Minnesota's in the Middle

All things Minnesota politics

Friday, April 06, 2007


The goals in the past for the IP around this stage in an election cycle have always been to win 3 or 4 seats in the state house and contend for a seat in congress. The 2006 election was a setback as far as how high the goals can be knowing that the qualifications of the candidate don't often matter to the voter.
So far Ellison looks completly safe in the 5th district and although the Republicans may be wise to leave that challenge open for the Independence Party to take on one on one I really don't see Ellison dipping below 50%, and if something happens that would change that chances are the Democrats will see it with enough time to endorse someone else. Bachmann in the 6th only scrapped past the 50% mark and appears if anything to be heading backwards, but the DFL is going to find a well established candidate who has political experience leaving very little room for an Independence Party candidate to contend, but an opportunity for say 15% is sitting there.
In the first exists the Independence Parties best hope, but it only exist if Tim Penny is the candidate, and so far I'm not seeing the anti Walz feelings that would motivate him to run for that seat again. Of course Tim Penny probably remains the parties best hope should he choose to run for US Senate or State House, but I doubt he would fair any better then he did in 2002 running state wide, and wouldn't expect him to run locally. Realistically the best hope for a victory in 2008 is for someone currently in the State House to make the switch, and that will come only with a strong recruitment effort. Luckily that is the one area where the party emerged out of 2006 stronger then ever.
With no real news to report heading toward 2008 it really has to be looked at as a rebuilding year for the party, a decade after Ventura's victory all I'm hoping for is one minor legislative victory.
It begs the question did the Independence Party run the traditional course that 3rd parties tend to run of being strong for one election being solid for one and then slowly fading into the background? Is it an issue of the wrong candidates at the wrong times, or is simply a failure to put together the total package that says to every Minnesotan the Independence Party is indeed a major party and not simply a handful of good candidates and an available ballot line?
I think this party will be here for the long haul and might even become a significant force, but it will take the right candidates at the right times for a few consecutive election cycles to even get off the ground at this point. At this point it's tough to say what needs to happen, other then saying the party needs to bring forward the kinds of candidates that can pounce on any opportunity that exists.


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