Oregon’s Independent Party got a front page story in The Oregonian today. The article details the party’s meteoric growth as well as it’s search for a central focus.
Dan Meek, a longtime Ralph Nader fan and public utility activist, started the Independent Party of Oregon less than four years ago because he was upset that the Oregon Legislature made it harder to run for office if you didn’t belong to a political party.
Since then, Meek’s brainstorm has turned into one of the more attractive political brand names in the state. Republican and Democratic candidates alike are competing to add the “Independent” label to their ballot line, as they are allowed to do under a new “fusion voting” law.
The party’s registration growth has been nothing short of explosive. It now has more than 54,000 registered voters, more than all five of the state’s other minor parties combined. And if the party doubles in size, which is not implausible given its growth so far, it would gain major-party status, meaning that the state would conduct primary elections for the Independents, just as it does for the Democrats and Republicans.
The Indepedent Party of Oregon will also try to host an online primary, the first in Oregon history.