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Recent Gubernatorial Success

As we head toward a large pack of gubernatorial races next year, I thought it would be interesting to take a quick look back at the past few years.

Since 1998, a number of independent and third party candidates have made significant impacts on gubernatorial contests across the country.

Presented below is an incomplete list of some notable races and the results. If you have any you think deserve to be added, post in the comments section.




This third party friendly state re-elected their Independent Governor, Angus King, with 59%. He defeated a Republican (19%), Democrat (12%), and Green Party candidate Pat LaMarche (7%).

LaMarche would go on to run for Vice-President of the United States in 2004 on the Green Party ticket.


Reform Party candidate Jesse Ventura shocked the nation when he won 37% and the governorship. Republican Norm Coleman placed second with 34% of the vote.

    New York

Ultra-rich businessman Thomas Golisano captured 7.7% of the vote for governor on the Independence Party line.


John Mitchel captured 3.3% of the vote as the candidate of the Reform Party in a tight race that wound up electing Republican Bob Taft over Democrat Lee Fisher by 50-45%.


Constitution Party candidate Peg Luksik won an impressive 10.44%, or 315,761 votes. Luksik placed second in 5 counties.

    Rhode Island

Running on the Cool Moose Party ticket, Robert Healey captured 6.3% of the vote. This total was down from his 1994 showing of 9%.


Dave Dawson won 4% on the Libertarian line.



Gatewood Galbraith waged a strong campaign on the Reform Party line with the hopes of duplicating Jesse Ventura’s 1998 win in Minnesota. In the end he finished third with 15.3% of the vote, not far behind Republican Peppy Martin’s 22.2%. In fact, Galbraith finished second in quite a few Kentucky counties.



Former Democratic Secretary of State Richard Mahoney mounted a high-profile Independent bid to become Arizona’s governor. He captured 6.9% of the vote in a race where the Democrat defeated the Republican by less than 1% of the vote.

Mahoney came very close to spoiling this race.


Peter Camejo won 393,036 votes or 5.3% of the vote in this high profile race that re-elected controversial Governor Gray Davis.


Johnathan Carter won 9.3% of the vote on the Green Party line.

    New Mexico

David Bacon won 5.5% of the vote on the Green Party line.

    New York

Making another bid for governor on the Independence Party line, this time around Thomas Golisano improved his showing to 14.3% and actually won Monroe county over Governor Pataki, 38-35%.


Attorney Gary Richardson ran a partly self-financed Independent campaign and won 14.1%, or 146,200 votes. This race was extremely close as Democrat Brad Henry defeated Republican Steve Largent by less than 7,000 votes.


Libertarian Tom Cox received 57,760 votes or 4.6%. This race was also extremely close and Cox is blamed by many as helping to defeat Republican candidate Kevin Mannix.


Successful businessman and former Commissioner of the Department of Corrections and the Vermont Lottery Commission ran as an Independent, winning 9.7% of the vote. Republican Jim Douglas defeated Democrat Doug Racine by only 2.6%.


Running as the Libertarian candidate, Ed Thompson, a former mayor and brother of Tommy Thompson, captured 10.45% or 185,455 votes. Democrat Jim Doyle defeated sitting governor Scott McCallum by a narrow margin, and some have blamed Thompson for tilting the race against McCallum.

Interestingly, McCallum had served as Thompson’s brother’s Lt. Governor since 1986 and only became Governor in 2001 when President Bush appointed then-Governor Tommy Thompson to be Secretary of Health and Human Services.

2 Responses to “Recent Gubernatorial Success”

  1. Rich Says:


    In New Jersey Libertaran Murray Sabrin raised enough funds to qualify for the debates and matching funds in his campaign for Governor. He had a million dollar campaign and became a real thorn in the sides of the Republican and Democrat liberals in the state. He got 114000 votes for Governor.

    Jeff Pawlowski will raise enough funds to qualify for matching funds in his campaign for Governor of New Jersey. Due to a well organized campaign and a voting base that is sick of the corruption of the Depublicans he will earn many more votes than Murray.

  2. Austin Cassidy Says:

    What percentage did Sabrin get? Also, didn’t he switch to the GOP and run for Senate shortly after?

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