Most Successful Candidates?

So, who do you all think were the most successful minor party candidates this year? That can be a tricky question because there are all sorts of factors to consider.

On one hand, if a person scores an 8% showing in a 2-way race, that really can’t be considered better than someone who gets 4% in a 3-way race with two major party candidates in the mix.

Another thing to consider are expectations. Kinky Friedman ran a hell of a campaign in Texas, but 12.5% isn’t really out of line with what had been expected all along. Certainly he was successful, but was he more successful than someone like Rich Whitney who polled 10.5% in Illinois with far less money and only a late surge in the polls? Probably the advantage in that match up would go to Whitney.

Really there’s no exact right answers… but I would be curious to hear what you guys think on the following questions:

1. Who were 2-3 big winners this year? And why?

2. Who were 2-3 big losers this year? And why?

3. Of the nationally organized and single-state parties out there, who were the big winners and losers? On what grounds?

I may use some of the answers in a future year end piece / election recap. Remember this is your opinion and debate is fine, but let’s not get too nasty.

And let’s not turn this into a kick Michael Badnarik in the balls thread… if you want to include him, that’s fine. But let’s try to look nationally and across all parties.

31 Responses to “Most Successful Candidates?”

  1. Gary Odom Says:

    Rick Jore won his race, beating an incumbent. You don’t get much more successful than that. The two Nevada IAP candidates who won against major party competition, in yes, very local races have to be considered “successful” certainly more successful than any of their opponents. The CP, all in all, had a very successful election season.

    I’m sure Libertarians and Greens will have their success stories, too.

    We’re all getting stronger and we’ve got the GOP’s and the Dems in our sights.

    The biggest loser was George Bush, though I know that is not what you were looking for.

  2. Doug Craig Says:

    Garrett Hayes Libertarian for governor of Georgia

    Polled well, as high as 9.1%. recieved over 75,000 votes. Bought over 1500 tv ads in Georgia. Made front page on 9 or 10 newspapers in Ga. Was in all the debates. Won a least two of them.Recieved an endorsement from a local paper.Did about 20 radio interviews.He did all of this on less than a $12,000 budget.

  3. Andy Says:

    Ric Jore of the Constitution Party was obviously a big winner this year.

    Rich Whitney’s of the Green Party getting 10.5% in the Illinois Govenor’s race was very impressive. If I were in the Green Party I’d stronly consider him as a Presidential candidate.

    I hate to say it, but the biggest loser (as far as minor party candidates go) was Michael Badnarik. It’s painful for me to say this because I’m a Libertarian and I LIKE Michael Badnarik and I actually donated money to his campaign. But come on, 4% of the vote with a campaign budget of over $400,000 is a freakin’ joke! I don’t think that Badnarik is necessarily a bad candidate, but rather that the campaign was run poorly. I blame this on Allen Hacker and on Michael Badnarik for listening to Allen Hacker. This should kill Badnarik’s chance of being the Presidential nominee again.

    Stan Jones – the Libertarian candidate for Senator in Montana – was kind of a suprise “winner” this year. I like Stan Jones but some people in the party mocked him because he talked about “consiracy theories” (I’d say conspiracy FACTS) and labeled him as a “kook.” It should be noted that this “kook” got like 2.6% of the vote and probably is the reason that the Republican lost which helped swing the Senate to the Democrats.

  4. Montanan Says:

    Yeah, Jore has to be viewed as a winner, although his win wasn’t all that unexpected. But I have to differ with Andy about Stan Jones. I’ve talked to several people who voted for Jones, and they tell me that they were disgusted with both Burns’ and Tester’s campaigns and wouldn’t have voted in the race without the Jones option. Some his votes also were anti-establishment votes that might have gone to Tester. Overall, I think his involvement in the race was a wash.

  5. Andy Says:

    “I’ve talked to several people who voted for Jones, and they tell me that they were disgusted with both Burns’ and Tester’s campaigns and wouldn’t have voted in the race without the Jones option.”

    I consider the fact that Stan Jones was on the ballot and may very well have been the factor that swung the election to the Democrat as a victory.

    Also, 2.6% of the vote is better than a lot of other minor party candidates for US Senate do.

  6. Steve Says:

    I hate to “kick Badnarik in the balls” but he was definetely the biggest loser. Its a shame, I loved the Badnarik of 2004 and was happy to cast my first (but certainly not last) Libertarian vote for President for him. I remember reading a story about Michael on one of his multiple cross country trips, he was in dire financial straits and a friend gives him $100. The friend says, “make me $100 worth of liberty” and Michael smiles and says, “I’ll make you $200.” This year, how much liberty did he make with $400,000? Certainly not $800,000 worth.
    As for winners, the Texas gov race got the attention, but the Independent and Green candidates in Maine both did pretty well.

  7. Linde Knighton Says:

    Reporting from Washington, we all got stomped. Green Aaron Dixon got lots of press (by our standards). Libertarian Bruce Guthrie got into the debate (a first), both were mentioned repeatedly in their GOP opponent’s ads, and still came in at about 1.5%(Running for US Senate)
    I was the only 3rd party candidate in the state, running in the most liberal district in the US, and was beat by the 20 year old known drunken frat boy put up by the GOP as a place holder. And I ran as a Progressive.
    It’s the same old song about no press (I actually got into two neighborhood papers) while my “Opponent” was practically endorsed by The Stranger.
    We have a lot of work to do.

  8. Linde Knighton Says:

    Ooops, I need to edit that, I meant that I was the only Legislative Candidate running as 3rd party in the state.
    Linde Knighton

  9. Timothy West Says:

    in terms of press, it was loretta nall hands down.

  10. Richard Winger Says:

    Jim Noorlander, Constitution Party nominee for US House, 3rd district, Utah, was in a race with both a Democrat and a Republican. Noorlander outpolled his Democratic opponent in two counties in the district, and overall got 8.82%.

    That’s the first time the US House nominee of a nationally-organized party outpolled a major party nominee, in any county, since 1998. In 1998 Bill Chipman, the Libertarian nominee for US House in Mississippi’s 2nd district, had carried a county (he was in a race with just a Democrat).

  11. Eric Prindle Says:

    Though it’s tempting to go with the state legislative victors, all of them won with the implicit or explicit support of one or both major parties. Jore was finally able to win because the Republicans didn’t run anyone. Four of the Vermont Progressives who won had fusion nominations from the Democrats (one also from the Republicans), while the other two ran unopposed.

    While these sorts of victories are very important for party-building, I’m more interested in where minor parties won significant municipal offices against the opposition of the entrenched party or parties. As a Green, I’m most familiar with the Green examples, primarily Gayle McLaughlin for mayor of Richmond, CA; and Kevin Donoghue and David Marshall for city council in Portland, ME. I’m sure there are other examples from the other parties.

    I don’t think I’ll go into losers. Sure, there were some candidates who put in a lot of time and money to get little in the way of results, but are they bigger losers than people who never put in any effort in the first place? Maybe; maybe not.

    As far as parties go, the Illinois Green Party is definitely a huge winner for attaining ballot access for four years. The Working Families Party of Massachusetts gets winner/loser of the year for attaining ballot access that they presumably will not use for anything because their fusion initiative failed.

  12. NewFederalist Says:

    Eric Prindle- excellent analysis! There are a few of us who still believe Rick Jore won his race last time in a 3 way with a Democrat and a Republican but was cheated by the judiciary. He was even made to pay legal costs at that despite not bringing suit against anyone!

  13. Kyle B Says:

    i would say the Progressive Party in Vermont did the best of any political party. The LP in Georgia also had a pretty good showing.

  14. George Phillies Says:

    The Working Families Party of Massachusetts can continue to use fusion via the mechanism that actually already exists in Massachusetts for fusion between major parties, namely party B puts on the ballot a straw candidate, and makes sure its voters (this works better if B is small and very well organized) know that when they reach the primary they are to cast a sticker vote (in other states, these are called ‘write-in votes’, but here in Massachusetts we call them ‘sticker campaigns’ even if no stickers are used) for the candidate of party A. If the candidate of Party A gets a plurality of the vote, he gets the ballot line (actually, we do not have ballot lines, because the ballots aren’t printed that way) of party B.

    Michael Badnarik was the most successful Libertarian fund raiser this year.

    The New Hampshire Liberty Alliance, which uses any ballot line it wants, elected more than 70 of its candidates this year, including Democrats and Republicans (I am not aware of any Independents, and that’s all the choices you get in Hew Hampshire.)

  15. Kris Overstreet Says:

    Leaving aside Michael Badnarik, I’d say Libertarians in Texas as a whole came out as big winners. We significantly increased our percentages across the board and got our senatorial candidate, Scott Jameson, into the debate. Although we won no races, we set state records for partisan election, including a turnout of over 36% for Brazos County Commissioner (that’s Bryan and College Station- home of Texas A&N University) and over 25% in several races for statewide judicial posts and the state board of education.

    The question that will have to wait until 2008 to be answered is this: was this merely an effect of having two independents on top of the ballot, or was this actual growth in support for liberty and opposition to the two big-government parties?

  16. Kris Overstreet Says:

    (er… A&M University, I meant.)

    As for biggest loser, I’m going to cheat a bit… well, cheat a LOT. At the start of this year, despite his own protests, Roy Moore was being touted as the frontrunner for the Constitution Party’s 2008 Presidential run. Now he’s remembered as having destroyed his own credibility and electability by losing massively to an openly corrupt gtovernor seeking re-election. He wasn’t running third party, and he wasn’t in the November election, but even more than Badnarik I see Roy Moore as the biggest loser of 2006 on the third-party scene.

  17. Citizens For A Better Veterans Home (founded 1998) Says:

    Ahhhh, Non Democrats and Non GOP, unless you are Gulf War Joe from Connecticut, don’t get media and so they don’t get votes and so they don’t get media so they don’t get votes…..

    Yes, but.

    While I totally agree, and while most of us are not press savy politicial professionals, we do not translate our ‘mad as Hell and not gonna take it any more anger’ well on the road to influence and clout.

    For example, here on the Left Coast, our current RE-ELECTED Republican Govenator touted ‘Reform’ month after month, while acting like a clone of disposessed Democratic ‘House Schill and corrupt’ insider Governor Gray Davis. No worthy response from the ‘Reform’ party was forth comming.

    Ballot access? The California Democrat elected to that position was PROTECTED from criticism from the head of the state reform party. Valli Sharpe Giesler had run against Kevin Shelley in an unrelated race in the 1990s. She found him ‘charming’. She told reform minded activists not to lean on him.

    AFTER HE RESIGNED IN DISGRACE, Schwarzenegger’s hand picked corrupt insider then tried to distroy the Peace and Freedom Party. The Ulitimate Girlie Man backed off after Ahnold was nervous about the broad spread knee jerk howl of protest on the political mugging of an organization which had been around since the last round of foriegn military adventures [1967]!

    Before even some of the Peace and Freedom types failed to wake up to the fact that their party was history—-Secretary of State McPherson reversed him self, with orders from Der Adolph, presumably!

    Peace and Freedom could have used the occation of their salvation as a rallying point for all non establishment groups. But instead, they propogated the fantasy that they had saved them selves. Even Ballot Access News publisher Richard Winger was never ever listed as a [long term] Libertarian. The uninformed observer would have assumed that he was another San Francisco Feminist/ Socialist!

    Back to the so-called reformers. My San Diego County neighbor and fellow veteran is walking from California to DC on a Peace March. He has gone through Yuma, Arizona. This is the ‘Miracle In the Desert’ [Rodney Martin and buddies] which is attempting a ‘Laszarous’ reserrection of the Reform Party USA.

    What great publicity JUST BEFORE the elections! Give the guy a couch for the night, buy him a meal, allow the press to interview him infront of a Reform Party Bull Moose banner. Nada, Zero, Zip, Nothing!

    The Yuma Sun did a front page article and photo OF THE PEACE HIKER! The local national ‘leadership’ of the Reform Party was no where to be found. Hey, I helped see the guy off in Poway [California] it is up to other Non Republicans and Non Democrats to see him on his way to the East Coast.

    Plz check out www.wtetw.com [Walk To End The War]! If you live or know some one whom lives/ works in Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Missouri, Illinios, Indiana, Ohio, West Virginia, or Virginia plz see about helping this Anti War Protester out and angling for some post election publicity.

    The Yuma gang? Some times the fates are kind. My buddy had to come back to the San Diego area for some personal business. He will be back in Yuma for the second time via the ‘Chase Car’ RV.

    Stay tune to see if the reform party guys blow it again, or if this time they can spend a $1.89 for a million dollars of publicity? Or blow it again?

  18. Andy Says:

    Yeah, Loretta Nall has got to be considered a big winner this year. She didn’t even make it on the ballot and ran a campaign on a shoe string budget but still managed to make an impact.

    I hope that Loretta runs for office again.

  19. Chris Grieb Says:

    The biggest loser is Baldranick. I don’t have a big winner but the Libertarian Senate candidate in Montana is pretty good.

  20. green in brooklyn Says:

    Big Winners – Whitney’s 10.5% for Overnor in Illinois is only mor eimpressive when you consider that the Greens will be the first 3rd party with ballto status in 85 years.

    Pat Lamarche did well in Maine, but despite the big $$, didn’t build much upone her previous showing in the same race, alkthough she was clearly hurt by another ‘independent’ candidate

    Julia Willebrand got 108,000 votes for Comptroller, 2nd only to Nader in 2000 for a statewide Green vote total in New York, for 3%, helped of course by corruption of the incumbent. Sadly, tho, it looks like Malachy McCourt did not get the 50,000 necessary for ballot status, being the ONLY statewide Green candidate who got less than 50,000 – there may be a good case for a ballot status lawsuit…

    as for disappointments Eder not winning reelection to the Maine state assmebly was quite disappointing, although I’m not that familiar with the race – Greens failing to get ballot status in NY is also disappointing, although perhaps understandable give the popularity of Spitzer

  21. Eric Dondero Says:

    You guys missed the two biggest winners of all.

    Joe Lieberman and Bernie Sanders were the number one 3rd party winners for 2006. As painful as that may be for some to admit, it’s the God’s honest truth.

    On a lower level, yeah Rick Jore wins the prize.

    Overall 3rd party candidates didn’t do well this year. Americans want more celebrity-oriented candidates for public office. They want more out of their politics than just policy issues which most times make their eyes glaze over.

    Until 3rd party backers recognize this, specifically Libertarian Party members, 3rd party efforts will never get anywheres.

    The problem with 3rd party movements these days is quite simple; lack of celebrity candidates.

  22. Jackcjackson Says:

    Lieberman and Sanders are TINOs.

    And while I don’t think having celebrities can hurt, and would certainly help- The biggest problem, IMHO, isn’t an absence of celebs. It’s not enough qualified candidates on lower levels ( who then move up the ranks). Getting 1 big-name celeb to run in the highest profile race would likely produce only fleeting victories.

    Rs and Ds don’t win because of celebs ( though they have a few).

  23. paulie cannoli Says:

    Rick Jore of the Constitution Party was obviously a big winner this year.

    Rich Whitney’s of the Green Party getting 10.5% in the Illinois Govenor’s race was very impressive. If I were in the Green Party I’d stronly consider him as a Presidential candidate.

    I hate to say it, but the biggest loser (as far as minor party candidates go) was Michael Badnarik. It’s painful for me to say this because I’m a Libertarian and I LIKE Michael Badnarik and I actually donated money to his campaign. But come on, 4% of the vote with a campaign budget of over $400,000 is a freakin’ joke! I don’t think that Badnarik is necessarily a bad candidate, but rather that the campaign was run poorly. I blame this on Allen Hacker and on Michael Badnarik for listening to Allen Hacker. This should kill Badnarik’s chance of being the Presidential nominee again.

    Stan Jones – the Libertarian candidate for Senator in Montana – was kind of a suprise “winner” this year. I like Stan Jones but some people in the party mocked him because he talked about “consiracy theories” (I’d say conspiracy FACTS) and labeled him as a “kook.” It should be noted that this “kook” got like 2.6% of the vote and probably is the reason that the Republican lost which helped swing the Senate to the Democrats.

    All true.

    Yeah, Jore has to be viewed as a winner, although his win wasn’t all that unexpected. But I have to differ with Andy about Stan Jones. I’ve talked to several people who voted for Jones, and they tell me that they were disgusted with both Burns’ and Tester’s campaigns and wouldn’t have voted in the race without the Jones option. Some his votes also were anti-establishment votes that might have gone to Tester. Overall, I think his involvement in the race was a wash.

    Obviously, some of his voters would have stayed home or voted for either major party candidate, as with all third party candidates.

    However, on balance those of his voters who would otherwise have voted Republican probably outweigh the margin of victory, which is a GOOD thing.

    SCORE! We hold the balance of power with just a small number of votes, and stuck it to the warmongers.

    Of course, the Donkey Show Party will sell out the peace movement and that leaves lots of room for a peace candidate in 2008.

    The question is will the LP take advantage of this by nominating Steve Kubby? Or will we cede momentum to the Greens, who would be well advised to consider Whitney? (I’ve read, however, that the Greens are determined not to nomiante another white male).

    in terms of press, it was loretta nall hands down.

    True. I’m still trying to understand why she would go with Phillies over Kubby. Asked several times now including here, LPA activists and her group as well as my blog.

    Kris: good points about LP of Texas.

    I agree about Moore. Actually it seems he may have gotten more write-in votes than Loretta, so maybe it’s wishful thinking on my part. He is a dangerous demagogue and I hope you’re right about him being finished!

    The New Hampshire Liberty Alliance, which uses any ballot line it wants, elected more than 70 of its candidates this year, including Democrats and Republicans (I am not aware of any Independents, and that’s all the choices you get in Hew Hampshire.)

    Perhaps we can count Joel Winters as an honorary third party success, I believe I’ve read he is an LP member even though he was elected to the NH legislature as a Democrat due to lack of LP ballot access.

  24. paulie cannoli Says:

    Peace and Freedom could have used the occation of their salvation as a rallying point for all non establishment groups. But instead, they propogated the fantasy that they had saved them selves.

    Partially. I registered several thousand voters for them to keep them on the ballot, and know several others who worked on that campaign.

    (Before Eric uses this to claim I’m a statist leftist, note that he was registering people for the NSGOP).

    Yeah, Loretta Nall has got to be considered a big winner this year. She didn’t even make it on the ballot and ran a campaign on a shoe string budget but still managed to make an impact.

    I hope that Loretta runs for office again.

    I believe she said she will be running for Congress in the 3rd in 2008, and possibly Gov again in 2010. No word yet on whether she will be getting ballot access, slthough she said she might run as a write-in again “just to piss them off” (not the wisest strategy IMO).

    As for Lieberman he is not a true independent or third party candidate.

    I agree with the following analysis:

    http://www.thiscantbehappening.net/2006.11.01_arch.html#1163714222513

    Sith Lord Lieberman is an albatross!

  25. Doug Says:

    Looks like the best showing by a Libertarian in a federal race was 26% by Jason Blair in the 6th Congressional District of Arizona, running against Republican incumbent Jeff Flake.

  26. Eric Dondero Says:

    The Libetarian Party wins the Stupid Party of the year award for both the Flake and Butch Otter race. To run a Libertarian against other libertarians is absolutely insane. As if we aren’t stretched thin enough to begin with.

  27. torah Says:

    I agree.

    I read the 26% part and said, “oh wow, how impressive,” and then yeah, I was amazed that the LP put someone up against the Arizona version of Ron Paul.

    Butch Otter is another libertarian Republican. I can understand these challenges if the congressional totals factored in to ballot access, but geeez Louise…

    How’d the LP founder do in his race?

  28. Kyle B Says:

    torah,

    Nolan (the lp founder) just got 2%

  29. paulie cannoli Says:

    Take any and all claims from Eric about the alleged libertarian-ness of NSGOP polythiefcians and candidates with large helpings of salt.

    http://www.smallgov.org/?p=355

    Eric Dondero Says:
    September 9th, 2006 at 9:44 pm
    Same feeling many of us have with Joe Lieberman.

    He’s mostly wrong on a whole slew of social and economic matters. But he is RIGHT ON on the War in Iraq and Afghanistan.

    That’s why True libertarians support him.

    What is the NSGOP?

    Robin Winterset wrote:
    >

    > When did folks start adding the NS to the acronym??? I’m so
    freakin’ thrilled with this I just can’t express it! That acronym
    has been my personal pet peeve ever since I found out what it stood
    for (double entendre intended).
    >

    > Wow. I never thought such a simple thing could affect me so
    strongly. Seeing the additional NS has actually made me feel better
    about life and I can breath easier. That’s just disturbing.

    Paul) I personally invented it although it is certainly possible and
    even likely that other people have too.

    NSGOP can have a variety of meanings; for example National Socialist
    Grimy Old Pedophiles, or, as Dan suggested last night when picking up
    the signatures, simply Not So Grand Old Party.

    Invent your own meaning for the acronym…have fun!

    -p

    Many of Eric’s “Libertarian” Republicans are….NOT!

    http://freedomdemocrats.org/node/812

    You can find more info about some whopper “libertarians” on Planet Eric by cliquing on my name and looking at posts 552 and 602

    “Boot Warmongers, Save L.P.”

    and

    “Libertarians for Limonov?”

  30. Jackcjackson Says:

    BTW,
    I see Badnarik is now asking for donations to retire the campaign debt….

  31. Jason Says:

    No question Jore is the big winner on an individual front. I also would like to throw Minnesota’s Tammy Lee in the discussion. $205K raised, clever ads, great use of the funds she had, and most of all 21% of the vote and ran in a virtual dead heat with the Republican.

Leave a Reply