Shawn O’Hara, who has led the Mississippi Reform Party for over a decade, has died at the age of 60. The Mississippi Reform Party has been the only state unit of the Reform Party that has never missed running candidates in every federal and state election since the party was founded. O’Hara himself was the party’s nominee for U.S. Senate this year. He was the party’s candidate recruiter, and it always ran candidates for U.S. House in all elections. He also recruited many candidates for Mississippi state office, in the odd years when Mississippi holds those elections.
He was a witness in the Florida state court litigation in 2004, over whether Ralph Nader should remain on the Florida ballot as the Reform Party’s presidential nominee. The issue was whether the Reform Party was a bona fide political party entitled to be recognized under Florida’s ballot access laws. Nader and the Reform Party won that lawsuit. O’Hara was one of the party’s few witnesses, and he testified about its national convention, which the Democratic Party had argued was not a bona fide national convention. See this story about O’Hara. He was found dead on November 20 in his home, but the exact date of death is not known.