Poll Shows New Green Strength in Illinois, Maine Gubernatorial Races

Political Wire of October 24 reports on two new gubernatorial polls, both of which show significant gains for Green Party gubernatorial nominees. In Illinois, a SurveyUSA poll shows Democratic 44%, Republican 34%, Green 14%, other and undecided 8%.

In Maine, a poll (the pollster is not identified) shows Democratic 42%, Republican 34%, Green 9%, independent legislator Barbara Merrill 12%, other and undecided 3%.

In both states, “party” is defined as a group that polls 5% for Governor. Greens already have that status in Maine, and they appear likely to gain it for the first time in Illinois.

Max Linn Wins Court Order on Debates

On October 23, a Florida lower state court ruled that since Public TV is sponsoring the October 24 gubernatorial debate, and since the Reform Party is a ballot-qualified party, therefore the debate cannot be held unless Reform Party gubernatorial candidate Max Linn is included. Linn is the only candidate to benefit from this ruling, since the judge excluded independent candidates. The Reform Party is the only minor party that ran any candidates for any statewide office in Florida this year, under the party label (a Libertarian is also running but he is officially an independent candidate since the Florida Libertarian Party refused to nominate anyone for Governor this year).

The case is Linn v Florida Public Broadcasting Service, cace 06-016781, Broward Co. Circuit Court. It is being appealed.

Max Linn Sues Over Debate Exclusion

Max Linn, Reform Party candidate for Governor of Florida, filed a lawsuit in state court on October 23, over his exclusion from a debate being sponsored in part by Public Television. Linn has a real campaign, has spent hundreds of thousands of dollars already on TV advertising, has a staff and a campaign headquarters. The US Supreme Court ruled in 1998 that candidate debates sponsored by Public TV cannot exclude candidates with a substantial campaign. The case is Linn v Florida Public Broadcasting Service, filed in lower state court in Broward County.

Ironically, many other minor party and independent candidates for Governor and U.S. Senator this year have been invited into debates with their major party opponents. Such inclusive debates have been held this year in Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, Connecticut, Georgia, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, South Dakota, Texas, Vermont, Washington, and Wyoming.

No Major Party Contest in 37.6% of All Legislative Districts

In November 2006, there are 6,159 partisan legislative races in the 45 states that hold such elections in even-numbered years. Of those races, in 2,316 there is either no Democrat running, or no Republican running. This means that there is no contest between a Democrat and a Republican in 37.60% of all state legislative races this year.

In 2004, the story was similar; 38.7% of all legislative races had no contest between a Democrat and a Republican.

There are 10,725 individuals on the ballot as candidates for a state legislative election this year. That includes 5,178 Democrats, 4,824 Republicans, 272 Libertarians, 111 Constitution Party nominees, 75 Greens, 22 Working Families nominees, 17 Vermont Progressives, 16 Minnesota Independence nominees, 14 New York Conservatives, 9 Personal Choice nominees in Utah, 8 Reform nominees, 7 Peace & Freedom nominees in California, 5 New York Independence nominees, 5 Delaware Independent Party nominees, 4 Liberty Union nominees in Vermont, 2 Socialist Equality nominees, and one nominee from each of these parties: Alabama Freedom, Alaskan Independence, Idaho Unity, Socialist Workers, Socialist, Populist, Right to Life, United Citizens, and Mountain.

There are also 147 independent candidates, some of whom have labels other than just the word “independent”.

Almost all political parties in the U.S. have nominees in a smaller share of districts than they did in 2004. The only exceptions are the Democratic Party, the Peace & Freedom Party, the Delaware Independent Party, the Socialist Equality Party, and the Vermont Progressive Party. In 2004 the Republicans had nominees in 81.2% of the districts, but this year they have nominees in 78.3% of the districts. The Democrats, by contrast, had nominees in 80.2% of the districts in 2004, and have them in 84.1% this year.

The November 1, 2006 Ballot Access News paper edition will have the state-by-state details. In the case of individuals who have the nomination of more than one party, that individual was only counted once, according to his or her party membership.