Cocaine or Chocolate Pancakes for President? FEC filings show list of odd candidates

Chocolate Pancakes, alongside running mate Banana Pancakes, is one of more than 1,000 candidates who officially filed to run for president in 2020.

Each year, dozens of pranksters use phony names to file with the Federal Election Commission for a White House run.

Our review turned up a few questionable entries, including Cocaine, Sexy Vegan and Seven the Dog. Candidate Seymour Cats even has a campaign website, saying, “If you want to run with the big dogs, you’ve got to vote for a cat.”

The commission adopted a policy to verify information in registration forms and campaign finance reports filed with the agency that appear to be false or fictitious. The FEC said Cocaine and Chocolate Pancakes will soon be moved to the unverified list. Letters ask the candidates to withdraw their forms or confirm their intention to truly try to get the keys to 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. The letters include a reminder of penalties for filing false documents at a federal agency.

Since 2007, the FEC has removed more than 600 questionable or fictitious candidates and committees.

Sam Hoff is a history and political science professor at Delaware State University. He is running for president as an independent for the ninth time. This year, his presidential campaign's committee name is, "For Times O'Plenty, Vote Hoff President in 2020."

Hoff says he can always count on at least two votes, including himself and his wife, who serves as his campaign's treasurer.

"I run to demonstrate to students the simple two-step procedure for filing with the FEC," Hoff said. "Once a person completes the candidate and organization forms and designates a treasurer, he or she is good to go."

Anyone can run for president, if they're at least 35 years old, a U.S. citizen and a U.S. resident for at least 14 years. Formally registering to run for the nation's highest office requires only two forms. The FEC says it doesn't consider filers actual candidates until they've raised $5,000.

Many filers say they’re with the Democratic Party, but there’s also Republican, Libertarian, Independent, Green and Delta parties listed. Some of the candidates have raised tens of thousands of dollars. Most of the major party nominees have raised tens of millions of dollars. The majority of filers will never qualify for a primary ballot.

Hoff argues it's an American right to run for president. He says third-party and independent candidates are patriotic people who are as earnest and informed as major party nominees.

He says the more candidates, the healthier the political system.