Top 10 independent/third-party candidates of 2008: Bird, Pollina, Sheehan lead the way

Earlier this week, IPR correspondent Trent Hill unveiled the first batch, #6-10, of IPR’s Top 10 third-party and independent candidates for the 2008 election season. Today, we bring you #s 1-5.

5.) State Rep. Michael Jackson scored 43% of the vote in a head-to-head primary runoff against Democrat Don Cazayoux in Louisiana’s 6th district. Now Jackson, who is African-American, will be on the ballot as an independent against the white Democratic incumbent. The district is 1/3 black. It would be a real Thriller if he won, but as Peter Orvetti says, he’ll need more than 43% to Beat It. Read more ‘Jacko’ puns in the comments here.

4.) David Krikorian is an independent candidate for Congress in Ohio’s 2nd district. He entered the race polling 13.4%, has polled as high as 26.5% in one county and 16.7% in another, and has raised $150,000. Krikorian will face Republican incumbent Jean Schmidt and Democratic challenger Victoria Wulsin on Election Day.

3.) Cindy Sheehan is endorsed by the San Francisco Peace and Freedom and Green parties, as well as the 50,000-member California Reform Party, but she’s running as an independent. Sheehan is a nationally known antiwar activist and has raised more than $300,000 for her insurgency against Democratic Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi.

2.) Anthony Pollina was originally running as the Progressive Party’s nominee for Governor of Vermont, but he’s since decided to take the independent route — perhaps at his own peril. Mr. Pollina served as a Senior Policy Advisor for then-Congressman Bernie Sanders from 1991 to 1996. He received 10% of the vote as the Progressive Party’s nominee for governor in 2000, and 25% as the party’s candidate for lieutenant governor in 2004. Earlier this year, he was wooed by the Democrats to run for lieutenant governor again, but he stood up to them and pushed ahead with his gubernatorial campaign.

1.) Bob Bird (Alaska Independence Party): Bob is truly an odd Bird for a politician — he’s principled and intelligent. He’s a lifelong pro-life leader who is vehemently opposed to a national abortion ban, citing the potential dystopian disaster that could ensue. He’s a pro-gun activist who’s smart enough to realize the D.C.-Heller decision was anything but a win for freedom. And he’s courageous enough to challenge the voting public, rather than talking down to them, or assuming “they won’t understand” the principled view.

Read IPR’s exclusive interview with Bob Bird.

Believe it or not, this approach is paying off for Mr. Bird. Even as he opposes a national ban, he’s been endorsed by Alaskan Right to Life, an organization of which he was president of from 1995 to 1997. Bird has polled incredibly strongly in libertarian/independent-minded Alaska, and has a legitimate shot of unseating scandal-ridden Republican incumbent Senator Ted Stevens. For these reasons, and many more, Trent Hill and I have decided to name him the #1 third-party/independent candidate in the U.S. for 2008.

Recap: The Top 10 Statewide/Congressional Candidates
(Third Party or Independents only)

  1. Bob Bird for U.S. Senate, AK (Alaska Independence Party)
  2. Anthony Pollina for Governor, VT (Independent / Progressive)
  3. Cindy Sheehan for U.S. House, CA-8 (Independent)
  4. David Krikorian for U.S. House, OH-2 (Independent)
  5. Michael Jackson for U.S. House, LA-6 (Independent)
  6. Jack Kevorkian for U.S. House, MI-9 (Independent)
  7. Robert Owens for Attorney General, OH (Independent)
  8. Michael Hsing for U.S. House, NJ-7 (Independent)
  9. Don Elijah Eckhart for U.S. House, OH-15 (Independent)
  10. Dave Brownlow for U.S. Senate, OR (Constitution Party)

Note: This list was compiled by Trent Hill, with the input and assistance of IPR’s other writers. G.E. determined the rankings of the top 5.

60 thoughts on “Top 10 independent/third-party candidates of 2008: Bird, Pollina, Sheehan lead the way

  1. Trent Hill

    It’s actually a terribly intimidating list for the duopoly.
    Especially in Ohio–where 3 contenders made this list.

  2. Mike Theodore

    G.E., I’m surprised you put in Sheehan. In a good way. Seeing that she has what you said was the worst platform you’ve ever seen. At least she would represent the district and their views better than Pelosi.

  3. G.E. Post author

    I don’t like John McCain or Barack Obama, either, but I’d rank them #1 and #2 on a list of top presidential candidates.

  4. Trent Hill

    I cant say I would’ve placed Bob Bird that high as an objective ranking of who was best positioned to win.
    Pollina would’ve topped the list, then Sheehan, then Michael Jackson, THEN Bob Bird, then Krikorian.

    All told though–Bob Bird is my favorite candidate,and one that I desperately wish I could vote for.

  5. inDglass

    It would do wonders for this country to get some of these people elected, especially Bird and Brownlow. How can we make it happen?

  6. Trent Hill


    Truth be told—Brownlow cant win. He might break 10%, but can’t possibly win. Bird,however, could possibly have a shot. What should you do? Give the largest donation you possibly can,and then spread the word.

  7. Mike Theodore

    I always am a little dazed at how people say someone won’t win. It’s like they now can see into everyone’s soul, and come out with their thoughts.
    I don’t listen to polls either. It’s the actions of the voter on election day that catch my eye.

  8. Trent Hill


    As far as Third-parties go, Polls often OVER-estimate support. *shrug* believe what you want, but that is reality. Plus, Brownlow was #10 for a reason,and Bird was #1 for a reason.

  9. Mike Theodore


    My thoughts towards polls aren’t backed up by fact. Just a personal distrust. I know I’ll have to change that if I work for a campaign, but I have my feelings and I hold them close.

  10. Native Vermonter

    Anthony Pollina has been doing grass roots organizing in Vermont for 30 years. He started Rural Vermont, Dairy Farmers of Vermont and the Vermont Milk Company. He has been endorsed by the Vermont AFL-CIO. Check out

  11. Trent Hill

    I dont grow more cynical with time–but with elections. Each election you learn something from the results.

  12. ZoneTraveler

    Mike, Trent,

    I am in Alaska and I can tell you that Bird CAN win; his message resonnates with people and in a state where 70,000 votes can win, message is important.

    The problem I see is two part; first the Democrats view Alaska as an easy win and have poured millions of dollars into Begich’s campaign to secure the Senate seat.

    Secondly, Alaskan’s are addicted to entitlements and Senator Stevens has perfected the art of the handout, so despite the fact that the “gift” comes with a set of handcuffs, he musters substantial support. I have spoken to people willing to vote for Stevens even if he were in jail.

    Bob Bird can win this election. If you could generate interest and support from the lower 48 it is within our grasp. I personally think $100K would clinch it. That basically means 50 like-minded Americans willing to cut a ,$2,000 check. Get the word out! Check out the web site at

    Finally, Bob is an Alaskan Independence Party candidate. This means he would be a minority leader in the Senate if elected. Furthermore, he has a mind to develop a coalition of Senators willing to fight Federal expansion. This is a big issue.

  13. Trent Hill

    Having reviewed all the facts—I think we made the right choice in placing Bird at the top of the list. He will likely garner the endorsements of Dave Cuddy and the two conservative-pastor-candidates. Additionally, he will have the support of most Libertarians, Ron Paul types, and AIPers. It should not be overlooked that he is a former Senate candidate who scored 30% or so against Ted Stevens in 1990. Nor should it be overlooked that he has the endorsement of the Alaskan Right to Life PAC, as well as the vigorous support of the pro-life community.
    I think the LEAST support he could get would be 5%. The most? An outside chance at a 30%-level win.

  14. Ross Levin

    GE – regardless of whether or not I agree with the doctor, I don’t think it’s a point of pride to have someone who many regard as a murderer as the 6th most promising independent/third party candidate. It’s a disgrace, frankly.

  15. G.E. Post author

    WTF? I regard Bob Barr as a murderer. That doesn’t mean he’s not one of the t0p 10 presidential candidates.

    Kervorkian is a hero.

  16. Mike Theodore

    Ross, Kevorkian’s number 6 simply because of name recognition. Everyone knows who he is. Hell, his name is on bumper stickers across the country.

    Name recognition is key in any and all races.

    Americans are pretty split on this issue. Although the media displays it as the majority thinking of him as a murderer. Some might pull the lever just in support of what seemingly is his main issue.

  17. Ross Levin

    GE, look at this from the perspective of the average American. All they know is that this guy helped to kill people and he’s nicknamed Dr. Death. Then to see that he’s in the top 10 independent candidates make us seem kind of pathetic.

  18. G.E. Post author

    You’re insane and unprincipled. We don’t do things “for looks.” That’s the mode of a guy who thinks voting based on ideology is a mistake.

    A majority of Americans support an individual’s right to die. Kervorkian is a little kooky, and thus, lacks a majority of support — but I’ll guarantee you he’s more widely liked than Mike Gravel.

    Who the hell does ranking Kervorkian #6 make “look bad.” IPR? You’re a nut if you think so. Third parties in general? Who cares.

  19. G.E. Post author

    More people would agree that Bob Barr, who paid to have his baby butchered in the womb, is a murderer than Jack Kervorkian.

  20. Mike Theodore

    Ross, Kevorkian’s number 6 simply because of name recognition. Everyone knows who he is. Hell, his name is on bumper stickers across the country.

    Name recognition is key in any and all races.

    Americans are pretty split on this issue. Although the media displays it as the majority thinking of him as a murderer. Some might pull the lever just in support of what seemingly is his main issue. Maybe.

  21. darolew

    There’s an unusual sight — someone who opposes abortion but supports euthanasia. I understand the reasoning behind it, but it still strikes me as ironic.

  22. G.E. Post author

    I don’t think it’s that unusual. Most people are against abortion on demand, and I think most people support the right of individuals to end their own lives.

    How is this inconsistent? Abortion = the initiation of force (if one believes the unborn to have rights; some libertarians don’t); suicide = no initiation of force.

  23. Ross Levin

    It makes third parties in general look bad. I’m not unprincipled at all, but I do see the need for playing politics and trying to look good when you’re running for office. If you don’t even attempt to appeal to people, you’ll never win.

    It makes us look bad in the sense that we don’t think of ourselves as winners and that we therefore shouldn’t be taken seriously.

    I’m not criticizing the placement of him on your list, I’m just saying that third parties are in a sad state if he can legitimately make it onto the list.

  24. Trent Hill

    Ross Levin,

    If Kevorkian had a campaign website,a treasurer and bank account, and a few relevant campaign stops–he would probably have ranked higher. The man has NATIONAL name recognition and a NATIONAL fundraising base via his previous litigations defense funds and natural constituencies (Right-to-Die folks).

    Think about if Norma McCorvey (Roe, of Roe v. Wade) ran for Congress? Her name would be nationally known, she’d have a natural constituency (pro-lifers). She would instantly be in the top-5.

  25. Ross Levin

    The guy isn’t known for something good, though. He’s famous for killing people! If he were a famous athlete or a famous advocate of something more benign, then I would feel differently. But he’s famous for killing people and going to jail!

  26. Trent Hill


    Norma McCorvey is famous for helping to make abortion legal and allowing the state to kill human-beings in the womb…and then changing her mind?

    It doesnt matter–there is a VERY large Right-to-Die advocacy grassroots.
    In fact,this study says 85% of Americans support the Right to Die.

    Here are some Right-to-Die groups.
    Compassion and Choices

    Death With Dignity National Center

    Euthanasia Research & Guidance Org (ERGO!)

    Final Exit Network

    Hemlock Society of Florida

    Hemlock Society of San Diego

  27. Trent Hill

    Mind you–those groups have rarely, if ever, had a better chance to score a victory than electing Kervorkian, who is the most public and consistent champion of their cause.

  28. Ross Levin

    Yes, but Kevorkian has a bad reputation, even if most Americans support Right to Death. I’m saying is that at this point nearly the best we can do is an infamous man. That is not very good.

    I’m not talking about substance here, I’m talking about reputations and politics.

    And if this is a bad example, how about the fact that there are less than 10 independents with a good chance of winning there race. That’s a sad state of affairs.

  29. Trent Hill

    Kevorkian has a bad reputation? Last i’d heard,he was VERY popular amongst a core constiuency. He’s less popular, but still not abhorred, by the general populace. He spoke to 4800 people in Florida a few weeks ago–he doesnt sound like an unpopular person.

  30. Trent Hill

    Less than 10 independents with a good shot at winning a FEDERAL or STATE LEVEL race.

    Also–you’ve got to remember that we didnt include incumbents like Lieberman (Independent-Democrat) and Sanders (Independent).

    There are a handful of Independents and third-partiers could could win state legislative seats too.

  31. G.E. Post author

    The guy isn’t known for something good, though. He’s famous for killing people!

    That’s your idiotic and bigoted opinion.

    Kevorkian is famous for helping the suffering end their lives of their own volition. I know you’re a socialist who thinks people’s lives belong to the state, but that’s YOUR sick problem.

  32. langa

    “The guy isn’t known for something good, though. He’s famous for killing people!”

    Why do you refuse to accept that, to many people, assisted suicide is “good”? By your logic, the LP should be ashamed to associate with Steve Kubby, just because he went to jail.

  33. Ross Levin

    No, you’ve got me wrong, I’m not sure where I stand on assisted suicide. The “killing” thing isn’t my view, it’s just what I’ve heard of him.

    What I’m saying is that among the general populace he doesn’t have a very good reputation. It’s kind of sad that someone who is infamous, rather than famous, nearly tops the list.

  34. G.E. Post author

    So… It’s embarassing because SOME people don’t like him (even though a majority probably do)? Third party candidates should be liked by EVERYONE, just like John McCain and Barack Obama are.

  35. Trent Hill

    Wrong GE, John McCain and Barack Obama are disliked by at least half.

    This is more like Michael Phelps.

  36. darolew

    “I don’t think it’s that unusual.”

    Really? Most left-wingers I know support abortion and the right to die, whereas most right-wingers tend towards the opposite.

    “How is this inconsistent? Abortion = the initiation of force (if one believes the unborn to have rights; some libertarians don’t); suicide = no initiation of force.”

    I never said it was inconsistent, just strikes me as odd, that’s all.

  37. Trent Hill


    Most pro-lifers oppose euthanasia, but NOT the Right to Die. These are different issues.

  38. Mike Gillis

    Trent, please explain what you believe to be the difference between the two issues.

  39. Trent Hill

    Right to Die refers to the right of a person to choose to commit suicide or have someone kill them. Ethanasia is “mercy killing”.

    Right to Die refers to a situation where the patient has clearly indicated (via will or sane spoke word) he wants to die.
    Euthanasia usually refers to vegetative entities that have not and cannot indicate their preference to live or die. The idea is that the next of kin, or a doctor, can determine at what point these people are “suffering” and what course of action is best to “relieve their suffering”–namely, killing them.

  40. Ross Levin

    GE – I don’t think most people care much about him one way or the other. They probably just know him as “Dr. Death” somewhere in the back of their minds. And when I look at it, I don’t see that as a good thing. Maybe you view it differently. But either way, it’s completely unrelated to my opinion on right to death.

  41. G.E. Post author

    Wrong GE, John McCain and Barack Obama are disliked by at least half.

    Duh. That’s my point.

  42. G.E. Post author

    Trent – Your definition of “euthanasia” as a negative assumes the “right” of an individual to the private property of others — unless he has sufficient funds to continue his life without burdening others.

  43. G.E. Post author

    You are such a shill for the Establishment, Ross. Anyone who’s heroic is going to be “infamous.” Thomas Paine was infamous.

  44. Trent Hill


    My definition of euthanasia assumes no such “right” to the private property of others. He must have sufficient funds to continue his life without burdening the taxpayers…or have some charity set up in his name, or be at the charitable-mercy of the hospital.

  45. Ross Levin

    Thomas Paine was famous until he was infamous. I believe he started circulating conspiracy theories about Washington, who was the most respected figure in all of American history.

    Did you get my account set up for contributing? If you can’t tell, I’m a bit bored around here…

  46. Trent Hill

    To be fair – he hasnt captured his party’s nomination yet,and didnt have a website or anything until a couple of days ago.

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