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Can 3rd party politics gain ground again in Minnesota?

Minnesota makes a push for election alternatives.

By Mary Lahammer

Former child actor Brock Pierce, an Independent candidate for US president, recently got some third-party pointers from a person who won the race as an Independence Party candidate for Minnesota governor - Jesse Ventura. Originally from Minnesota, Pierce appeared in the film Mighty Ducks, which might also offer a good analogy for the underdogs in politics.

Former U.S. Senator Dean Barkley earned major party status for the Reform Party in the state, which later became the Independence Party and has since lost major party status. "Well it is disappointing, it took a lot of hard work to get it there. I don’t think we’re dead yet," says Barkley.

Barkley helped pave the way for pro-wrestler Jesse "The Body" Ventura to become the governor back in 1998 when he uttered the unforgettable phrase, “We shocked the world!” Ventura continues to challenge the press, asking, “How many wasted votes were there when I won?"

“I think the third-party movement, or independent movement, is just starting to flower. Let’s face it, there’s more of us than them, more independents, more third-party people than Democrats or Republicans." Barkley adds, "I think how much worse can it get? Congress can’t even agree on COVID funding.”

Minnesota’s major parties now include two marijuana parties that both managed to meet the threshold of 5% of the vote in a statewide race, something many learned with the passing of a congressional candidate. But Ventura says they haven’t been successful on the issue since he called for cannabis legalization decades ago.

Stay tuned to Almanac, which airs on TPT2 on Fridays at 7 pm and Sundays at 9:30 am, for ongoing coverage of politics in Minnesota. 

Minnesota's 7th Congressional District is home to a tight race leading up to the November 2020 election. One Greater Minnesota Reporter Kaomi Goetz takes a look at the issues at stake as longtime incumbent Collin Peterson runs against former Lt. Governor Michelle Fischbach.

President Donald Trump tested positive for the coronavirus the day after visiting Minnesota, where he met with Republican legislative leaders and three Minnesota members of Congress, who flew with him on Air Force One before Trump appeared in front of thousands. Prior to his diagnosis, Mary Lahammer spoke with local experts about the political change in the Northland.

A historic number of people is expected to vote by mail this November 2020, yet a top election official says that Minnesota might not look all that different. Political reporter Mary Lahammer interviewed Joe Mansky, who worked for decades in state and local elections offices, and agrees that the amount of national attention Minnesota is seeing in the presidential race is unusual. 

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