Washington Week

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16 presidential candidates you didn't know are running in 2016

If you were asked who is running for president, you'd probably list the five candidates still running for the major political party nominations: Hillary Clinton, Ted Cruz, John Kasich, Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump. But there are lots of candidates running either from lesser-known parties or without any party affiliation. Here are 16 independent presidential candidates running in 2016:

Gary Johnson (Libertarian Party)
Bio: Former Republican governor of New Mexico, 2012 Republican presidential candidate and eventual Libertarian nominee for president, former CEO of a marijuana company
Fun Fact: Johnson has competed in several Ironman competitions and has climbed all of the Seven Summits -- the highest peaks on all seven continents.
How many times has he run for president? Twice (2012 and 2016)
His position on: marijuana and border security
Johnson said much of the violence at the country’s southern border has to do with drugs. He recently told the Texas Tribune that if the U.S. as a whole legalizes marijuana, it "is going to lead to a tremendous reduction in border violence."

Jill Stein (Green Party)
Bio: Physician, environmental activist, 2012 Green Party nominee for president
How many times has she run for president? Twice (2012 and 2016)
Her position on: student debt
Stein would go farther than Bernie Sanders -- a candidate Stein believes she could collaborate with -- when it comes to student debt. Sanders would cut rates and allow graduates to refinance their loans. Stein would eliminate student debt. "Forty million young people are indentured servants without much hope of getting out of debt," according to The Harvard Crimson. "We have a generation of hopeless young people who cannot get their way out of debt, who don’t have jobs, and who are watching the climate collapse."

Scott Copeland (Constitution Party)
Bio: Baptist minister
How many times has he run for president? 2016 is his first time.
How do his faith and role as a minister influence his political leanings? "The structure of a defined family by God is: a man, a woman and their children," states Copeland's campaign website. "Therefore, parent’s rights supersede the authority of the local, state and federal governments" when it comes to vaccines mandates and gun rights.
His position on: immigration
Copeland criticized Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz for his past support of expanding visas for skilled workers from foreign countries.  During a swing through Idaho last year, he told a local newspaper that undocumented immigrants are taking jobs from Americans who are out of work. "We have to undo the illegal alien issue in our country," he said.

Austin Petersen (Libertarian Party)
Video production consultant, founder and owner of The Libertarian Republic magazine
How many times has he run for president? 2016 is his first time.
His position on: abortion
Petersen describes himself as a "pro-life atheist." He has advocated for legalizing over-the-counter birth control, which is typically seen as a pro-choice position. "That's one way that we can fight abortions using limited government, but we should always take a moral stand of life. We should always be consistently pro-life, as much as we can as libertarians," he said in an interview with the magazine he owns. He's also said this on Facebook.

William Kreml (Green Party)
Bio: College professor
How many times has he run for president? Four (1984, 1992, 2000, 2016)
His position on: elections
In a questionnaire for the Green Party, Kreml calls for members of the House of Representatives to have four-year terms and for the dissolution of the Electoral College.

Jim Hedges (Prohibition Party nominee)
Bio: Former tax assessor
Fun fact: He was the first Prohibition Party member elected to office in the 21st century
His position on: education
Hedges, in the only issue position he details on his website, said his administration "would find ways to minimize the influence of alcohol on higher education." He calls bars located near college campuses "parasitic enterprises that are the source of gang rapes, property destruction, failing grades, and lost careers."

Roseanne Barr (Peace and Freedom Party)
Comedian and actress
Wait. THE Roseanne? Yes. THE Roseanne. She tweeted last year that she will run again with the Peace and Freedom Party. A candidate for the Green Party recently claimed that she will be his running mate.
Has she done this before? Yes, she ran in 2012. She received more than 67,000 votes.
Fun fact: She runs a macadamia nut farm in Hawaii.
Her position on: the two-party system
Barr, in an interview with Salon, said the two-party system is really a one-party system. "It's the money party, and it has two faces like a coin has two different sides," she said. "It's a war business. That's it. There's no third party because they don't want a third party."

John McAfee (Libertarian Party)
Bio: Computer programmer, businessman
Fun Fact: Developer of the first-ever anti-virus software (it bears his name)
His position on: cyber security
McAfee told NBC News last year that the U.S. is not prepared for potential cyber attacks. He said he would hire hackers and create a Digital Transformation Office as president. "You have to reach out to the hacker community, which have been blackballed and labeled by the government as an evil force," he said. "No, they're not. They're our only hope."

Mimi Soltysik (Socialist Party USA nominee)
Bio: Activist, former member of a rock band
Fun fact: Soltysik does not support Bernie Sanders, who describes himself as a democratic socialist. "His record is imperialist to me," he told Vice last month.
How many times has he run for president? This is his first time.
His position on: the economy
Soltysik is calling for a complete economic overhaul away from capitalism. "With the science of climate change, we really don't have time to spend on reforming capitalism or greening capitalism," he told USA Today College. "The planet is literally telling us it cannot hold a capitalist society or economic system. Change has to happen now."

Monica Moorehead (Workers World Party nominee)
Bio: Activist
How many times has she run for president? Three (1996, 2000, 2016)
Her position on: Black Lives Matter
Moorehead and her running mate, Lamont Lilly, will unite with the Black Lives Matter movements across the country, according to their campaign website. They plan to protest the Tamir Rice decision in both Cleveland and Philadelphia during the Republican and Democratic Party conventions. "Will the election of Hillary Rodham Clinton or Bernie Sanders mean that racist police terror against the Black community will finally stop? Of course not," their website states.

Lynn Kahn (independent candidate)
Bio: Psychologist
Has she run for president before? No. 
Fun fact: She conducted a 100-day listening tour, driving over 14,000 miles in 34 states to campaign.
Her position on: government waste
Her goal is to cut $1 trillion of government waste and help government run more smoothly through better-run programs and eliminating inefficiencies. "The federal government is lost in the muddy swamps of bad bureaucracy where pushing paperwork overwhelms any effort to look around the country and find programs that deliver results people care about," she writes on her campaign site.

Kevin McCormick (Libertarian Party)
Bio: Worked in technology sector
How long has he been running? Less than a month. He announced his candidacy on March 17.
Why did he decide to run? After watching the March 3 GOP presidential debate, "I just couldn’t believe what I saw on TV. I couldn’t believe what we were discussing," he said to a Phoenix TV station. "I saw people exchange insults and discuss things that had nothing to do with this country. I said, 'That’s it!' I woke that morning, and I filed."
His position on: cyber security
He advocates spending more to bolster the nation's cyber security efforts.  "The biggest threat to our safety and stability is not in the Middle East. Our technology infrastructure is under constant attack and many Americans are victims of cyber attacks," he says on his campaign website.

J.W. Scroggie (independent candidate)
How is he running for president?
According to his campaign site, he is touring the country in a Winnebago "bringing Music, Art, and Political Freedom!" He posts frequent videos of his travels on YouTube.
Why is he running as an independent? He told a South Dakota newspaper that he opposes any Republican and Democrat, and the two-party system. "It’s like a two-sided coin being flipped, every election," he said. "Like if the NFL had only two teams play each other every week, there would be anarchy. Or if we had only Coke or Pepsi to drink every day? Anarchy. But the world leader? It's a Republican or a Democrat, every time. It makes no sense to me. It’s been like that forever."
His position on: GMOs
He calls for banning genetically modified organisms in food because they are "toxic."

David Sponheim (America's Third Party)
Bio: Advertiser, website designer, archivist and entrepreneur
Has he run before? Yes. He left the Democratic Party in 2008, after becoming disillusioned with Barack Obama. He founded his own political party and ran for the White House four years later.
How is he campaigning? He hosts a live webcast every evening on his campaign website.
His position on: political term limits
He calls for "term limits for all," and references former Sen. Jim DeMint's push for a constitutional amendment putting a cap on congressional terms.

Zoltan Istvan (Transhumanist Party)
Has he run before? No.
What is transhumanism? In Istvan's words, it's a movement of people using "science and technology to radically enhance the human being" and the human experience. "I think what we want is the choice to be able to live indefinitely," he told the libertarian magazine, Reason.
How would he do this? Here's one example from his party's website: Istvan would push private companies to develop a "cranial trauma alert chip," that would alert first responders of extreme trauma. He argues that if humans use this chip, "this will significantly reduce domestic violence, crime and tragedy."
His position on: taxes
Istvan calls for abolishing individual taxes "based on robots taking most jobs in the next 25 years." Until that happens, however, he would implement a flat tax.

Samm Tittle (independent candidate)
Bio: Business owner
Has she run for president before? Yes. She called for "cutting the fat off the pig called government" in her announcement four years ago.
Her position on: racism
She argues that racism is over, thanks to the election of President Obama in 2008. "The equality for all men has finally made its way and found its foundation in the United States," she writes on her campaign website. "Those that continue to use 'Racism' or any 'ism' are detractors from what is ahead for America."