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A Third Party Revolution in Utah?

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More third party and independent candidates have run for Congress in the Beehive State during the last quarter-century (84) than during the previous 93 years (77)

independentamericanpartylogo10.pngUtah holds its primary election Tuesday, but the candidates for most of the high-profile races this cycle were already decided weeks ago during nominating conventions in May.

That includes races for the state's four U.S. House seats in which a full complement of Democratic and Republican nominees have now appeared on the ballot for eight consecutive cycles dating back to 2000.

An additional 11 third party and independent candidates also achieved ballot access (all of whom are men).

Independent American nominees will be on the ballot in the 1st (Dwayne Vance), 2nd (Wayne Hill), 3rd (Zack Strong), and 4th (Tim Aalders) congressional districts.

Libertarians are running in the 1st (Craig Bowden) and 4th (Jim Vein) CDs with Constitution Party nominees in the 2nd (Shaun McCausland) and 4th (Collin Simonsen) CDs.

Unaffiliated, or independent candidates, will be on the ballot in the 2nd (Bill Barron) and 3rd (Ben Mates, Stephen Tryon) CDs.

If that seems like is a lot of non-major party candidates running for Congress in 2014, it is.

Smart Politics dug into the data and found that the 11 third party and independent candidates running for Congress in Utah is the most in state history and is the third highest rate of such candidates per district (2.75) across the 61 cycles since statehood.

To be sure, there has been an explosion in the number of third party candidacies for Congress in Utah over the last few decades.

From 1895 through 1988, only 77 non-major party candidates appeared on the ballot in 91 general election district races, or an average of 0.85 per race.

That includes a 16-cycle drought between 1938 and 1968 when not a single third party or independent candidate achieved ballot access across the 32 races during this period.

From 1895 through 1936, a total of 49 non-major party candidates appeared on the ballot: 29 Socialists, four each from the Communist and American parties, two from the Socialist Labor, Progressive, and Populist parties, one independent, and one each from the Liberty, Farmer-Labor, Social Democrat, Silver Republican, and Prohibition parties.

Since 1970, at least one independent or third party candidate has run for Congress each cycle with a particular uptick in the number of such candidates over the last quarter-century.

During the 13 election cycles since 1990, a total of 84 third party and independent candidates have been on the ballot in just 41 races, or 2.05 per race.

That includes:

· 21 Libertarians
· 16 Constitution Party nominees
· 14 independents
· 10 Independent American nominees
· 6 from the Socialist Workers Party
· 5 Natural Law Party candidates
· 4 Greens
· 3 running under the Personal Choice banner (in 2004)
· 3 running from the Independent Party of Utah (in 1992)
· 2 American Party nominees

The previous high-water marks for the number of third party candidates running in any given cycle were nine in 2000, eight in 2004 and 2010, and seven in 1998 and 2006.

Of course, starting in 2012 after reapportionment, the number of congressional districts in Utah got bumped up to four.

As such, the 2.75 rate of non-major party congressional candidates per district ranks as the third highest across the 61 cycles since statehood.

Only two other cycles found a higher rate of such candidates:

· 1908 (3.0): Three ran for the state's lone at-large district (a Socialist, independent, and an American Party nominee)

· 2000 (3.0): Nine ran across the state's three congressional districts (three Independent Americans, three Libertarians, two Natural Law candidates, and an independent)

With Blue Dog Democrat Jim Matheson retiring from the 4th CD this cycle, the outcome of all four races is hardly in doubt in the heavily Republican state.

That said, it will be interesting to see how many conservatives peel off in protest from the Republican nominees in what will likely be four uncompetitive races - giving a boost to the the mostly right-leaning non-major party candidates running this cycle.

Number and Rate of Third Party and Independent Utah U.S. House Candidacies, 1895-2014

Year
Seats
Candidates
Rate
Parties
1895
1
1
1.00
Prohibition
1896
1
2
2.00
Populist, Silver Republican
1898
1
1
1.00
Populist
1900
1
2
2.00
Social Democrat, Socialist Labor
1902
1
1
1.00
Socialist
1904
1
2
2.00
American, Socialist
1906
1
2
2.00
American, Socialist
1908
1
3
3.00
American, Socialist, Independent
1910
1
2
2.00
American, Socialist
1912
2
5
2.50
Progressive (2), Socialist (2), Socialist Labor
1914
2
2
1.00
Socialist (2)
1916
2
2
1.00
Socialist (2)
1918
2
2
1.00
Socialist (2)
1920
2
3
1.50
Socialist (2), Farmer-Labor
1922
2
2
1.00
Socialist (2)
1924
2
0
0.00
 
1926
2
2
1.00
Socialist (2)
1928
2
2
1.00
Socialist (2)
1930
2
3
1.50
Socialist (2), Liberty
1932
2
4
2.00
Socialist (2), Communist (2)
1934
2
4
2.00
Socialist (2), Communist (2)
1936
2
2
1.00
Socialist (2)
1938
2
0
0.00
 
1940
2
0
0.00
 
1942
2
0
0.00
 
1944
2
0
0.00
 
1946
2
0
0.00
 
1948
2
0
0.00
 
1950
2
0
0.00
 
1952
2
0
0.00
 
1954
2
0
0.00
 
1956
2
0
0.00
 
1958
2
0
0.00
 
1960
2
0
0.00
 
1962
2
0
0.00
 
1964
2
0
0.00
 
1966
2
0
0.00
 
1968
2
0
0.00
 
1970
2
2
1.00
American Independent (2)
1972
2
2
1.00
American Independent (2)
1974
2
3
1.50
American Independent (2), Libertarian
1976
2
1
0.50
American Independent
1978
2
5
2.50
Independent (3), American Independent (2)
1980
2
3
1.50
Independent, American Independent, Socialist Workers
1982
3
1
0.33
Independent
1984
3
5
1.67
Libertarian (3), Independent, American
1986
3
3
1.00
Socialist Workers (2), Libertarian
1988
3
3
1.00
Libertarian, American, Socialist Workers
1990
3
5
1.67
American (2), Socialist Workers (2), Independent
1992
3
7
2.33
Independent Party of Utah (3), Socialist Workers (2), Libertarian, Independent
1994
3
2
0.67
Independent, Socialist Workers
1996
3
6
2.00
Natural Law (2), Independent American, Libertarian, Socialist Workers, Independent
1998
3
7
2.33
Libertarian (3), Independent, Independent American (2), Natural Law
2000
3
9
3.00
Independent American (3), Libertarian (3), Natural Law (2), Independent
2002
3
4
1.33
Libertarian (2), Green (2)
2004
3
8
2.67
Constitution (3), Personal Choice (3), Libertarian, Green
2006
3
7
2.33
Constitution (3), Libertarian (3), Green
2008
3
5
1.67
Constitution (3), Libertarian (2)
2010
3
8
2.67
Constitution (3), Independent (3), Libertarian (2)
2012
4
5
1.25
Constitution (2), Independent (2), Libertarian
2014
4
11
2.75
Independent American (4), Independent (3), Constitution (2), Libertarian (2)
Table compiled by Smart Politics.

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