Greetings, independent voters and thinkers. Here’s how yesterday’s election results came in for notable independent candidates – there were a few victories, as well as several surprising results:
Senator Angus King: To nobody’s surprise, independent candidate Angus King won the Maine US Senate race to replace retiring Olympia Snowe by a huge margin, with 53% of the vote. Although there’s been much speculation that King would immediately caucus with the Senate Democrats, functioning much like “independent in name only” Joe Lieberman, he’s said that he’ll try to remain an independent Independent in the Senate:
As an independent, he says he’ll talk with members of both parties to decide which side to “caucus” with, a decision that could open the door for him to play a role on Senate committees and could signal which party he feels most at home with… ”I am not bound by the ideology of a party,” King asserted in his campaign. “I make decisions based on the facts, after talking with people who would be affected.”
Good news! We’re excited to see how long this lasts, and whether our two parties will play nice or play hardball with Mr. King’s independence.
That Presidential Race: President Obama steamrolled Mitt Romney, sweeping every swing state except North Carolina. Despite some exit polls showing Romney had won independent voters in key swing states like Ohio and Virginia, Obama turned out enough Democrats and convinced enough persuadable voters in the middle, including independent voters, to carry him to a second term rather easily. We’ll watch for the final polling results on how independent voters went, and keep you updated.
Rob Sobhani: The largely self financed Republican turned Independent candidate for Senate Rob Sobhani pulled in 17.1% of the vote in a largely uncompetitive three way race for Maryland’s US Senate seat won by Democratic Incumbent Ben Cardin with 54.1% of the vote, suggesting that Sobhani siphoned much of the vote away from his Republican competitor Dan Bongino, who ended finishing a distant second place with 27.6% of the vote. Then again, Sobhani did pick up almost 15% of the vote from the City of Baltimore, where Bongino predictably struggled with less than 7% of Maryland’s most populous city by far.
Sobhani did spend quite a bit of cash, self financing his campaign with $6,438,205 (for a little perspective, he only raised $34K in individual contributions) – so maybe he’ll run for a house race in 2014 or another statewide office if he wants to cash in on some future name recognition. When you spend more than the incumbent and still lose by a large margin, you have to ask — did anything go wrong, or is Cardin just invincible in Maryland?
Third Party Candidates: Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson finished with 1% of the popular vote, and Green Party candidate Jill Stein took 0.3% with almost 400,000 votes. Third party candidates continued to be non-factors in the Presidential race for a variety of reasons this year, including lack of access to debates, struggles to raise campaign cash, and inability to convince voters on a mass scale to “waste” their vote for President on a candidate that couldn’t win. Johnson did also get 2.9% of the vote in Montana, 2% of the vote in Maine, and 1.9% of the vote in Indiana. Perhaps he’ll be back for another shot at 5% nationwide in the 2016 race. However, third party presidential candidates ultimately didn’t have any measurable influence on the 2012 Presidential race.
Other notable Independents: Fired up Lawyer Alex Pires pulled in 3.8% of the vote in Delaware’s senate race. No Labels independent Bill Bloomfield put up a great fight against veteran Democrat Henry Waxman in California’s 33st district, finishing with 46.3% of the vote. Johnson did pull in 3.5% of the vote in his home state of New Mexico, and would have drastically effected a closer race there between Romney and Obama. Libertarian candidate for Senate in Missouri, Jonathan Dine, pulled in a surprising 6.1% of the state’s vote, likely buoyed by Republican Todd Akin’s self imploded failure of a campaign. Johnson-Dine 2016?
Did we miss anything? As an independent voter, what was your take on last night’s electoral results around the country?