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The Ventura Legacy: Solidified and Stronger Third Parties

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From the Center for the Study of Politics and Governance press release:

Jesse Ventura ran in the 1998 governor's election as a rebel intent on breaking the hold of the two party system on government. Yet, critics charged that Governor Ventura failed to convert his personal following into a lasting legacy of third party strength in Minnesota. Doug Grow blasted Ventura in a Star Tribune June 2002 column for "blowing a huge opportunity" and "giving almost nothing back" to the Independence Party while Jim Ragsdale predicted in a July 2002 Milwaukee Journal Sentinel story that Ventura's legacy "won't endure" in part because "party building" was not a priority.

The conventional wisdom is wrong or, at a minimum, requires a significant revision. Ventura's successful campaign for governor in 1998 solidified and strengthened third parties in State and national elections in Minnesota. Although Ventura benefited from the history of third party success in Minnesota, his election campaign for governor expanded the number of state and national elections in which third party candidates won a significant number of votes.

The strengthening of third parties under Ventura had an impact on the balance of power in Minnesota government. Third Party candidates defeated Democrats and Republicans and won elections. Even when not winning, they tipped several elections by drawing voters from one of the major parties. In the 2002 and 2006 gubernatorial campaigns, Independence Party candidates Tim Penny and Peter Hutchinson likely served as king makers by drawing enough votes from Democratic Party candidates to help Republican Tim Pawlenty win by pluralities of 44 percent and 47 percent.

After Ventura's departure from Minnesota politics in 2002, the success of third parties generally declined.

To read the complete report go to: www.politicsandgovernance.org/reports/2008/The_Ventura_Legacy.pdf

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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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