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Where Have All the 3rd Party Minnesota Candidates Gone?

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In recent years Minnesota has lead all Upper Midwestern states with the highest percentage of successful third party campaigns in state legislative races. While third party candidates still have a significant presence in the Gopher state (especially in state-wide elections), the number of third party candidates in Minnesota's 2006 state legislative races is now trending downwards.

In 2002, nearly one-third of state Senate districts (21) had third-party candidates garner at least 2 percent of the vote in the general election—sometimes impacting the outcome of the election. In 2006, however, there will only be 9 third-party Senate candidates on the ballot: 7 Independence Party candidates, 1 Green Party candidate, and 1 independent candidate.

Third parties have also traditionally played a major part in Minnesota state House elections. In 2004, 30 third party or independent candidacies garnered 2% or more of the general election vote. There were 42 such successful third-party and independent candidacies in 2002, 32 in 2000, and 18 in 1998. In 2006, however, only 10 House district races boast third party candidates: 9 with candidates from the Independence Party and 1 with an independent candidate.

The Jesse Ventura years clearly gave third party candidates a boost in Minnesota, but the clock may now be running on the half-life of this legacy.

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1 Comment


  • Eric,

    I appreciate your bringing attention to independent candidates for state legislature in 2006. As the one third party candidate who is not affiliated with the Independence party, attention has been hard to come by.

    You wouldn't happen to have any information about how these candidates are doing, would you?

  • Leave a comment


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