Many Republicans and Democrats running for president in 1980 -- but no third-party candidates -- will be eligible for Secret Service protection under stringent new criteria for "major" candidates issued yesterday.
The guidelines, written by a congressional advisory committee and issued by the Treasury Department, require, amoung other things, that the political party of a candidate seeking protection must have received at least 10 percent of the popular vote in the previous presidential election.
In 1976, democrat jimmy Carter and Republican Gerald Ford together received 98.1 percent of the popular vote. The remaining 1.9 percent of the vote was divide among several candidates. a Treasury spokeman acknowledged yesterday that "as a practical matter," third-party presidential candidnates are thus excluded from Secret Service protection in 1980. But he noted that Treasury Secretary G. William Miller, who has jurisdiction over the Secret Service, could waive the rules and order protection for an otherwise ineligible candidate "if, for example, there should be a sudden national groundswell" giving that individual "major" status.
Another Treasury official said that more than 100 people had filed as candidates for president or vice president with the Fedreal Election Commission as of Oct. 10, but only five -- all Republicans -- were eligible for Secret Service protection as of that date.
Those five -- Sen Howard H. Baker Jr. of Tennessee, Rep. Philip M. Crane of illinois, former California governor Ronald Reagan, former Texas governor John B. Connally and former CIA director George Bush -- are the only announced candidates who have met the additional "major candidate" criteria of qualifying for at least $100,000 in federal matching funds plus raising an additional $900,000 in general campaign contributions.
The guidelines offer an alternative to the financial requirements: If a candidate whose party won at least 10 percent of the 1976 presidential vote (that is, a Republican or Democrat) wins at least 10 percent of the vote in two consecutive primaries next spring, that person would be declared a "major" candidate and entitled to protection.
The Secret Service is authorized to spend $16 million during fiscal 1980 to protect candisdates. Protection is to begin Jan. 11.
Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (D-Mass.), who is scheduled to announce his candidacy next week, is already receiving Secret Sevice protection. President Carter oredered it Sept. 20 under his "inherent authority" in the Constitution, Treasury aides said.
The new "major candidate" protection standards issued yesterday are considerably tougher than those of 1976, when the only substantive requirement was that candidates meet federal matching fund criteria.
That year, independent candidate Eugene Mccarthy and Libertarian Party candidate Roger MacBride failed to obtain matching funds and thus got no Secret Service protection. In 1972, however, when there was no matching fund requirement, both American Party candidate John G. Schmitz and People's Party candidate Benjamin Spock were given protection. Between them, they got 1.5 percent of the popular vote.
Only three third-party candidates in the 20th century have received more than 10 percent of the presidential vote American Independent candidate George C. Wallace in 1968 (13.5 percent), Progressive Party Leader Robert La Follette in 1924 (16.6 percent) and Theodore Roosevelt, also of the Progressive Party, in 1912 (27.4 percent).