Crucial Independence Party - Don't Make Me Laugh

Every year around this time of the year, stories appear about how crucial the support of minor parties are to this or that candidate.

I, for one, have always thought that this was BS 99% of the time.

Sure, there have been times that 3rd Party support has been the margin of difference in an election but these have been relatively few in number. Senator Nick Spano in 2004, John Lindsay in 1969, etc.

The fact that there are so few is why we remember them!

This week, the DC paper, The Hill attempts to once again elevate a minor Party, in this case that weird alliance that calls itself the Independence Party, to a major force in the Democrats attempt to regain Congress. They point to 2 districts.

But the examples in the story actually show that the IP has not played anything like an important role.

In Suffolk’s 1st CD, The Hill writes -

“The party’s nomination can provide the margin of victory. In 2004, Rep. Tim Bishop (D-N.Y.) easily beat his GOP opponent after narrowly winning in 2002, when he did not run on the Independence Party’s line. “

The story implies a cause and affect. It leaves out the fact that in 2002, Bishop challenged an incumbent Republican. In 2004, Bishop was defending his seat. And it leaves out the numbers. Here they are:


Bishop (D)            81,325

Bishop (W)            2,951

Grucci (R)            64,999

Grucci (C)            6,116

Grucci (I)            4,522


Bishop (D)            140,878

Bishop (I)            9,657

Bishop (W)            5,819

Manger  (R)            110,786

Manger (C)            11,069

Excuse me, but is there anything in these numbers that indicate the Independence Party played ANY role in determining who won?

The other example is in Western New York’s 26th CD where Democrat Jack Davis is challenging Republican Tom Reynolds a 2nd time.

The Hill writes -

“Two years ago, 9,000 votes for Reynolds came from those who voted on the Independence Party line. If Davis had won the third-party nomination, Reynolds’s margin of victory would have been slashed by 59 percent.”

Wow, 59% sounds impressive but what does that mean. Here are the real numbers –

Reynolds (R)            137,425

Reynolds (C)            10,672

Reynolds (I)            9,369

Davis (D)            116,484

Davis (W)            9,129

So the 59% means that Reynolds, who won by 31,853 votes would have ONLY won by 13,115 IF everyone who voted for him on the IP line switched to Davis. But Reynolds would still have won.

Now remember, these two are the best examples, the author could come up with to show the great potential power of the Independence Party. 

I hope we Democrats can pick up some Republican congressional seats in NY this year, but I hope they are counting on the Independence Party to make Charlie Rangel Ways & Means Chair.