ABC 2002: Third-Party And Independent Candidates

Thompson is the brother of HHS Secretary Tommy G. Thompson — himself, of course, a former longtime governor of the state. Ed Thompson got into politics four years ago when he waged a public campaign against state gambling laws. (His house of video poker had been raided.) He supports a thin version of the Libertarian platform: medical marijuana, lower taxes, less burdensome regulation, and school choice.

Thompson owns Mr. Ed's Tee Pee Supper Club in Tomah, and is currently the mayor of that small city.

Depending on who asks the question and how, Thompson polls as high as 10 percent in a three-way general election race with McCallum and Doyle. And Wisconsin does have same-day voter registration, which lends itself to late-October populist upswings — just ask Jesse Ventura. Thompson is outspoken, colorful, and likable — all in contrast with McCallum, who is seen by the media, and by many voters, as stand-offish.

Incidentally, there are three other minor candidates whose names might appear on the ballot, pending the result of the primaries and their signature gathering requirements.

3. New York governor

Gov. George Pataki (R) State Comptroller Carl McCall (D) Tom Golisano (I)

Arguably, Tom Golisano is the most well-known of all the independent or third-party candidates listed here, but his possible impact on the New York gubernatorial race is unknown at the moment because of the steps Pataki has taken to shore up his standing even among Democrats.

On September 10, Golisano won a very nasty battle with Pataki to get the Independence Party nomination, securing his spot on the November ballot. He told the New York Times that he'll spend as much as he needs to win — perhaps as much as $70 million, much of which will be targeted toward the moderate-to-conservative voter group which typically is Pataki's base.

Golisano's camp, however, promises to run negative ads against both Pataki and Democrat McCall.

Make no mistake: this is a three-way race, if only because both major-party candidates will certainly acknowledge, in their strategy and tactics, Golisano's presence.

Given the complexities of New York politics, for now we will continue to defer judgment on how much of a factor Golisano will be in this race.

Golisano's campaign faltered a bit when his original running mate, Daniel Mahony, revealed that he actually lived in Connecticut. Mahony is also being investigated for voting twice in the 2000 elections. Golisano has run for governor twice before. He's being helped this time by Republican operative Roger Stone.

4. Minnesota Senate

Senator Paul Wellstone (D) Former St. Paul Mayor Norm Coleman (R) Ray Tricomo(Green) Jim Moore (Independence Party)

The two major-party contenders, Wellstone and Coleman, are pretty much neck-and-neck and likely to stay that way through election day.

Green Party candidate Ray Tricomo won a contested primary against Ed McGaa, though he only received a little more than 3400 votes.

Also worth mentioning is Independence Party candidate Jim Moore, a banker. Moore is campaigning on a promise to bring efficiency government and for social justice; his heroes are Learned Hand, Abraham Lincoln, and Nelson Mandela.

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