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Spoilers Can't Spoil with IRV

by Emma Schwartz // Published November 2, 2006
We are entering the final stretch of the hot, hot 2006 midterm elections. While dinner table discussions tend to center around who will take the House and Senate, political scholars are also debating the affect of "spoilers". Who will be the midterm version of Ralph Nader, the pesky third party candidate who sways the election for the Democrats or Republicans?

But third party candidates don't have to be a factor at all. With instant runoff voting (IRV) people can voice their support for independents without hurting their second choice, big party politician. It's a way to get some more ideas into the field, give people what they really want, and avoid a winner who the majority does not endorse.

Here's an incomplete list of "other" candidates in contests that are considered close and who may play a role in deciding who comes out on top. Some of these candidates may no longer be on the ballot; if you see an error, or an omission, please let us know.

Alaska governor -- Sarah Palin (R) vs. Tony Knowles (D) for seat of Gov. Frank Murkowski (R), who lost the primary: Billy Toien (Libertarian), Andrew Halcro (Independent)

Arkansas governor -- Asa Hutchinson (R) vs. Mike Beebe (D) for the seat of term-limited Gov. Mike Huckabee (R): Jim Lendall (Green), Rod Bryan (Independent)

Colorado governor -- Bob Beauprez (R) vs. Bill Ritter (D) for the seat of term-limited Gov. Bill Owens (R): Chuck Sylvester (Independent), Dawn Winkler-Kinateder (Libertarian)

Florida governor -- Charlie Crist (R) vs. Jim Davis (D) for the seat of term-limited Gov. Jeb Bush (R): Max Linn (Reform), several independents

Iowa governor -- Chet Culver (D) vs. Jim Nussle (R) for the seat of retiring Gov. Tom Vilsack (D): Wendy Barth (Green)

Maine governor -- Gov. John Baldacci (D) vs. Chandler Woodcock (R): Patricia LaMarche (Green), Barbara Merrill (Independent)

Maryland Senate -- Ben Cardin (D) vs. Michael Steele (R) for the seat of retiring Sen. Paul Sarbanes (D): Kevin Zeese (Green, Libertarian and Populist Parties)

Maryland governor -- Gov. Bob Ehrlich (R) vs. Martin O'Malley (D): Ed Boyd (Green), Christopher Driscoll (Populist)

Massachusetts governor -- Kerry Healey (R) vs. Deval Patrick (D) for the seat of retiring Gov. Mitt Romney (R): Christy Mihos (Independent) NOTE: This race is not considered especially close, but Mihos is expected to receive a significant vote.

Michigan Senate -- Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D) vs. Mike Bouchard (R): Leonard Schwartz (Libertarian)

Michigan governor -- Gov. Jennifer Granholm (D) vs. Dick DeVos (R): Douglas Campbell (Green)

Minnesota governor -- Gov. Tim Pawlenty (R) vs. Mike Hatch (D): Ken Pentel (Green), Peter Hutchinson (Independent)

Missouri Senate -- Sen. Jim Talent (R) vs. Claire McCaskill (D): Lydia Lewis (Green), Frank Gilmour (Libertarian)

Montana Senate -- Sen. Conrad Burns (R) vs. Jon Tester (D): Stan Jones (Libertarian)

Nevada governor -- Jim Gibbons (R) vs. Dina Titus (D) for the seat of term-limited Gov. Kenny Guinn (R): Craig Bergland (Green), Christopher Hansen (American Independent)

New Jersey Senate -- Sen. Bob Menendez (D) vs. Thomas Kean Jr. (R): Len Flynn (Libertarian), Greg Pason (Socialist)

Ohio Senate -- Sen. Mike DeWine (R) vs. Sherrod Brown (D): Ralph Ferrucci (Green)

Oregon governor -- Gov. Ted Kulongoski (D) vs. Ron Saxton (R): Joe Keating (Green), Richard Morley (Libertarian), Mary Starrett (Constitution)

Tennessee Senate -- Bob Corker (R) vs. Harold Ford Jr. (D) for the seat of retiring Sen. Bill Frist (R): Chris Lugo (Green)

Wisconsin governor -- Gov. Jim Doyle (D) vs. Mark Green (R): Nelson Eisman (Green)

See the full article here.

Emma Schwartz is an intern for FairVote.