- Associated Press - Tuesday, May 15, 2012

A private organization established to run a third-party candidate in this year’s presidential election has thrown in the towel, saying no one mustered sufficient support for such an effort.

Kahlil Byrd, CEO of Americans Elect, said in a statement that under the rules his group approved for an online primary, the process was being shut down Tuesday.

Third-party presidential candidacies have rarely succeeded in U.S. politics, and Americans Elect had hoped to conduct the “Americans Elect Online Convention” this June.

But Mr. Byrd said that “as of today, no candidate has reached the national support threshold required” to enter the online convention. He added that there still is “an almost universal desire among delegates, leadership and millions of Americans who have supported AE to see a credible candidate emerge from this process.”

The group was counting on a flood of candidates to compete for its valuable ballot space. To ensure someone credible emerged in the end, the group’s bylaws required prospective nominees to demonstrate support upfront.

Established political and business leaders needed to get preliminary votes of support from at least 1,000 people in each of at least 10 states; lesser-known people faced a bar five times higher.

To date, a draft movement for Republican Ron Paul was the closest. Of declared candidates, former Louisiana Gov. Buddy Roemer was the leader but still more than 4,000 votes shy.

Mr. Roemer said he was not giving up on the organization just yet.

“What Americans Elect has done for our country is revolutionary. It is my sincere hope that they continue on their mission of putting forth a credible candidate to face the bought candidates - Barack Obama and Mitt Romney,” he said in a statement Tuesday.

Americans Elect canceled three rounds of voting that were to precede a national online convention. Now organizers are trying to figure out what to do next.

“Every step of the way, AE has conferred with its community before making major decisions,” Mr. Kahlil said in a statement. “We will do the same this week before determining next steps for the immediate future. AE will announce the results of these conversations on Thursday, May 17.”