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Donald Trump Not the Only Republican Looking at Going Third Party in 2016

August 10, 2015 - 4:15pm
John Hostettler
John Hostettler

Donald Trump has opened the door to leaving the GOP ranks and running in the 2016 presidential election on another line, but he’s not the only Republican politician mulling over the possibility. 

Over the weekend, reported activists from the conservative Constitution Party are being contacted by former U.S. Rep. John Hostettler, R-Ind., who is looking at running on its line in 2016. The news was quickly picked up by sites focusing on third party and independent politics. 

First elected to Congress in 1994, Hostettler served until 2006 when voters turned him out. He ran for the U.S. Senate in 2010 but came up short in the Republican primary. During his time in Congress, Hostettler ranked as one of the most conservative members, breaking with leadership over ending a federal shutdown in early 1996 and supporting allowing churches and other religious groups to actively engage in political activities while still remaining tax-exempt. 

Despite being one of the few Republicans who voted against the war with Iraq, Hostettler was active in calling for more security in the War on Terror, allowing arming more commercial flight pilots. Hostettler also voted against federal funds being used for relief efforts after Hurricane Katrina. During his time in Congress, Hostetler stood against abortion and gun control and was a firm advocate of securing the border. He did receive national attention for trying to bring his concealed pistol on a commercial flight in 2004 and insisting the Democratic Party was hostile to Christian values. 

Formed by conservative activist Howard Phillips, the Constitution Party has been running candidates in presidential elections since 1992. While he hoped that Pat Buchanan would run on his party’s line, Phillips was the Constitution candidate in 1992, 1996 and 2000. Most recently, the party ran former U.S. Rep. Virgil Goode, R-Va., in 2012. While he placed fifth and was on 26 state ballots and was a write-in in 16 other states, Goode took less than 129,500 votes.

Hostettler has flirted with the Constitution Party before. In 2008, he backed Chuck Baldwin, the Pensacola based minister who was the party’s candidate in that year’s presidential election. Hostettler does not have an open shot at the party’s nomination and there are other candidates, including attorney Darrell Castle who was Baldwin’s running mate in 2008. One big-name Republican -- former Ambassador Alan Keyes -- lost his bid to end up as the party’s candidate in 2008. 

Reach Kevin Derby at or follow him on Twitter: @KevinDerbySSN 


I wonder if Mr. Hostettler is aware of the Constitution Party's baggage with religious extremism and hostility to anything that is non-fundamentalist Christian. Simply google Michael Peroutka, Don Grundmann or Riley Hood of the Wisconsin CP for example, and you'll see what I mean. In fact-

John Hostettler voted YES on making the PATRIOT Act permanent. He adamantly defends the Patriot Act as well. I really hope the Constitution Party's delegates know this information. For this reason, he would be a bad choice. Please nominate Darrell Castle instead!

"John Hostettler voted YES on making the PATRIOT Act permanent. He adamantly defends the Patriot Act as well. I really hope the Constitution Party's delegates know this information. For this reason, he would be a bad choice." The above type of attitude is one major reason you Constitutionalists will never grow into a major 3rd party. If someone does not dot their "i's" and cross their "t's" the way you think they should on each and every issue, then you don't want to anything to do with them. You Constitutionalists are like robots, and don't think for yourself. You take your marching orders from the party leaders and plow ahead without often knowing what you are doing.

I agree that trying to change the GOP from within has been tried for years now and is a waste of time. What is truly needed is for disgruntled conservatives to stop being complacent or feeling defeated and stand up and do something for a change. Stop accepting the status quo. THAT is the only way things will change. Both the GOP and Democrats have sold out their bases. Give me a good Constitutionist we can support.

I would rather dump the party system all together.

Actually, I believe the Constitution Party approached John Hostettler instead of he approaching them. What is to be gained for conservatives by continuing to vote for most Republicans on the federal level? More Boehner and McConnell without any guts for the fight? Hostettler has shown consistent faith and belief in the Constitution without pandering to GOP leadership. Just ask Newt and Bush.

Third parties have rarely gotten very far and have cost one or the other of the two major parties (usually the GOP) to lose elections. Disenchanted voters would be well advised to work for desired position change within the major parties much as the Tea Party Movement is doing in the GOP.

Yeah, change the GOP from the inside. Like that will ever work. Rove and the liberal Establishment GOP will never allow that to happen. Stop believing the lie that the GOP owns our votes, vote for the party that has your values, and see real change. Or, keep getting the same results you always get from the GOP. Don Stone 1st Vice Chairman Constitution Party of Illinois

I have watched the Tea Party try to affect position change since the movement began and the GOP has resisted at every corner, instead the GOP has made the Tea Party look like idiots. Conservatives should totally abandon the GOP and join firmly with The Conservative Party, as I am in the process of doing.

Trump-Hostettler? Hostettler-West? I think that the GOP has sold its base out, the Democrat Party has sold out the their base, Unions, Minorities, and Women, it is time to flip off both parties.

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