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Reform Party of the United States of America

The Reform Party of the United States of America (usually called the Reform Party within the U.S.) is a political party in the United States.


It was founded in 1995, based on the movement which grew out of Ross Perot's (almost completely self-funded) 1992 campaign to become President of the United States. It nominated Perot for president again in 1996, with Pat Choate as vice-presidential candidate.

By 2000, having been abandoned by Perot, the Party's qualification for federal election funds had made it an attractive takeover target. Both former Republican Pat Buchanan and John Hagelin of the Natural Law Party attempted to seize control of the Reform Party. A parliamentry struggle ensued with each claiming to be the official candidate. The struggle culminated in August 2000, when Buchanan and Hagelin were selected as presidential candidates by split party committees during separate conventions in Long Beach, California. Buchanan was ruled by the Federal Election Commission to be the official candidate and therefore eligible for the federal election funds. In the 2000 election, Buchanan and Vice-presidential running mate Ezola B. Foster received 0.4% of the popular vote, failing to meet the 5% threshold to receive federal election funds in 2004. John Hagelin got even less, barely 0.1% of the popular vote.

In 1998, Jesse Ventura was elected governor of the state of Minnesota on the Reform Party ticket. The Minnesota branch of the Reform Party disaffiliated itself with the national party after the Buchanan takeover and renamed itself to the Independence Party of Minnesota. Another Reform Party split occurred in April 2002, when former Buchanan supporters left in droves to form the right-wing America First Party (2002).

By the October 2003 convention, at which their presidential nominee was to have been chosen, the Reform Party was organized in only thirty states and had ballot access for the 2004 election in only seven. At the convention, the Party chose new party officers, but did not select a presidential candidate for the 2004 election. It is not clear whether the party will run any candidates in 2004. As of October 2003, the Reform Party website is not being actively maintained and calls to their 800 number are not being returned.


The Reform Party platform supported strict limits on campaign contributions, term limits for political officeholders, and opposed free trade agreements like NAFTA.

See also: List of political parties in the United States

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