DENVER – It’s no secret that the two major candidates for president this election are viewed as among the most unfavorable in the history of elections.
When averaging favorable/unfavorable polls, about 53.4 percent see Democrat Hillary Clinton unfavorably, while an average of 59 percent of people polled view Republican nominee Donald Trump as unfavorable, according to Real Clear Politics.
Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson and Green Party candidate Jill Stein are the two other most-talked about third-party candidates in this election, but some view Johnson as having a lack of knowledge on foreign affairs and others have criticized Stein’s lack of political experience as reasons they shouldn’t deserve votes for president.
But if you’re a Colorado voter with a bad taste in your mouth regarding the major candidates, know that there are other options out there.
Aside from Clinton, Trump, Johnson and Stein, there are 18 other candidates for president on Colorado’s ballot, and six other candidates who have qualified to be write-in candidates on Colorado ballots (and no, you can’t write in Mike Pence, as some have suggested, or John McCain, as John Kasich did when he voted Monday.)
Here’s a short rundown of each candidate:
1. DARRELL L. CASTLE
Darrell Castle is a Memphis-based lawyer running on the American Constitution Party ticket and was nominated by the party in April. Among the positions he favors on various issues are: withdrawing from the United Nations; putting an end to the Federal Reserve; anti-abortion; and removing federal oversight in local planning and development programs.
2. FRANK ATWOOD
Frank Atwood is running on the Approval Voting Party ticket. He is a veteran of Colorado elections: he ran for the CO-1 U.S. House seat in 2014 as a Libertarian, getting 3.3 percent of the vote. In 2012, he ran for the same seat as a Libertarian, getting 3.6 percent of the vote that time. Democrat Diana DeGette won both of those elections.
3. ”ROCKY” ROQUE DE LA FUENTE
Roque De La Fuente is running on the American Delta Party ticket. He is running for president after losing in the Democratic primary for Florida’s U.S. Senate seat to Patrick Murphy. The real estate developer from California supports renewable energy infrastructure development, a focus on education and stopping the U.S. from acting as a “global police force.”
4. JAMES HEDGES
James “Jim” Hedges is running on the Prohibition Party ticket. The Pennsylvania tax assessor tried to get the Prohibition Party’s nomination in 2012, but lost to Jack Fellure. Hedges was initially Greg Seltzer’s likely running mate before Seltzer withdrew and Hedges claimed the nomination. The party was founded to oppose the sale or consumption of alcohol, but was also among the first to support women’s suffrage rights.
5. TOM HOEFLING
Tom Hoefling is running on the America’s Party ticket. The Nebraska native most-recently ran for governor of Iowa in 2014, where he lost to Terry Branstad in the Republican primary by a 83 to 16.8 percent vote. Hoefling opposes Affirmative Action, the Affordable Care Act, renewable energy and supports making religion a part of government and eliminating clean air and water rights.
6. CHRIS KENISTON
Chris Keniston is running on the Veterans Party of America ticket. He is a former U.S. Air Force airman who currently lives in Texas. A former officer of the party, he fell into the nomination after the rest of the party decided not to choose the other candidates. His focus centers on increased military spending and border security, as well as making living-wage jobs more accessible for people.
7. ALYSON KENNEDY
Alyson Kennedy is running on the Socialist Workers Party ticket. She had previously run as the vice presidential candidate on the party’s 2008 ticket. She has been a member of socialist parties since the early ‘70s. The party’s focus remains on low-income workers and fighting against poor living and working conditions.
8. KYLE KENLEY KOPITKE
Dr. Kyle Kenley Kopitke is running on the Independent American Party ticket. He is a former member of the U.S. Army and touts his military experience as reason for why he’s ready to be president. He has a strong focus on national security and foreign policy.
9. LAURENCE KOTLIKOFF
Laurence Kotlikoff is running on the Kotlikoff for President ticket. He is an economist based at Boston University whose focus is on public finance. He tried to run for president in 2012 as well. His primary focus is on economic issues: he proposes the FairTax replace the federal tax code, has talked about transforming LLCs into mutual funds, and would do away with federal and employer-based health care plans, replacing them with a voucher for each American adjusted by their wellness.
10. GLORIA ESTELA LA RIVA
Gloria Estela La Riva is running on the Socialism and Liberation Party ticket. Born in Albuquerque, New Mexico, La Riva ran for president in 1992 and 2008. She also was a vice presidential candidate for the Workers World Party in 1984, ’88, ’96 and 2000. The party’s main aim is to do away with capitalist policies and putting lower-class people and workers first.
11. BRADFORD LYTTLE
Bradford Lyttle is running on the Nonviolent Resistance/Pacificst Party ticket. The 88-year-old has long been an activist and organizer of pro-peace events and founded the U.S. Pacifist Part. Lyttle was on the Colorado presidential ballot in 2008 and received 110 votes. He ran as a write-in candidate in 1984, 1996 and 2000.
12. JOSEPH ALLEN MALDONADO
Joseph Allen Maldonado, also known as “Joe Exotic,” is running on the Independent People ticket. His website says the “affordable care act [sic] is a joke,” but that the for-profit health care system is “broken.” It says he wants to model his system after “Canda [sic]” and that people have the right to “bare arms [sic]” under the Second Amendment.
13.MICHAEL A. MATUREN
Michael A. Maturen is running on the American Solidarity Party ticket. The Michigan salesman is opposed to abortion and capital punishment and has Christian-based beliefs.
14. EVAN MCMULLIN
Evan McMullin is running unaffiliated and is considered to be the third most-popular non-major party candidate in the 2016 election. He is a former Republican who was the chief policy director for the House Republican Conference and is a former CIA officer. His campaign was launched on the basis that it was a conservative alternative to Republicans who didn’t want to vote for Donald Trump. He hopes that a tie in the Electoral College would send the matter to the House, thus giving him a possibility of receiving the favorable vote from representatives opposed to Trump or Clinton. McMullin is pro-life, supports NAFTA and the TPP, and is a believer in climate change.
15. RYAN ALAN SCOTT
Ryan Alan Scott is running as an independent in the General Election. He raised the $1,000 necessary to get on Colorado’s ballot through an IndieGoGo campaign. “I could go through my political ideas, but that’s pointless – this is just for fun and I’m not going to win,” Scott, a freelance writer and pastor, wrote on the IndieGoGo campaign site.
16. ROD SILVA
Rod Silva is running on the Nutrition Party ticket. He is a restaurateur from New Jersey and is the son of Brazilian Immigrants. His restaurant focuses on healthy foods, and his primary reason for running for president is to focus on America’s obesity rates and other health problems that stem from poor nutrition.
17. MIKE SMITH
Mike Smith is a Colorado Springs-based attorney running as an independent. He was a White House intern in 2006 and has aligned his policies with the classic Republican policies of Ronald Reagan. His website says he opposes “radical Islamic terrorism” and wants to ensure Second Amendment rights and national defense.
18. EMIDIO SOLTYSIK
Emidio “Mimi” Soltysik is running on the Socialist Party USA ticket. He has served as either vice chair or co-chair of the party since 2011 and was nominated as the party’s choice for president this year.
19. BRUCE LOHMILLER (WRITE-IN)
Bruce Lohmiller is a write-in candidate running on the Green and Democratic Party ticket. He is from Grand Junction.
20. THOMAS J. NIEMAN (WRITE-IN)
Thomas J. Nieman is running as an independent/Libertarian. He is a commercial real estate agent.
21. COREY STERNER (WRITE-IN)
Corey Sterner is running as an independent/on the Republican ticket. He has dabbled in being a write-in candidate before, but says he is “apathetic” about American politics over the past two years, though his blog shows he has equal dislike for Democrats and Donald Trump.
22. DAVID PERRY (WRITE-IN)
David Perry is a write-in candidate on the Republican ticket. He is a former Marine and police officer who now lives in Tennessee after years in his native California. His website says the president should not condemn law enforcement and that he wants to reduce the national debt and control government spending.
23. BRIAN ANTHONY PERRY (WRITE-IN)
Brian Anthony Perry is running as an independent write-in candidate. His Facebook page has all you’d need to know about him: “#Iam Brian Perry you can find more about me by Googling Perry B. Anthony. #Iam not like other Presidential Candidates. I smoke weed and speak the truth.”
24. CHERUNDA FOX (WRITE-IN)
Cherunda Fox is running as an independent write-in candidate. She wants to issue $400,000 to each person who can prove an ancestor was a slave, which would be used for investments and home buying. She promises to pay off the national debt by 2025 and institute a regional minimum wage.
So there you have it folks: if you don’t like the main candidates, there are plenty more out there! Most of them are serious about their issues; some are not. But that's the beauty of democracy -- vote for who you want to vote for.