Democrats backing third party candidates across the country to undermine Republicans

The news of this dirty politics comes from the San Francisco Chronicle, with a H/T to Gene Berkman:

Seeking any slight advantage in their effort to avoid losing control of Congress, Democrats are working behind the scenes in a number of tight races to bolster longshot third-party candidates who have platforms at odds with the Democratic agenda but hold the promise of siphoning Republican votes.

The efforts are taking place with varying degrees of stealth. And in many cases, they seem to hold as much risk as potential reward for Democrats, prompting accusations of hypocrisy and dirty tricks from Republicans and the third-party movements that are on the receiving end of the unlikely, and sometimes unwelcome, support.

In Southern California, Republicans have received recorded phone calls from a self-proclaimed but unidentified “registered Republican” who says she is voting for the American Independent Party’s candidate for a House seat, Bill Lussenheide, not for the incumbent Republican, Mary Bono Mack. The caller says she is voting that way because “it’s time we show Washington what a true conservative looks like.”

The recording was openly paid for by the Democratic candidate for the seat, Mayor Steve Pougnet of Palm Springs.

In Pennsylvania, the Democratic candidate for a suburban Philadelphia House seat, Bryan Lentz, admitted this week that his volunteers helped Jim Schneller – a prominent skeptic of President Obama’s citizenship – collect petitions to run against Lentz and his Republican opponent, Pat Meehan.

7 thoughts on “Democrats backing third party candidates across the country to undermine Republicans

  1. Kimberly Wilder

    I think that right wingers or Republicans helping third parties is interesting.

    It happened to the greens in Suffolk a bit when we had a ballot line. Certain people from the right thought that helping us would support their cause.

    Their belief that helping us took votes in a direct way from their opponents was faulty thinking. With the Green Party especially — but also with other parties — the formula of where third party voters comes from is not so cut and dry. And, outreach helps third parties drag people to the polls who were never going to be there.

    But, we enjoyed letting confused Republicans and others have their delusions of playing god, if it got us extra help or signatures.

    As long as you keep it in perspective and don’t let it steer your activities, and you don’t take corporate contributions or secret contributions, it is okay to have support from unlikely sources.

    On the other hand, sometimes such odd support is genuine support for the cause.

    When I was running for NY State Senator on the Green Party line, someone signed my candidate petition who was from the Right to Life Party. The reason was because we had been colleagues on a local political chatroom, and enjoyed each others work concerning ballot access, critique of local officials, and thoughtful conversation.

  2. Richard Winger

    None of these articles ever mention the evidence that the conventional wisdom about “spoiling” is wrong. There was the recent poll from Nevada, which showed that Ashjian does not hurt Sharron Angle. There is the older evidence that I mention over and over, but which the press never uses, that sometimes a candidate of a left minor party helps, not hurts, the Democrat (and vice versa).

  3. paulie


    Do you have all of that collected in any one place? One article mentioning all of the evidence for that which is available would be good if it doesn’t already exist.

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