Independent and alternative party candidates play key role in four US Senate races still to be decided

According to CNN

Although Democrats gained a decisive majority in the U.S. Senate on Tuesday, their hopes are fading for a filibuster-proof 60 seats.

Four hotly contested Senate races hang in the balance: Alaska, Georgia, Minnesota and Oregon.

Democrats needed to add nine seats to their current caucus of 51 (49 Democrats and two independents allied with them) to gain enough of a majority to push legislation through the Senate unimpeded.

It takes 60 votes to invoke cloture, a device to end filibusters, the unlimited floor speeches by an opponent that can prevent legislation from coming up for a vote.

Having added five seats Tuesday, Democrats would need to sweep the four remaining undecided races to reach 60.

Each of these four races had a strong independent or alternative party candidate in the race: Alaskan Independent Bob Bird, Georgia Libertarian Allen Buckley, the Minnesota Independence Party’s Dean Barkley, and Oregon Constitution Party candidate Dave Brownlow.

The CNN article
also points out that even if the Democrats end up winning all four contests, Senator Lieberman of Connecticut, an independent who caucuses with the Democrats but supported McCain, might switch to the Republican caucus.

Minnesota will probably have a recount, and Georgia will probably have a runoff election. Alaska Senator Stevens, who has just become a convicted felon, may not be seated by the Senate even if he does win the election.

9 thoughts on “Independent and alternative party candidates play key role in four US Senate races still to be decided

  1. JimDavidson

    I have also updated the site with various results, some links to primary and secondary sources of data. There are quite a few races where LP candidates and BTP endorsed candidates made up the difference, or threw the races.

  2. Catholic Trotskyist

    Hopefully Brownlow and Bird got enough votes to propel Democrats into the Senate from Oregon and Alaska.

    The Wikipedia article on this 2008 House election now has a complete list of results, with most states on now. Some independents did pretty well in House races in Florida, including Burt Saunders, a Republican state senator who got 14% of the vote. The Kansas Reform Party outpolled the Libertarians there in three out of four House races. A Socialist Workers Party candidate got 1% in a House race in Iowa. Jim Holbert (Independent) got 18% as the only candidate against Republican Hal Rogers in Kentucky. And an independent got 6% of the vote against Barney Frank; that’s more than John Murphy got. And finally, more on topic, the Libertarian may have played a role in getting the Democrat a house race in Maryland. I just thought I should add all this somewhere.

  3. LaineRBT

    It distrubs me that if Bird had not ran for Senate than Stevens would have won reelection in a walk. The 4% Bird is at has made a difference so far and we still have yet to count absentee ballots, I am still holding out hope that Begich wins.

  4. Catholic Trotskyist

    Michael Jackson was a spoiler in Louisiana against Democrat Cazayoux, yikes. Kevorkian got 2.6% of the vote in Michigan district, not bad. Michael Hsing (Independent) got 5% in the New Jersey’s 7th district, and Carol Miller (Independent) got 12%! against a two-party race in New Mexico’s third district. In Michigan house races, the greens and libertarians did better than the US Taxpayers Party, as usual.

  5. Catholic Trotskyist

    Our contributors running for House all got at least 1% (VTV, Travis Maddox, Tom Knapp). Knapp got about 2%. In New Jersey, a socialist candidate got only 1% against Democrat Don Payne, as the only other candidate. Too bad.

  6. Catholic Trotskyist

    Some Conservative Party candidates ran in New York house races. Some of them did pretty well, although they didn’t spoil any races.

  7. Catholic Trotskyist

    Two independents get about 5% in Oklahoma house races. Steve Linaberry (libertarian, IPR commenter) gets 3% in Ohio. In the other Ohio House race we’ve been watching, Libertarian candidate outpolls Don Eckhart (right-wing independent), who was supposed to get about 10%! They both got about 4%.

  8. Catholic Trotskyist

    Shock horror, Kevin Barrett gets only 2.6%! Robert Raymond, another independent in Wisconsin whom we covered her, got 20% against only a Republican, and another independent in Wisconsin got 12% against a Democraat.

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