Independence Party Creates Familiar Scenario In NY-23

The Independence Party of New York is one of the most powerful and successful state-level third parties in the United States, with over 400,000 members statewide and two elected assemblymen, Timothy P. Gordon and Fred Thiele. Today the Independence Party of New York endorsed the candidacy of Republican Matt Doheny in New York’s 23rd Congressional District.

Doheny said in the same release that he appreciates “the party’s confidence in my campaign and their understanding that I will be a common sense, independent voice when I win in November and go to Washington.”

He made no mention of the twin legal probes that have been bedeviling the Indy Party in Oneida County (it should be noted that this is strictly a local issue) and Manhattan.

Doheny is fighting Doug Hoffman for the GOP line against Owens. The Conservative Party, which backed Hoffman against Assemblywoman Dede Scozzafava in the special election, is so far sticking with him this time around, too.

That’s in spite of the fact that local Republican leaders have complained Hoffman isn’t working hard enough and are behind Doheny.

The Indys backed Assemblywoman Scozzafava last year, and were stuck with her after she was pushed out of the race by the more conservative Hoffman just days before the election.

At the time, MacKay said it had been a mistake for his party to back Scozzafava over Owens and called the campaign “disastrous.”

Doug Hoffman, Doheny’s primary opponent in the Republican Party, received the nomination of the Conservative Party in the district in 2008 and ran as a third party candidate against the Republican Party candidate Dede Scozzafava.

5 thoughts on “Independence Party Creates Familiar Scenario In NY-23

  1. Independence party hype

    In many ways it is a stretch to call Timothy P. Gordon or Fred Thiele “elected Independence party assemblymen” they may be members of the independence party but are in office in spite of rather then because of there party affiliation. Fred Thiele just switched his registration from the Republican Party in October 2009, and Timothy P. Gordon was elected in 2006 with 85% of his votes coming on the Democratic line.
    26,245 total votes 22,409 on Democratic party ballot line and only 3,836 (15%) on independence ballot line.

    In 2008,
    84% (31,262) of Gordon’s votes came on the Democratic line, 6% (2,246) on the Working Families ballot line. and only 10% (3,697) of Gordon’s votes came on the Independence party ballot line.

    If Matt Doheny does not secure the Republican nomination his campaign is essentially dead on arrival. History shows the Independence party may have a high registration total but it is not capable of getting significant votes on its ballot line even if it fields a quality candidate.

    So one has to question how ‘truely’ successful the Independence party is as a state-level third party.

    Is it the party, or is it fusion???

  2. Trent Hill Post author

    400,000 registered members means it is a very successful party, regardless. It also races significant money and can count amongst it’s membership two assemblymen. No other NATIONAL third party can even claim that. I’d say that makes them successful, though certainly fusion helps.

  3. Independence party hype

    The Vermont Progressive party has five state Reps and a state senator who were elected as VT Progressives (the mayor of the states largest city Burlington is also a progressive). I consider this to be a successful state party because they were elected as candidates of there party.
    The same can not be said of the two Independence Party assemblymen. One just switched his registration in Oct 09, having been elected on the Republican ticket, and the other while a party member when he was elected to office, VERY few of his votes came on the Independence ballot line he was elected as a Democrat who happened to be registered Independence.

    If it weren’t for electoral fusion the independence party would have little money. the Independence party and working families party have long served as a second or third ballot lines for candidates of the major parties or a second chance for those that finish second in the the respective Rep/Dem primaries. In the case of the Independence party there are several instances where endorsed candidates have ‘Donated’ significantly to the party – or was it that the party sold it ballot line.
    Also can we really consider the Independence party a real third party? It mostly endorses (gives its ballot line) to people registered in other political parties.

    Its elected officials were not elected Independence rather a (Rep and a Dem). political parties actually are supposed to actually elect people as candidates of there party.

    The Independence party is more a pressure group then a political party – a mutant of fusion

  4. Trent Hill Post author

    The party has 400,000 registered voters, elected officials who count themselves as members, it runs its own candidates (as well as endorsing many others), raises money, and is not one of the major two parties–yes, that means it is a third party.

    There is no doubt that the Independence Party makes use of fusion in NY. This does not mean they are not a third party.

  5. Peter M.

    @ 3

    I think the criticisms you’re making of the Independence Party could apply to the Vermont Progressive Party as well. Vermont also has a form of fusion (though not with separate ballot lines like New York), so Progressive candidates will often be on the ballot with both the Progressive and Democratic labels next to their names. Occasionally, Progressive candidates will also have the Republican line next to their names as well. The practical result of this is that a Progressive candidate is less likely to face Democratic opposition in state legislature races, and therefore have a greater chance of being elected.

    Again, the mechanics of fusion in Vermont do work a bit differently than in New York, so you can’t tell how many people vote for P/D candidates because they’re Progressives or because they’re Democrats. And I do agree that the Vermont Progressives do have more of an independent existence than the IPNY does. At the same time though, there are similarities between the two organisations which cannot be ignored.

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