Americans Elect, the deep-pocketed nonprofit group that set out to nominate a centrist third-party presidential ticket, admitted early Tuesday that its ballyhooed online nominating process had failed.
The group had qualified for the general election ballot in 27 states, and had generated concern among Democrats and Republicans alike that it could wreak havoc on a close election between President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney.
But just after a midnight deadline Monday, the group acknowledged that its complicated online nominating process had failed to generate sufficient interest to push any of the candidates who had declared an interest in its nomination over the threshold in its rules.
“Because of this, under the rules that AE delegates ratified, the primary process would end today,” said the group’s Kahlil Byrd in a statement issued at 12:01 a.m. Tuesday. He seemed to leave the door open for proceeding outside the original process, however, adding, “There is, however, an almost universal desire among delegates, leadership and millions of Americans who have supported AE to see a credible candidate emerge from this process.”
Byrd said the group would confer “with its community” in the coming days “before determining next steps for the immediate future. AE will announce the results of these conversations on Thursday, May 17.”
In other words, the rich folks who have anonymously funded Americans Elect’s efforts may just decide to play the hand they’ve got and let Buddy Roemer run with the ball. Remember, AE had to cancel its first primary ballot on May 8 because no candidate had come close to the 1000 votes from each of 10 states requirement (so much for those “millions of Americans who have supported AE”). That was pushed back to Tuesday the 15th, but the fail was too strong and they have now admitted defeat, albeit in a not so forthcoming way. We’ll see what if anything they do next. The title of this post was shamelessly stolen from Ed Kilgore, who has his own suggestions for AE. Alex Pareene, Alec MacGillis, and Buzzfeed have more.