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 (or due to personal animosity against the party's candidate), will run as an independent seeking to be a "spoiler" against their own party or that candidate. 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.