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Green Party Sets Personal Best in Minnesota's HD 61B Contest

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In Minnesota’s House District 61B election on Tuesday, Green Party candidate Farheen Hakeem received 30.3 percent of the vote – the highest mark ever reached by the Green Party in a House contest.

The Green Party has run 29 candidates for the House of Representatives in special and general election contests since 1998. The previous high mark was in 2004 when Tom Taylor earned 20.9 percent in District 59A. Only five other Green Party candidates have reached double digits:

· 2002: Tom Menke in District 35A (20.0 percent)
· 2000: Holle M. Brian in District 62B (16.5 percent)
· 2006: Jesse Mortensen in District 64A (15.5 percent)
· 2004: Becki Smith in District 59B (12.7 percent)
· 2002: Eric Oines in District 58A (10.9 percent)

Hakeem and Taylor are the only Green Party candidates to have come in 2nd place in a House district contest. Hakeem set a record for defeating her Republican opponent, Kirsten Lindberg, by 21.0 points. In 2004 Taylor defeated his Republican opponent, Valdis Rozentals, by just 3.4 points.

Only one other Green Party candidate for state legislative or executive office had eclipsed the 30 percent mark in the Gopher State: Joel Sipress received 37.0 percent of the vote in the special election on January 22, 2002 in Senate District 07. However, there was no Republican on the ballot in that contest – only DFL and Independence Party candidates.

Despite this record-setting performance by Hakeem, the Green Party has had difficulty in recruiting candidates for House races in recent years, after a strong run in 2002-2004:

Number of Green Party Candidates in Minnesota House Races
1998: 1
2000: 1
2002: 17
2003 (special): 1
2004: 7
2006: 1
2008: 1

Previous post: Third Party Impact on the 2008 Minnesota Legislative Vote
Next post: How Will the National Media Cover the Franken vs. Coleman Recount?

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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).


An Idaho Six Pack

Two-term Idaho Republican Governor Butch Otter only polled at 39 percent in a recent PPP survey of the state's 2014 race - just four points ahead of Democratic businessman A.J. Balukoff. Otter's low numbers reflect his own struggles as a candidate (witness his weak primary win against State Senator Russ Fulcher) combined with the opportunity for disgruntled Idahoans to cast their votes for one of four third party and independent candidates, who collectively received the support of 12 percent of likely voters: Libertarian John Bujak, the Constitution Party's Steve Pankey, and independents Jill Humble and Pro-Life (aka Marvin Richardson). The six candidate options in a gubernatorial race sets an all-time record in the Gem State across the 46 elections conducted since statehood. The previous high water mark of five candidates was reached in seven previous cycles: 1902, 1904, 1908, 1912, 1914, 1966, and 2010.


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