One of the key aspects of McCain’s use of the public campaign finance regime to help his campaign is using it as leverage to get on the ballot in certain states. Ballot access is often a hard proposition, requiring a great deal of time, infrastructure and money to succeed. I’m trying to get a full list of states that McCain used his qualification for matching funds as a means of getting on the ballot, but here is the story in Ohio. This is the former Republican commissioner to the FEC:
McCain used his FEC certification for at least one other purpose.Qualifying for the presidential primary ballot in Ohio is a complex process, requiring a candidate to gather over 100 signatures in each of the state’s 18 districts, using separate petitions for each county within the district, which must be filed with local election boards around the state. Additionally, the candidate must gather still more signatures statewide, all under some very complicated rules and local interpretations. Fred Thompson, Mitt Romney, Rudy Giuliani, and most of the presidential campaigns went through this process, at considerable time and expense. With a filing date of January 3, this was done by these campaigns at precisely the moment McCain was desperately borrowing to keep his campaign afloat, lacking money and resources to organize and gather signatures to be placed on the Ohio ballot.
But Ohio has an alternative means of getting on the ballot – you can simply present your FEC matching funds authorization to the Secretary of State, and go straight to the ballot, without petitioning.And this is what Senator McCain did.