As the 2004 election season heats up, the attention of journalists and political observers is focused on the contests between the two major political parties. Missed is the persistent strength of third parties in recent state and national elections in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, and South Dakota. Third parties are winning some races and, more often, determining whether or by how much the Republican or Democrat wins. The Upper Midwest is becoming the heartland of third parties.
This July, the Humphrey Survey of voters in the Upper Midwest demonstrated that both President George W. Bush and Senator John Kerry are hurt by the Libertarian Party candidate Michael Badnarik and, especially, by Independent Ralph Nader.
The current showing of third party candidates in the 2004 presidential election in the Upper Midwest reflects a longstanding presence in the region, with their greatest activity centered in Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Iowa. Third party candidates received significant support in recent elections for U.S. president, governor, and state and national legislatures. The Independence Party and Green Party have most consistently run credible campaigns. The
Libertarian Party also has made headway within the region, as have candidates who have run without a party by petitioning to get on the ballot.
Center for the Study of Politics and Governance, Humphrey School of Public Affairs, University of Minnesota
Jacobs, Lawrence; Ostermeier, Eric J..
Third Party Heartland.
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