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Welcome to STop, the Seattle Times Opinion blog where our editorial writers and editors share their evolving thoughts on a variety of issues. STop is a place where opinion writers and readers can exchange views and readers can learn more about how editorial positions are formed.

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November 29, 2004

The third party

While Dino Rossi and Chris Gregoire are separated by 42 votes after the official recount, the Libertarian candidate, Ruth Bennett, pulled 63,415 votes.

She told me Monday she thought she pulled more votes away from Gregoire than Rossi because of her championship of a left-wing issue, same-sex marriage, and because precinct results showed that she was stronger in Gregoire precincts and weaker in Rossi ones.

The Libertarians’ role was a rerun of four years ago, when Maria Cantwell and Slade Gorton separated by just 2,229 votes for a U.S. Senate seat and Libertarian Jeff Jared pulled down 64,734 votes, almost the same amount Bennett just received.

Because the Libertarians are considered a right-wing party -- on account of their opposition to the welfare state -- people said that in 2000, Jared had cost the Republicans one Senate seat.

Bennett argues against that. She says Jared also ran better in Democrat precincts than in Republican ones, and therefore did not spoil the 2000 election for Gorton. “Without a Libertarian in the race, Gorton would have lost by tens of thousands of votes,” she says.

It would be interesting to hear from Libertarian voters. Who would they have voted for in these races if the ballot had only the top two candidates from the primary? (As we have now decided to do.)

Respond to Bruce

Read his latest column

 
Posted by Bruce Ramsey at November 29, 2004 03:27 PM



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