Monday, June 28, 2010

Right side of Iowa ballot getting crowded

Right side of Iowa ballot getting crowded

If Bob Vander Plaats decides to go rogue and run as an independent - I'm still betting he won't - he'll joing a right side of the Iowa ballot that's busier than usual. Steve Rathje fans, too, may see an option on the right.

The Constitution Party (which started life in the 1990s as the US Taxpayers Party) is making its first big non-presidential ballot effort in Iowa, and held its first state convention last month in Grinnell, apparently to little notice. "we are the only party which is completely Pro-Life, Pro-States’ Rights, Pro-Second Amendment, Pro-Constitutional, and Pro-Limited Government, reads the party web site. All qualities Bob Vander Plaats finds lacking in Terry Branstad and Kim Reynolds.

Gubernatorial nominee Rick Phillips ran for state senate as a Republican in 1998 but finished a poor third out of three in the primary, in an earlier version of Dennis Black's central Iowa seat. Running mate Edward (Ted) Hee appears to be active in the militia movement and was one of the party's candidates for presidential elector in 2008.

The COnstitution Party also has a candidate in the 2nd Congressional District, where Jon Tack of Hiawatha is running what looks to be a tea-friendly campaign. With some former Steve Rathje supporters unhappy with the nomination of "RINO" (?!?) Miller-Meeks, Tack could be an escape hatch.

Tack's site has a four-way poll on "Which candidate will uphold our Constitution and Bill of Rights?" which he is handily winning. Feel free to particpate and choose him, MMM, Dave Loebsack, or... clumsy transition...

Libertarian Gary Sicard, who's been in the 2nd CD race for a few months. It's harder to typify the Libertarians as "right," but my personal theory has always been they draw two votes from I Hate Taxes conservatives for every one they get from Legalize Weed lefties.

The Libertarians have the "party organization" status they fought for in court, so now you can get your L on your voter card. But gubernatorial nominee Eric Cooper, who seems more serious than some of their past contenders, is targeting the 2 percent that would bump the Libertarians up to full party status. They're also running Jake Porter for secretary of state and, as noted Saturday, Dustin Krutsinger is running locally in House District 30 (leaving the GOP to do so).

And of course Jonathan Narcisse's odd mix of religious conservatism and economic populism is hard to classify on a left-right spectrum.

Finally, and even hardest to classify, is Jim Hennager, who guested on the Fallon show today to discuss his "Peace Party" bid for the US Senate. It's Hennager's third third party label. In 2002 he ran as a "One World" candidate for Congress, and in 1998 he led the Reform Party to less than one percent and loss of their party status as the candidate for governor.

Where things look empty, for now, is the left. The Greens seem unusually quiet, though you can usually count on the Socialist Workers to get someone on the ballot for something.

All these groups, together, usually score one or two percent of the vote. But with a disgruntled four-time loser raising havoc in the GOP, who knows?

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