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Maine Democrats May Forego Running Anyone for U.S. Senate in 2012

Published on March 13, 2012, by in General.

Maine Democrats may choose not to run anyone for U.S. Senate this year. See this story, which says that the petition deadline (for candidates to get on the June 2012 primary) is in two days, and so far petitions have not been submitted for any Democrat, even though such petitions have been gathered. Maine Democrats must decide whether to abstain from this race, because former independent Governor Angus King will run as an independent this year, and has the potential to win.

Democrats don’t want a repeat of the 2010 Maine gubernatorial race, when an independent, Eliot Cutler, placed second, almost defeating the Republican nominee. The Democratic nominee received 19.1%, placing third. Many people believe that a large majority of people who voted for the Democrat in 2010 would have voted for Cutler if no Democrat had been running.

The repetition of two elections in a row with three November nominees strong enough to win ought to cause Maine voters to think seriously about using Instant Runoff Voting, or perhaps Approval Voting, for federal and state office. The idea is not foreign to Maine, because Portland, the largest city in the state, uses IRV for Mayor.

9 Responses

  1. Rob Richie

    This indeed is amazing example of how plurality voting suppresses voter choice — this time affecting a major party.

    Portland had a great first experience with instant runoff voting / ranked choice voting last year. See resources and analysis about it here, including glowing editorials from the Portland Press Herald, which had been skeptical about the value of IRV.
    http://www.fairvote.org/ranked-choice-voting-in-portland

  2. Demo Rep

    IRV for single offices = THE method to elect Stalin/Hitler clones — when the mystified Middle is divided

    34 SMH
    33 HMS
    16 MSH
    16 MHS
    99

    ——
    Approval Voting for all executive/judicial offices pending Condorcet head to head math.

  3. Jim Riley

    Or Top 2 Open Primary

  4. Jim,

    But then you can get this problem:
    http://www.electology.org/ttr

    You can see some Bayesian Regret figures here, which show that TTR does WAY worse than systems like Condorcet, Approval Voting, Score Voting, etc.
    ScoreVoting.net/StratHonMix.html

    That Bayesian Regret translates to real world policy differences, like the difference between whether we bomb some village in Afghanistan, or enact Greenhouse gas emissions.

    So I urge extreme caution before putting simplicity of ballot design ahead of all other concerns, without exception. The key is to find the right balance of performance with simplicity and fraud resistance.

    Further, a lot of people would argue, I think with good reason, that a more complex voting system which happens to break up two-party duopoly, and decrease the effect of special interest money, can tend to elect leaders who will be more interested in enacting better anti-fraud measures (e.g. transparent ballot boxes, scantegrity, prohibition on electronic voting machines). In which case, the more complex voting method can actually have the unexpected effect (in the long term) of making election integrity BETTER.

    I tend to agree with you in many respects about IRV, because it performs quite comparably to Plurilty+runoff voting (in Bayesian Regret) but also produces election integrity concerns, and reduces overall trust in election integrity (whether justified or not) because it’s so much more complicated. That’s what I’ve seen here in SF.

    Bottom line: Plurality Voting is pretty horrendous, even as a way to pick who goes to the runoff. Approval Voting is a system which is only SLIGHTLY more complex, but vastly better in terms of average voter satisfaction.

  5. Tom

    This is not going to happen. I personally know of one candidate for Senate (Jon Hinck, my state representative) who is actively campaigning to finish his signature collection drive. I ran into his wife while canvassing the district recently.

  6. Jim Riley

    #4 Given that Sarkozy had 2/3 more support that Bayrou it is not a given that Bayrou would have won under any system. When was the poll taken?

  7. […] Maine caused by Senator Olympia Snowe’s retirement. He has been endorsed by Eliot Cutler and, according to reports, may not face a Democratic challenger for the seat. Polling has shown that the Democratic candidate […]

  8. I'm for serious.

    Fuggit. I’ll run.

  9. […] in Maine caused by Senator Olympia Snowe’s retirement. He has been endorsed by Eliot Cutler and, according to reports, may not face a Democratic challenger for the seat. Polling has shown that the Democratic candidate […]

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