paper candidate

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paper candidate ‎(plural paper candidates)

  1. An election candidate with little chance of winning, who is added to the ballot for publicity and to increase the number standing.
    • 1928, James M. Beck Election Case First District of Pennsylvania, volume 2, page 126:
      Mr. Kent. I never knew of any actual Democratic opponent to a Republican candidate for Congress in Philadelphia for a number of years, but there may have been some "paper candidate" set up.
    • 1997, David Butler, The British General Election of 1997, page 211:
      One Labour candidate in a safe seat believed that his Liberal Democrat opponent was nothing but a ‘paper candidate’, while the Conservatives’ candidate in Scotland reported that his local party had been asked ‘not to canvass but to send people to key seats’; the opposition parties did likewise and were ‘almost nowhere to be seen’.
    • 2003, House of Commons Debates, Official Report (Hansard), E. Cloutier, Queen's Printer and Controller of Stationery:
      The concern is that groups, including advocacy groups, could register as parties simply by fielding a paper candidate and complying with reporting requirements.
    • 2006, The Parliamentary Monitor, number 135–138, page 74:
      A contest appears inevitable, even if he is running against a paper candidate such as Lynne Jones, and the chancellor has put in the groundwork necessary to mount a spirited and successful campaign.