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Presence and Impact of Third Party Candidates in MN House Races Declining

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For a number of years State House races in Minnesota were peppered with a significant number of third party or independent candidates. In 2006, however, the presence of these non-major party candidates was the lowest in a decade.

In 1998 there were 18 non-major party candidates on the ballot in State House races, averaging 9.0% of the vote in districts in which they were on the ballot.

In 2000 there were 32 such candidates, averaging 9.8% of the vote.

The 2002 election saw a record number of third party candidates—43—though the average support dropped a bit to 8.7%.

In 2004 there were 30 third party or independent candidates on the ballot, averaging 8.2% of the vote.

In 2006 there were only 11 non-major party candidates in State House races. Their impact was also at a decade-long low: averaging just 6.6% of the vote.

Why is Minnesota witnessing a decline in third parties? The strength of the state's Independence Party is the likely target of debate—although that party did field several candidates in statewide and federal races. Other possible explanations could be the Minnesota voter today sees a bigger difference between the Republicans and the DFL—thereby creating less of a need or groundswell for third-party candidates to emerge in a particular district. The Independence Party itself also could be seen as more closely aligned to the DFL in 2006 as compared to six or eight years ago—with democrats claiming to advance a more fiscally responsible agenda.

Previous post: Minnesota State Legislative Recount Update
Next post: Upper Midwest Leads the Nation in 2006 Voter Turnout

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Remains of the Data

Plurality-Winning Governors Elected At Century-Long High Water Mark

The rate of gubernatorial candidates elected without the support of a majority of voters is at its highest level since the 1910s.

Political Crumbs

Seeing Red

Congressman Nick Rahall's failed bid for a 20th term in West Virginia this cycle, combined with a narrow loss by Nick Casey to Alex Mooney in Shelley Moore Capito's open seat, means that West Virginia Democrats will be shut out of the state's U.S. House delegation for the first time in over 90 years. The Republican sweep by two-term incumbent David McKinley in the 1st CD, Mooney in the 2nd, and Evan Jenkins over Rahall in the 3rd marks the first time the GOP has held all seats in the chamber from West Virginia since the Election of 1920. During the 67th Congress (1921-1923) all six seats from the state were controlled by the GOP. Since the Election of 1922, Democrats have won 76 percent of all U.S. House elections in the Mountain State - capturing 172 seats compared to 54 for the GOP.


Home Field Advantage?

When the 114th Congress convenes in a few days, Maine will be represented by one home-grown U.S. Representative: Waterville-born Republican Bruce Poliquin. With the departure of Millinocket-born Mike Michaud, who launched a failed gubernatorial bid, the Pine Tree State was poised to send a House delegation to D.C. without any Maine-born members for the first time since 1821. Three-term U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree (born in Minnesota) coasted to reelection as expected, however Poliquin edged Kentucky-born Emily Cain by 5.3 points to keep the streak alive. Since 1876, a total of 208 of the 222 candidates elected to the nation's lower legislative chamber from the state have been born in Maine, or 94 percent.


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