the Constitution Party of Tennessee, which, together with the Green Party of Tennessee, has filed a lawsuit challenging the new ballot access guidelines put in place after a federal judge ruled that the old ballot access laws were unconstitutionally restrictive. The new lawsuit claims that the reforms were not sufficient and thus ballot access by minor parties remains unfairly prohibitive. The two attorneys for the plaintiffs are Darrell Castle, the national Constitution Party’s nominee for Vice President in 2008; and Alan Woodruff.
In December, I asked Woodruff about his 2010 New Mexico run, his being listed as a candidate for multiple parties, and his decision to run as a Democrat in Tennessee while representing a third party’s lawsuit for greater ballot access.
He quickly answered with this response (excerpted):
In 2008, I was retained as attorney for a coalition [of] minor parties in New Mexico who wanted to challenge the state’s ballot access laws that impaired the ability of minor parties, and their candidates, to be included on the ballot. One of the laws we were challenging was a law barring “fusion” candidates — candidates nominated by more than one party. To have standing to challenge that law, I was nominated by both the [Libertarian] and Green parties. In the 2010 election cycle my candidacy was more for purposes of our lawsuit that any expectation of actually making the ballot or being elected.
…[M]y experience … advocating for the interests of disenfranchised voters motivated be to become a candidate for the 1st congressional district which has become so dominated by ultra conservatives that the average voter has no effective voice. Before my temporary relocation to New Mexico, I lived in Seviereville [sic], and voted Democratic and suffered the dominance of Republican control of the 1st District. Now I intend to change that.
I also asked the Tennessee Democratic Party if there were any concerns about having a congressional candidate running with their party affiliation but representing the Green and Constitution parties in the lawsuit. Brandon Puttbrese, party spokesman, replied that there were none, saying that “it’s a fairness issue. Is it fair that any party be blocked from the ballot? No.”
The first day to pick up petitions for the August 2012 primary is February 6. If no other candidates run, Roe and Woodruff will face each other in the November general election.