Historically, write-in campaigns have not succeeded. The successful ones usually feature an opponent with such liabilities that it's easy to win public support. Small, local races lend themselves to write-in campaigns. It is harder when the write-in candidate faces an opponent from the same political party.

Here's a look at some write-in campaigns:

Nov. 2, 1954: Strom Thurmond, running as a member of the States' Rights Party in South Carolina, was elected to the U.S. Senate in the general election with 63 percent of the vote. He was the first person in U.S. history elected to a major office in this manner.

Nov. 5, 1974: Milton B. Allen, state's attorney for Baltimore and one of the country's first black big-city prosecutors, was defeated in the Democratic primary by William Swisher, a white lawyer. Allen launched a write-in, noting that "a lot of people stayed home. They did not think I was going to have any problems in the primary."

Allen said he spent between $30,000 and $40,000 during the two-month campaign. He lost the race, receiving 52,753 to 71,512 for Swisher.

April 1977: Al Veys, a 16-year member of the Omaha City Council, missed the filing date for mayor in a nonpartisan primary. He entered the race two weeks before the primary. He received 18,979 votes and qualified for the general election, in which he beat his opponent and was elected mayor.

"I had no handcards, no yard signs," said Veys. "I bought some television time. Showed a picture of a ballot with the box vacant and . . . 'put in x and write in Veys.' " He said, "It was a good name, short."

November 1980: Joe Skeen became the first person to be elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 22 years in a write-in campaign when he won the general election to represent southwest New Mexico. The Republicans hadn't fielded a candidate when the incumbent, a Democrat seen as unbeatable, died in office.

Skeen entered the race as a write-in after the courts denied the Republicans a place on the ballot and the state's governor named his nephew as the Democratic nominee. The representative's widow also ran as a write-in. Skeen still serves in the House.