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MN State House: Independence Party Stops the Bleeding

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The Independence Party has stopped the bleeding.

After leaving a major footprint on Minnesota State House races in the 2000, 2002, and 2004 elections, the number of IP candidates on the ballot greatly declined in 2006 to just nine districts. At the time of the close of Tuesday’s filing deadline, 10 districts will see an IP candidate's name on the ballot in November’s general election (Districts 01A, 03A, 04A, 07B, 11A, 51A, 54B, 58B, 59A, and 59B).

In 2000, the IP fielded candidates in 27 House races – a significant 20 percent of all districts in the state. That number held steady at 27 in 2002, dropping slightly to 21 districts in 2004 (16 percent of all districts). The plunge to just nine districts in 2006 marked a low-point for the Party, although its candidates were able to average 5.7 percent of the vote. That number, however, had also fallen from high points in 2000 (9.9 percent) and 2002 (10.1 percent). In 2004, the 21 candidates averaged 7.1 percent of the vote.

Rightly or wrongly, the Independence Party, which still holds major party status in the state thanks to Peter Hutchinson garnering 6.4 percent of the 2006 gubernatorial vote, has faced an identity crisis in recent years due to the perception that it is closely aligned with the platform of the DFL.

Many of the Core Values of the IP’s platform, do suggest an ideological overlap with Democratic Party principles (e.g. protecting the environment, defense of personal liberties, embracing diversity etc.); however, other Core Values not so long ago would have been associated with the GOP (e.g. local government control, fiscal responsibility).

The impact of the Independence Party on the DFL and Republican vote will be examined at Smart Politics later this week.

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1 Comment


  • Looking forward to this analysis. Anecdotally, it seems to me that the IP is really hurting the DFL, particularly in the Gubernatorial race.

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    Remains of the Data

    No Free Passes: States With 2 Major Party Candidates in Every US House Race

    Indiana has now placed candidates from both major parties on the ballot in a nation-best 189 consecutive U.S. House races, with New Hampshire, Minnesota, Idaho, and Montana also north of 100 in a row.

    Political Crumbs

    Gubernatorial Highs and Lows

    Two sitting governors currently hold the record for the highest gubernatorial vote ever received in their respective states by a non-incumbent: Republican Matt Mead of Wyoming (65.7 percent in 2010) and outgoing GOPer Dave Heineman of Nebraska (73.4 percent in 2006). Republican Gary Herbert of Utah had not previously won a gubernatorial contest when he notched a state record 64.1 percent for his first victory in 2010, but was an incumbent at the time after ascending to the position in 2009 after the early departure of Jon Huntsman. Meanwhile, two sitting governors hold the record in their states for the lowest mark ever recorded by a winning gubernatorial candidate (incumbent or otherwise): independent-turned-Democrat Lincoln Chafee of Rhode Island (36.1 percent in 2010) and Democrat Terry McAuliffe of Virginia (47.8 percent in 2013).


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