TODAY: June 5th marks the most exciting day yet in 2012 electoral politics, and Independent voters have plenty of interests at stake around the country. Wisconsin hold their much anticipated Recall election, only the third attempted recall of a Governor in our nation’s history. In addition, six states hold primaries to pick House candidates: California, Iowa, Montana, New Jersey, New Mexico, and South Dakota. Eyes will also be on the San Diego Mayoral Race, where Republican turned Independent Nathan Fletcher has a legitimate shot to make it to a runoff.
WISCONSIN: Recent polling has shown the election pitting Republican Governor Scott Walker against Democrat Mayor Tom Barrett will be close. Polling from the Walker camp and non-partisan sources has indicated that the Governor holds a slim lead, while internal polling from the Barrett camp has shown the race as a virtual tie. “Undecided” voters have only made up 3-6% of the sample in the most recent polls, and whichever way this group swings will likely play a big part in deciding today’s result. At IVA, we’ve always contended that Independent voters decide every close election, and the Wisconsin Recall figures to be no different.
TRIVEDI: There is an Independent Candidate for Governor on the ballot in the Wisconsin Recall. Dr. Hari Trivedi, a kidney specialist who most notably introduced himself to the voters of Wisconsin with a 30 second spot aired during the Super Bowl (at great expense) in February. Trivedi hasn’t received much attention from the mainstream media during his campaign, but with the potential to pull in one or two percent of votes statewide, his candidacy could become a “spoiler” for the Barrett campaign, as the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel noted this morning.
SAN DIEGO: Independent Candidate Nathan Fletcher, a former rising star in the California GOP, has a real shot at finishing first or second in the San Diego Mayoral election today, hoping to gain a ballot line in an inevitable runoff. Fletcher made national news in February when he renounced his Republican affiliation and switched to an Independent candidacy, and has since run a high-profile non-partisan campaign that has had him surging in the polls, with competitive heading into today’s vote. Whatever the result, Fletcher has shown that a high profile defection from Republican (or Democrat) to Independent can be a successful strategy – we encourage party politicians everywhere to follow suit!
CALIFORNIA: California’s new “top-two” or “jungle” primary system gets its first statewide test today, and several Independent candidates are in the running to become the only Independent Representative in a body politic that’s currently exclusive to party politicians. Independent candidates Linda Parks, Chad Condit, and Anthony Adams are the most likely to achieve surprise victories or second place finishes in today’s primaries, but Independent voters of California are today’s real winners as they get to participate in congressional primaries for the first time.
THEORY: In theory, the top two primary should produce more moderate options for Californians in November, as all voters are allowed to participate and candidates no longer have the incentive to run to the extreme that partisan primaries provide. After today, we’ll see how the top-two system works in practice, not just theory. Independents, stay tuned.