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Third Party Impact on the 2008 Minnesota Legislative Vote

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Third party candidates in the Gopher State made a slight comeback in 2008, and had some impact on Minnesota legislative races on Tuesday.

Two races were decidedly impacted by third party candidacies. In the open DFL House District 51A, Republican Tim Sanders defeated DFL candidate Shawn Hamilton by a 47.8 to 43.2 percent margin. Independence Party candidate Daniel William Sanders won 8.7 percent - nearly twice as much as the winning victory margin of 4.6 points. Barack Obama carried the battleground district by 1.5 points in the presidential contest, as did El Tinklenberg by 8.1 points in the 6th CD race. Norm Coleman, however, won the district by 7.2 points in the US Senate race.

In the special election to fill Republican Senator Betsy Wergin's seat (who was appointed to the Public Utilities Commission) in Senate District 16, write-in votes for exiled Republican Mark Olson netted 1,462 votes, or 3.2 percent. As a result, the district flipped as DFLer Lisa Fobbe defeated Republican primary winner Alison Krueger by just 85 votes. Smart Politics contemplated a DFL pickup in SD 16 back in mid-August prior to the Republican primary.

Incumbent, "Override 6" alumni, and former Republican Ron Erhardt, who ran on the Moderate Independent Party ticket this year to challenge Republican nominee Keith Downey and DFLer Kevin Staunton, also may have helped the GOP carry his 41A House District. Downey defeated Erhardt by 4.8 points and Staunton by 5.3 points in a district Barack Obama won by 12.6 points. It is unclear if Staunton would have prevailed had Erhardt stepped down after failing to win the GOP nomination, however, as Norm Coleman won the district by 8.6 points and Erik Paulsen won the 3rd CD race in 41A by 6.7 points.

Overall, there were 14 candidates on the ballot in Minnesota House races - up from 11 in 2006. The number of third party state House candidacies is down from its 1996-2004 heyday, in which an average of 29 candidates appeared on the ballot.

Previous post: Independence Party Sets New Records in Election 2008
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Remains of the Data

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Political Crumbs

Final Four Has Presidential Approval

By edging Michigan in the final seconds Sunday, the University of Kentucky guaranteed that one school in the Final Four this year would be located in a state that was not carried by President Barack Obama in 2012. (Connecticut, Florida, and Wisconsin had previously earned Final Four slots over the weekend). Across the 76 Final Fours since 1939, an average of 3.1 schools have been located in states won by the president's ticket during the previous election cycle. All four schools have come from states won by the president 29 times, with the most recent being the 2009 Final Four featuring Connecticut, Michigan State, North Carolina, and Villanova. On 30 occasions three Final Four schools have been located in states won by the president, with two schools 11 times and only one school six times (the most recent being 2012 with Kansas, Kentucky, Louisville, and Ohio State). There has never been a Men's NCAA Division I Final Four in which no schools were located in states carried by the president's ticket.


Three for the Road

A new Rasmussen Poll shows Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker in a dead heat with likely 2014 Democratic nominee Mary Burke. Walker is seeking to win his third consecutive election after prevailing in 2012's recall contest. Eight of his predecessors accomplished this feat: Republicans Lucius Fairchild (in 1869), Jeremiah Rusk (1886), Robert La Follette (1904), Emanuel Philipp (1918), John Blaine (1924), Walter Kohler (1954), Warren Knowles (1968), and Tommy Thompson (1994). Three others Badger State governors lost on their third campaign: Democrat George Peck (1894), Progressive Philip La Follette (1938), and Republican Julius Heil (1942). One died in office before having the opportunity to win a third contest (GOPer Walter Goodland in 1947) while another resigned beforehand (Democrat Patrick Lucey in 1977 to become Ambassador to Mexico). Overall Wisconsin gubernatorial incumbents have won 35 of 47 general election contests, or 74.5 percent of the time.


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