Thursday, August 26, 2010

What's an Iowa Party?

What's an Iowa Party?

Iowa's newest political party has just two candidates - and, it seems, two factions.

Jonathan Narcisse filed his independent campaign for governor with the name "Iowa Party." The only other candidate in the state using the label is Doug Philips in Senate District 45.

"I have nothing to do with his candidacy," Narcisse says. "I don't support it, and am not associated with it. Period."

Narcisse says Philips has been a supporter in the bast and had helped get signatures to place Narcisse on the ballot, but "Doug had a strategy he wanted to advance. I disagreed. I personally feel he's running on the Iowa Party, which I said publicly I would run on, because he's upset with me."

"But this is Iowa and there was no way I could prevent him from running under that banner, either." (Major parties know that pain, too. Anyone else remember Jim Leach's opponent from 1992?)

As I've noted before, Philips ran as an independent in last year's House 90 special election, and drew enough conservative votes away from the Republicans to help Democrat Curt Hanson to win with less than 50 percent.

"The approach I have taken (since) day one is to tell people where I stand on the issues and they either support me or they don't," says Narcisse. "That frees me from the burden of defending someone else's agenda."

Should Narcisse win 2 percent of the vote, the Iowa Party becomes a full-fledged political party with caucuses and a primary in 2012. The Reform Party and the Greens had party status for two years each and lost it in the next general election (the Greens, and Libertarians, now have minor party "organization" status.)

There are a few one-state parties across the country. The most famous is probably the Alaska Independence Party, Todd "First Dude" Palin's one-time affiliation. New York's cross-filing procedure has had the side effect of several unique ballot lines. Minnesota's Independence Party grew out of Governor Jesse Ventura's split from the Reform Party after Pat Buchanan's hostile takeover in 1999.

Nebraska has a Nebraska Party, but it's just the state's version of the right-wing COnstitution Party. And Lowell Weicker won his 1990 independent run for governor on the ballot line "A Connecticut Party" (the "A" got him first alphabetically.)

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