Last year I tended to look at the power of the third party candidates to see whether or not it would be worthwhile for a third party to centralize its efforts in a single town. I thought I’d do the same thing for the 2009 results.
In Mt. Arlington, Chris Christie drew 1,130 votes for Governor while the then-incumbent Jon Corzine drew 512 votes. In total, 154 ballots were cast for third party candidates which includes 136 votes for Chris Daggett. In truth, that’s not that bad for the third parties during an election cycle that was pretty well-publicized and emotionally-charged in New Jersey. It is clear, though, that Mt. Arlington remains a strong Republican district and that whatever crossover support Corzine enjoyed in this particular district prior to the election evaporated.
In total, 1,808 ballots were cast in Mt. Arlington. Of those ballots, 1,732 were cast in person at polling stations and 76 were cast via vote by mail ballots. Again, this isn’t a bad turnout for the vote by mail contingent (myself included) and it shows that the intent of the change in election law to allow more people to use vote by mail ballots is being realized by the people. And though the percentage of the vote that came through vote by mail ballots was only 2.07%, I still think that if a third party could find a way to energize a local base, then it could enjoy some degree of success at the local level and possibly build on that success regionally, then at the state level, and then possibly at higher levels of government.
With the recent showing of Doug Hoffman in the NY-23 congressional district special election, it would appear that there is a real desire on behalf of the people to see something new from their politicians. The people want more choices than simply “R” or “D” and I still think that the building a strong base at the local level is the best way for third parties to pop up and begin providing more choice to the voters.