Independent candidate

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An independent candidate, sometimes simply referred to as an independent, is a political candidate who runs for office without the nomination of any political party. Sometimes an independent candidate may, in fact, be a member of a political party but run as an independent for one reason or another, most frequently to siphon votes from a political rival.

In some cases because of state ballot access laws, an independent candidate will form a one-time "political party" solely for the purpose of their campaign, for example, the "Connecticut for Lieberman Party" in 2006. In some other cases, the independent candidacy is a precursor to the formation of a new political party, such as with Ross Perot's 1992 independent campaign for President which later led to the founding of the Reform Party. There also exist numerous cases where a disaffected Democrat or Republican, believing their own party has gone in the wrong direction, will run as an independent seeking to be a "spoiler" against their own party. In yet some other cases the independent candidate is neither a disaffected member of an existing party nor seeking to form a new party, but simply somebody running as an independent candidate.

Independent candidates usually do not win general elections; a notable example of an independent candidate winning was Jesse Ventura, the former Navy Seal and professional wrestler who became Minnesota's governor.