Oregon has a proud history of politics apart from the major parties. We are one of 3 states to elect a non-affiliated candidate as Governor. Wayne Morse served as a non-affiliated U.S. Senator for the years between his resignation from the Republican Party and his joining the Democratic Party.
Unfortunately, it is now all but impossible to run for public office as a non-affiliated candidate in Oregon. In 2005, the Oregon State Legislature enacted HB 2614, a law intended to keep non-affiliated candidates off of the Oregon ballot by disqualifying all Republicans and Democrats who vote (on anything) in the primary election from signing any petition for a candidate seeking to qualify for the general election.
Note: The Oregon Legislature in 2009 overwhelmingly repealed HB 2614 (2005), a course we had urged for 4 years.
The same Legislature passed a law to eliminate the word "Independent" on all ballots. Before 2006, any candidate who qualified for the ballot by collecting sufficient signatures of registered voters was identified on the ballot as "Independent." But the Republicans and Democrats in the Legislature thought that word sounded too good. After all, someone who is "independent" is strong, resourceful, and smart. So they changed the word to "non-affiliated," which instead brings to mind someone who is a loner, misfit loser. But the consequence of this law was to release the term "Independent" to be used as the name of a political party in Oregon.
In response to this new law, citizen activists collected 26,000 signatures during 2006 to form the Independent Party of Oregon. The party was officially recognized by the Oregon Secretary of State in January 2007.
The Independent Party of Oregon seeks to enfranchise the 30 percent of Oregon voters who are not members of a political party and to provide a common sense alternative for voters and political candidates who have grown frustrated with partisan division and special interest control of our elections and government decisions.
The IPO does not adhere to rigid ideology that characterizes many "3rd party" movements in Oregon and America and is not affiliated with any other party on any level (international, national, state). Instead, we seek to recruit members and promote candidates who believe in the importance of good government and who are committed to restoring citizen control over our government processes. We are open to collaborating with members of other political parties in pursuit of these goals and encourage all people of good conscience to join us in that effort.
If you are interested in running as an Independent candidate, we encourage you to review our For Candidates page.