David French’s First Challenge Would Be Getting on U.S. Ballots

The man Bill Kristol is encouraging to hop into the presidential race faces a series of daunting deadlines.

Who Is David French?

If David French is serious about launching a last-minute presidential run, he'll face no shortage of challenges, starting with getting his name placed on the ballot in all 50 states. 

French, a constitutional lawyer and National Review writer, faces as slew of looming deadlines for getting himself on enough state ballots, either as an independent or as the nominee of another third party. In fact, French has already missed the cutoff in South Dakota and Texas, a treasure trove of electors for Republican candidates or those who appeal to their voters.

French would need to get nearly 90,000 signatures in North Carolina by June 9 to appear on the ballot there, according to Ballot Access News. Illinois, Indiana, and New Mexico have deadlines before July. All told, French would need about 600,000 signatures for a run if he appeared in some states as in independent and in others as a third-party candidate from an already established party, or as many as 900,000 if French insisted on eschewing existing third parties, according to Ballot Access News editor Richard Winger. Pulling off such a feat, Winger notes, would not come cheaply.

“I don’t think name recognition is all that important, but money is hugely important,” Winger said.

French might, for instance, need to pay many of his signature gatherers, perhaps even $2 or $3 a signature, Winger said.

Courted to run by Weekly Standard editor Bill Kristol, French could probably win a challenge to the earliest deadlines in court, but that would also require money, Winger said. 

Still, Winger pointed out that several presidential candidates who weren’t running as Democrats or Republicans have successfully gotten on 45 or more ballots in recent decades, some of whom decided in the summer they would run. Former South Carolina Governor Strom Thurmond, for instance, decided to make a pro-segregation run after the Democratic convention in 1948, although he didn’t end up on all the ballots, Winger said.

As the clock ticks, though, French doesn’t appear to have even committed to the run. Instead, he tweeted Tuesday that he’s “incredibly humbled by and grateful for the many expressions of support.”