Canada's electoral history from 1867 to today

When political conviction doesn't lead to political success

by Maurice Y. Michaud (he/him)

John C. Turmel (1951– )
© Photo 2012 David Langer — licensed under CC BY 3.0

There are perennial candidates, then there's John Turmel, shown here. He is the Guinness World Records holder for the most contested and lost elections but, because PoliCan does not track municipal elections, he "only" appears 95 times, challenging 138 other profiled individuals. Including him, PoliCan has 852 perennial candidates, which is defined as "a person who has never been elected and has run five times or more at the federal or provincial level."

  • Given that 69,098 candidates have been recorded so far, that means that 1.23% are considered perennial. Of those 852 perennials, 138 (or 16.20%) have a full profile.
  • Then a subset of perennials would be the extreme perennials — those individuals who ran ten times or more without success. By that definition, the number goes down to only 110 (or 0.16% of all candidates), but 50 of those (or 45.45%) have a full profile.
Not all perennial candidates' political careers are catastrophic — just lacklustre. For instance:
  • There are those 203 "one-hit wonders" — those who ran five times of more but won only once. Although they represent only 1.41% of parliamentarians and 0.29% of recorded candidates, they are nearly twice as numerous as extreme perennials.
  • And then there are the "underwhelming" — those whose success rate is below 30% — referring to the 48 persons who ran seven times or more but won only twice, representing 0.33% of parliamentarians and 0.07% of all candidates.
However, as limited as their success was, they are still classified as "Elected" rather than "Perennial."

© 2019, 2024 :: (Maurice Y. Michaud)
Pub.: 21 Jul 2022 16:46
Rev.: 12 Nov 2023 23:53 (but data presented dynamically)