Minnesota's in the Middle

All things Minnesota politics

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Across the board success? This might be the year

The Independence Party is evaluated in large part by how it does in the race for Governor. This makes sense as it is where the party saw it's only major victory, and most observers don't really care about the difference between 5 and 7% in other races. The Governors race on it's own, however does not do a good job of telling the whole story. It would still be a minor shock if the IP victory rate this fall was anything above 10%, but a couple positive trends exist. First off that slow upward trend has not stopped, second the quality of candidate seems to be heading in the right direction, 3rd fundraising for candidates is improving.

There is a point in "3rd party" politics where if you provide a candidate the public can get behind, as a centrist "3rd party" usually can, where the small movements will explode and the party can become competitive in a race overnight. As silly as I might think it is the he can't win factor weighs heavily in most voters minds. I'm convinced at some point this election cycle most will be convinced Peter Hutchinson has a chance. The team Minnesota may spread the wealth beyond Peter significantly better then anything else. If that happens the chances of people also voting IP for other candidates would probably rise significantly. If all that comes together it may very well be that some other candidates, Tammy Lee (5th congressional district) or James "Red" Nelson (50B) for example are able to ride the wave of momentum better then Hutchinson and a potential late fade in the Governors race may not be as damaging as it was in 2002 when Tim Penny’s lack of success may have hurt the party across the board.

The other possibility of course is that Peter Hutchinson rides the wave to victory, and everyone else is able to ride that same wave as far as they can take it. Having candidates for the three open federal races should go a long ways as well. The public wants the Independence Party to be successful to a large extent, but they want to see it from more then one or two candidates. Jesse Ventura was somewhat of a fluke, but he also demonstrated where the public wants to take politics in Minnesota. This year may be the one where the flood gates open up, and we see Hundereds of Thousands of Minnesotan's voting IP up and down the ballot.

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