Thursday, July 3, 2008

Body and Mind

As I mentioned in the previous post about Ross Perot's third-party candidacies, his movement faded out over time, at the national level. However, there was an ongoing impact in one of the states.

By 1996, Perot had formed the "Reform Party" as his vehicle for his second presidential candidacy.

In 1998, Jim Janos (using his stage name, Jesse Ventura) was elected governor of Minnesota as the Reform Party candidate. Ventura was never closely aligned with Perot, and the Minnesota party later changed its name to "Independence Party", to sever any remaining connection with the national movement.
Ventura defeated St. Paul Mayor (now U.S. Senator) Norm Coleman, the Republican candidate, and state Attorney General Hubert H. ("Skip") Humphrey III, the Democratic-Farmer-Labor (more later on what that means) candidate.
Ventura did not seek re-election in 2002, and his 1998 victory stands as the only major electoral victory for that third-party movement. Independence Party candidates for governor in Minnesota got 16.18% and 6.43% of the vote in 2002 and 2006, respectively (compared to Ventura's 36.99% in 1998). Those numbers make it a major third party, but bring it nowhere near another victory.
Image: Minnesota Historical Society (official portrait of Governor Ventura)

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