John Anderson, a moderate progressive Republican, contrasted with Ronald Reagan in 1980 and gained 11 percent in Colorado, well-above his national average of 6.6 percent. It was his sixth best state, but Reagan won Colorado and the presidency.
Theodore Roosevelt, who came in second in the 1912 election ahead of President Taft, won 27 percent of Colorado’s vote and 17 percent nationally. He was the most successful third party candidate in the nation’s history.
Governor Dick Lamm, who was never comfortable in the Democratic Party (fiscally conservative and socially conservative on a few issues, but an environmentalist committed to limited growth and abortion rights). Although he remained a Democrat in his three terms as governor, in 1996 he ran for the nomination of Reform Party. Ross Perot decided to run again and eliminated Lamm.
Most recently, Tom Tancredo ran on the American Constitution Party label and received 36 percent of the vote for governor in 2010.
Could a third party candidate in either Colorado or nationally become viable in the current polarized and gridlocked political environment?