AP: ‘Third party challenges in NJ, NY are warning sign’

In an article today, the Associated Press is speculating about third parties’ near-term future in this country, based on strong candidacies this year:

Third party candidates could upend two major races in elections Tuesday, and the success of those candidacies is a warning shot fired at both major parties by voters angry at government and disillusioned by politics as usual…

But the impact of those candidacies on the high-profile contests points to an anti-incumbent, anti-establishment sentiment that could be a prevailing theme in the 2010 congressional elections and beyond.

At the Atlantic Wire, Mara Gay comments on this sentiment and links to a few other blogs:

A lot is riding on next week’s hotly contested state and gubernatorial elections. All eyes are on Virginia, New Jersey, and, of course, upstate New York’s congressional race, where conservative third party candidate Doug Hoffman looks likely to shut out his Republican opponent. For weeks, pundits have argued that the elections represent a referendum on President Obama, Democrats and the direction of the Republican party. But a handful of commentators now say that the sudden zeal for third party candidates like Doug Hoffman reveals a deep disdain for both major political parties.

She includes links to a blog post about the Republican in NY-23 dropping out and a blog post by a Republican about using third parties to potentially elect conservative candidates, among other links.

NJPoliticker also carried an interesting blog post that included some information about Daggett’s polling:

Daggett has done as well as 20% in recent polls, but results have been mixed.  A Suffolk University poll released today, which included all 12 gubernatorial candidates, showed Daggett at only 7% (Daggett said that the poll’s methodology was off, since listening to 12 names being read over the phone was not similar to looking at them on a ballot).

A Fairleigh Dickinson University poll from earlier this month showed him at 17% when his name was mentioned, but only 4% of respondents volunteered his name as a response when it wasn’t (independent Gary Steele, a much more obscure gubernatorial candidate, garnered 12% when his name was mentioned in the FDU poll).

With the terrible ballot design that’s prevalent in New Jersey, this could bode very badly for Daggett.

22 thoughts on “AP: ‘Third party challenges in NJ, NY are warning sign’

  1. Don Lake, late at night

    “….. sudden zeal for third party candidates like Doug Hoffman reveals a deep disdain for both major political parties.”

    [Where were these folks in P2008 ?????]

    [Anderson 1980, Perot, Perot, Nader, Nader, Nader]

  2. Solomon Drek

    The story is somewhat inaccurate. Chris Daggett does not belong to, nor has he been endorsed by, any “third” party. He is on the ballot as an independent candidate, though he was a Republican and served in a previous Republican administration. He has qualified for public funding and so far has managed to raise about two million dollars, which is chump change compared to the major party candidates.

    He’ll be lucky if he actually gets more than ten percent of the vote, in which case he’ll probably hurt the GOP candidate and swing the election to the Democrat.

    As to the other nine third party/independent candidates they are so far off the radar it’s not even worth mentioning except for the NJLP which has come way down from the impact it once had when they ran a credible candidate in 1997.

    In New York Hoffman has been enthusiastically embraced by the GOP and for all practical purposes is the GOP candidate. It has always been common in New York for GOP candidates to run on the Conservative ticket. However the candidate chosen by party bosses this year was so far to the left she made the Democrat seem conservative. That’s why the Conservatives gave their line to Hoffman.

    The Conservative Party did win a statewide victory in New York in 1970 when they elected James Buckley, brother of Bill Buckley, to the US Senate to fill the seat left by Bobby Kennedy. He ran against a liberal (Rockefeller) Republican and a Democrat.

  3. Ross Levin Post author

    Solomon, you’re in the wrong place to make those arguments.

    First off, votes can’t be “taken” from anyone. They go where they go, and the race is so close in NJ that it can’t be said what would happen if Daggett wasn’t in it.

    And every candidate is always worth mentioning. That’s the point of this website.

  4. Solomon Drek

    “You have a chance to do it again in Massachusetts.


    George Phillies,

    At this point I have more respect for Wayne Root than I do for the silly shenanigans you’re trying to pull in Massachusetts. It won’t work, any media exposure you get will be negative, you’re just making yourself and your party look foolish, and in the end you won’t get much more than you would have gotten with a respectable, though perhaps more low-key campaign.

    I never thought my respect for the LP and its leaders could get any lower than it was when they nominated Barr/Root until now.

    And yes, I do admire and respect the Kennedy family even though I may not agree with them politically.

  5. Solomon Drek

    Levin@5: “Solomon, you’re in the wrong place to make those arguments.”

    It’s called “Independent Political Report” and Chris Daggett is as independent as any candidate can get. He is not affiliated in any way with a third party. Which is probably to his advantage since he’s not tied to any one part of the political spectrum.

    “First off, votes can’t be “taken” from anyone. They go where they go, and the race is so close in NJ that it can’t be said what would happen if Daggett wasn’t in it.”

    Of course I can’t be certain (nothing is in politics). However Daggett does seem to be suffering from “wasted vote syndrome” which means the number of voters who like him is much greater than the number of voters who actually vote for him. Murray Sabrin suffered the same way when he polled over ten percent in 1997 but got less than five percent of the vote.

    Part of Daggett’s problem is the lack of a fundraising base. He has some good commercials but nowhere near enough money to compete effectively, despite public financing and appearing in the debates.

    I still think he’ll get most of his votes in GOP districts. That does not mean he’s taking votes away from Christie, but it does mean that his message is more likely resonating with the same voter base who would otherwise be more likely to vote for Christie. I also think if he does not hit ten percent Christie will win. If he does get much more than ten percent this election will be very close or swing to Corzine.

    “And every candidate is always worth mentioning. That’s the point of this website.”

    Agreed. But some candidates are worth of mentioning more often than others.

  6. George Phillies


    No one gets to choose the name he was born with, though some may wonder if you are posting under your actual name, or just claiming the wisdom of Solomon. However, Joe Kennedy is running with the name with which he was born. It is a reasonably common name.

  7. Solomon Drek

    “However, Joe Kennedy is running with the name with which he was born. ”

    Baloney. It may be the name he was born with, but by any other name I doubt very much he would be in this race. Besides, how long has he been a member of the LP, and how many times has he run for office before as a Libertarian?

    This is nothing more than a sleazy publicity stunt which will grab some cheap headlines and then he, like the rest of the LP, will be forgotten.

  8. Solomon Drek

    @8: “So if you have the same last name as a nanny-state politician in your state, you’re not allowed to run for office?”

    Anyone is “allowed” to run for office, and make a complete fool of themselves, provided they meet the legal requirements.

    I’m also allowed to call them a fool.

  9. Solomon Drek

    Just an update. A poll just released by Monmouth University/Gannett Newspapers has Christie with a one point lead but Daggett has dropped from 14 two weeks ago to 8 percent now. Evidently moderate independents and even a few republicans who were toying with Daggett are now going back to Christie.

  10. Melty

    Solomon. Don’t be dissing Joe Kennedy over his name. He takes good stances and presents himself well. He’s a damn good candidate. His name in no way detracts from his validity.
    And you ask, “How long has he been a member of the Libertarian Party? . . . How many times has he run for office before as a Libertarian?” He’s running as an independent, fool? You Drek, are a sleezy publicity stunt. At this point, I have no respect for you.

  11. Solomon Drek

    Melty@13: “And you ask, “How long has he been a member of the Libertarian Party? . . . How many times has he run for office before as a Libertarian?” He’s running as an independent,”

    George Phillies is one of the leaders of the Massachusetts Libertarian Party so I expect his candidate will have that Party’s endorsement if not the Party line. Of course, If I’m wrong, then some other candidate will run as the “Libertarian” candidate and then there will be two libertarian candidates.

    Whether he’s independent, libertarian, conservative, socialist, Republican or Democrat doesn’t really matter as far as I’m concerned. It’s still disrespectful and sleazy to exploit the death of Senator Ted Kennedy and run for his seat using the same name as his almost equally famous nephew who, had he chosen to run, would have won easily and was a hundred times more qualified.

  12. DENNIS

    As a volunteer on Daggett’s campaign, I can say:
    A.) He is a fantastic guy
    B.) Most of the supporters I have met have been Democrats who hate Corzine

  13. Solomon Drek

    @18: “Keep the third party movement alive in NJ after the election (whether Daggett wins or not)!”

    What “third party movement”? Daggett is an independent candidate and has nothing to do with any political party. That’s been part of his strength is that he appeals across the political spectrum since he is not identified with any party ideology.

    I voted for Daggett by mail partly because he isn’t tied to any party ideology or platform.

    It’s too bad that the latest polls have Daggett losing support because of “wasted vote syndrome” I think the only way an independent candidate can win in New Jersey is name recognition/celebrity status and/or lots of money.

  14. Solomon Drek

    @20: “I’m using third party/independent interchangeably.”

    OK, but they are different animals (politically anyway). There are 12 candidates for NJ governor. Excluding the top three the rest are divided between independents and alternative party candidates. I predict that the indies (excluding Daggett) will get more votes than the partisans.

    I think indies tend to do better because they are not bound by a rigid ideology or restrictive platform. They have more flexibility to campaign and even change their policies if needed. They are not hamstrung by party activists and ideological purists.

    I haven’t seen Daggett’s campaign reports but I did look at NJLP candidate Murray Sabrin’s in 1997 and nearly half of Murray’s expenditures were for administrative overhead, consultant fees and managerial expenses. I’ll bet Daggett’s overhead is alot less than Sabrin because he doesn’t have to pay or be accountable to party regulars to keep them happy.

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