What’s In A Name (Updated)

“Name of Candidate (in full).” It seems like a simple instruction, but some of the 17 “major” Republican candidates were not able to comply with that simple directive on the Federal Election Commission form required of all presidential candidates.

Federal election law requires that every person running for president file a “Form 2 Statement of Candidacy”, listing their name, address, party affiliation and the name of their campaign committee.  It’s a one page form, as simple as it sounds.  A look at the 17 “major”declared Republican candidates revealed varying compliance with that directive.

One candidate, James Stuart Gilmore III, filed using his “full name,” while seven others filed  with their legal first name and middle initial.  Those included candidates who generally go by their first name (Donald J. Trump, George E. Pataki, John R. Kasich, Lindsey O. Graham), two who go by a common shortening of their name (Christopher J. Christie and Benjamin S. Carson, Sr., M.D.) and one who goes by a common nickname of his given name (Richard J. Santorum).

Two candidates (Scott Walker and Marco Rubio) filed with their legal first and last names, but omitted their middle name.

Two candidates filed with their full, or nearly full, names (Rafael Edward ‘Ted’ Cruz and James R (Rick) Perry) but added their nickname.  Two others (Rand Paul and Mike Huckabee) filed with their preferred shortened versions of their legal names, Randal and Michael, respectively.

Three candidates filed under their commonly used nicknames.  Jeb Bush, Bobby Jindal and Carly Fiorina (John Ellis, Piyush and Cara Carleton, respectively) are widely known by their nicknames and virtually none of the public could identify them by their legal names, so it’s not deceptive for them to have done so.  Its clearly not compliant with the Federal Election Commission requirements, however.

Unlike state election laws, which often allow for nicknames so long as they’re not deceptive, federal election law does not appear to provide for such variations.

Update:  The FEC’s internal guidelines for reviewing filings don’t provide for the use of shortened names or nicknames.  The “Reports Analysis Division Review and Referral Procedures for the 2015-2015 Election Cycle” provides that “in order to be considered adequately filed, a Statement of Candidacy must disclose [the] … [c]omplete name and address of the candidate.”