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Will 3rd Party Candidates Tilt MN 2008 Senate Race?

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As a recent SurveyUSA poll showed Norm Coleman's lead over both Al Franken and Mike Cerisi down to low single digits, the question emerges as to whether or not the introduction of a viable third party candidate in the race could influence the outcome.

In two of the past three Minnesota U.S. Senate races (2000, 2002), votes for third party candidates were greater than the margin of victory in the race. In fact, third party support in Senate races in Minnesota since 1996 is greater than any other of the dozen states in the Midwest.

Third party candidates have averaged 5.9 percent of the vote in the Gopher State, with Indiana coming in second at 4.2 percent. No other state averages even half the turnout for third party candidates than in Minnesota.

Minnesota also leads the Midwest in third party turnout for President (7.3 percent), U.S. House candidates (4.2 percent), and gubernatorial candidates (21.5 percent) since 1996.

The conventional wisdom is that third party candidates leaning to the left (Green, Independence) will hurt the DFL nominee more than right-leaning third party candidates (Constitution) will hurt the Republican nominee. Support for the former has been much stronger in Minnesota U.S. Senate elections than for the latter, but, in 2008, the strength of third party candidacies may hinge on whether Al Franken or Mike Ciresi is the DFL nominee. Franken—because he is a newcomer with a non-traditional political pedigree—may be more able to attract those voters who would normally abandon a major party nominee than Ciresi (a lawyer, though not a career politician by any means).

The third party factor could just be the slight edge Norm Coleman needs to retain his Senate seat for a second term.

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3 Comments


  • Minnesota better start taking politics a little more seriously. You seem to think its funny to elect unqualified candidates

  • www.rcjorgensen2008.com
    Change is not Obama from Harvard nor Clinton from Yale, Bush's Almamater. If you want change rock the vote and elect the first write in Candidate! Write in RC Jorgensen this November. Justice served.

  • Served "General Indictment"
    to the White 3/29/2004 arrested and cuffed and stuffed with no lock on Handcuffs, cut wrists and was released. Bush and Cheney broke federal contracting laws giving no bid contracts to Haliburton.= Stealing!

  • Leave a comment


    Remains of the Data

    Who Has Won the Most Votes in US Senate Electoral History?

    Only three of the Top 10 and nine of the Top 50 vote-getters of all time are currently serving in the chamber.

    Political Crumbs

    Six for Thirteen

    Collin Peterson remarked last month that he is leaning to run for reelection to Minnesota's 7th Congressional District in 2016. If he does and is victorious, he will creep even closer to the top of the list of the longest-serving U.S. Representatives in Minnesota history. The DFL congressman is only the sixth Minnesotan to win at least 13 terms to the U.S. House of the 135 elected to the chamber in state history. Peterson trails 18-term DFLer Jim Oberstar (1975-2011), 16-term Republicans Harold Knutson (1917-1949) and August Andresen (1925-1933; 1935-1958), and 14-term DFLers Martin Sabo (1979-2007) and John Blatnik (1947-1974). Andresen died in office, Sabo and Blatnik retired, and Knutson and Oberstar were defeated at the ballot box in 1948 and 2010 respectively. At 70 years, 7 months, 11 days through Monday, Peterson is currently the ninth oldest Gopher State U.S. Representative in history. DFLer Rick Nolan of the 8th CD is the seventh oldest at 71 years, 1 month, 23 days.


    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.


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