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More Minor Party and Independent Legislators Elected in 2012 than in Any Year Since 1942

Published on November 18, 2012, by in General.

A November 10 blog post at this site said that 25 minor party and independent candidates had been elected to state legislatures this month. Checking records of past elections reveals that this is the highest such number since 1942, when there were 31 such candidates elected. In 1944, there were 22 such candidates elected, and at no time since 1944 (until 2012) had there been any election with more than 17.

None of the independent and minor party candidates who were elected in 2012 were elected from states with a top-two primary system.

11 Responses

  1. Demo Rep

    Obviously the 42-44 stats were affected by the econ/military chaos in World War II.

    When will the Darth Vader Donkey/Elephant robot oligarchs strike BACK at the nonconformists in the state legislatures ???

    See the Star Wars movies.

    P.R. and nonpartisan App.V.

  2. The 1942, 1944 stats were more related to the existence of the Progressive Party in Wisconsin. It elected even more legislators in the 1930′s than in 1944 and 1942.

  3. Jim Riley

    Ernie Chambers [1] was elected in Nebraska. Nebraska has a Top-2 primary system. In the past you have claimed Ernie Chambers as a New Alliance Party member.

    [1] Nebraska elects its legislators to four-year terms, with half elected every two years. Its version of term limits require a candidate to sit out for four years after serving two terms (8 years). Chambers was term-limited and could not run for re-election in 2008, but was able to run this year.

    Louisiana elects its legislature every four years, in the year prior to the presidential election. For our purposes we will consider Louisiana to have a Top 2 system – though perhaps we should use the correct term of Open Primary. Independents were elected to the legislature in 2011.

    Arguably Christopher Hurst, re-elected to the House in Washington is either an independent or a minor party candidate.

    It is true no independent or minor party candidates were elected in California. The large size of legislative districts and massive size of metropolitan areas works against independents. Candidates simply can’t depend on the mass media to focus on dozens of legislative candidates, so voters may be more dependent on party labels.

    California should permit true No Party Preference candidates to run as Independent or Non-Partisan.

  4. Casual Bystander

    Isn’t this due, at least in part, to the mess in South Carolina?

  5. #4, the post would still be true, even if no independents had been elected in South Carolina. Taking away six (the South Carolina number) from 25 still leaves 19, still the most since 1944.

    Furthermore, the importance of the post is that voters are more and more willing to elect non-major-party nominees. The motivation of the South Carolina independent candidates for running as independents is somewhat beside that main point.

  6. 1942-44 numbers also included the last couple years of Minnesota’s Farmer-Labor Party. They, too had more success in the 1930s.

  7. Richard Winger

    The Farmer-Labor Party’s existence doesn’t contribute to these instances, because Minnesota had a non-partisan legislature during the years the Farmer-Labor Party existed.

  8. Jed Siple

    This is a sign. The Libertarian Party and other minor parties need to step up their efforts to get elected to state houses in 2014. We can do this!

  9. Derek

    Good for the third parties and independents for this important feat! I’d like to see the day where electoral reform comes into play.

    - Robson Rotation by county
    - Modified runoff system: first round, all the candidates are on the ballot, second round, the top n (equal to the square root of all candidates) face off (if a candidate gets 50% or more, that candidate gets the seat, or else all the candidates are elected using a weighed vote)
    - Equal ballot access, debate access and media coverage

  10. rtaylortitle

    The state legislatures is, apparently, where it needs to start and possibly city-council positions. This 5% mandate to allow for matching federal funds in national elections (if I understand it correctly) is ridiculous. It should, at a minimum be 1%, but I believe to allow ourselves to be called a democratic republic ALL parties should be given equal time on national debates.
    robertt1114322@att.net

  11. Solomon Kleinsmith

    Way to go on a link from Political Wire.

    As for Chambers… he’s in a party all to his crazy self.

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