Independent Party of Oregon
|Independent Party of Oregon|
|Founded||January 24, 2007|
|Ideology||Centrist, early progressive|
|Politics of Oregon
The Independent Party of Oregon (IPO) is a political party in the U.S. state of Oregon. The IPO is Oregon's third-largest political party and the largest minor party of the state, with 96,338 registrants since its inception in January 2007 making up 4.44% of Oregon's registered voters. At its current growth rate it is the fastest growing minor party in the state and has surpassed the Republican party in membership increases since its inception. The party experienced a 28.1% increase from January 2010 to January 2011, giving it larger gains than the Democrats (-1.9%) and Republican (0.6%) for 2010.
The Independent Party of Oregon has exceeded 4 percent of total registered voters in 13 of the state's 36 counties:
- Deschutes Country 5.10%
- Curry County 5.10%
- Jefferson County 4.78%
- Morrow County 4.73%
- Jackson County 4.54%
- Lake County 4.54%
- Lincoln County 4.44%
- Linn County 4.39%
- Baker County 4.38%
- Josephine County 4.33%
- Klamath County 4.28%
- Crook County 4.26%
- Gilliam County 4.19%
The Independent Party was formed by voter petition in 2006, after House Bill 2614, a law that made it more difficult for non-affiliated candidates to run for public office in Oregon, was enacted in 2005 by the Oregon State Legislature. The same Legislature disallowed non-affiliated candidates from being labeled as "independent" on ballots, freeing up the name for use by the Independent Party. IPO co-chair Dan Meek was one of two people to publicly testify in the Oregon legislature against both bills. Meek and Party Secretary Sal Peralta also lobbied in favor of repealing HB 2614, which was repealed at the end of the 2009 legislative session.
The IPO was certified by state elections officials on January 24, 2007. The IPO criticized former Oregon Secretary of State Bill Bradbury for refusing to print new voter registration cards that would include that party as a choice. A representative of Bradbury's stated that the decision was based on the cost of printing new registration cards, rather than any intent to harm a party.
The IPO ran eight of its own candidates and cross-nominated four major party candidates in the 2008 election, including Democrats Jeff Merkley and Ben Westlund, and Vicki Berger, a Republican. Merkley was nominated by the party after John Frohnmayer, former Chair of the National Endowment for the Arts, withdrew his Independent candidacy.
Joel Haugen, a Republican who won the Republican primary in the First Congressional District with more than 70% of the vote was cross-nominated by the Independent Party. The Party asked the Secretary of State to enforce existing Oregon law (ORS 254.135) and allow Haugen to appear on the ballot as a "Republican, Independent." The Secretary of State refused. After the Independent Party, joined by the Working Families Party, lost a circuit court decision that would have allowed Haugen to appear on the ballot as "Republican, Independent," Haugen decided to abandon the Republican nomination so that he could appear on the ballot as "Independent" only. The startling result was that there was no "Republican" candidate on the ballot for the 1st Congressional District of Oregon. The parties withdrew their appeal of the Secretary of State's decision, after the Oregon legislature passed SB 326, which repealed some earlier restrictions on non-affiliated candidates and allowed for "fusion lite" voting 
The party recognized Waldport mayor Herman Welch as the first Independent Party member to hold public office. Other Independents to hold local office are Robert Brundage of Sublimity, Soso Nedjeljko of Butte Falls, and Wayne Rofinot of Warren.
The IPO played a significant role in passing legislation to allow a form of Fusion voting, a reform that allows candidates to list multiple party nominations on the Oregon ballot, and helped repeal the 2006 statute that made it more difficult for non-affiliated candidates to run for public office.
The IPO became the first political party in the United States to conduct a binding statewide Primary Election entirely over the internet. 86 candidates participated in the election. Former Governor John Kitzhaber, a Democrat, won the party's nomination in a three-person race. 30 Republicans, 28 Democrats, 3 Independents, and a Libertarian were nominated by the party. The election was the largest nominating process ever held by an Oregon minor political party.
The Oregon legislature drew condemnation from 5 Oregon newspaper editorial boards and from two former Secretaries of State for considering legislation that would have forced the Independent Party of Oregon to change its name by the end of the year or be disbanded.
The Independent Party of Oregon is one of the largest minor political parties in the United States. From its inception in January 2007 through September 2011, the party added more than 90,000 members, making it the third largest political party in Oregon. As the first chart illustrates, its members account for approximately 40 percent of the net growth in the Oregon electorate from January, 2007 to December, 2010. It is also larger than all other Oregon minor political parties combined, as illustrated in the second chart.
Major Party Growth Comparison
Minor Party Growth Comparison
According to its bylaws, the Independent Party of Oregon holds a number of positions. The party wants to increase voter participation and involvement. It advocates reform in specific areas of government, wanting to reduce the advantage of incumbency and the influence of campaign contributions on politicians and policy decisions. Areas it singles out for countering special-interest influence are health, education, welfare, and economic security. The party hopes to achieve this through fiscally sound transparent decisions that create a taxation system that benefits all Oregonians.
As prescribed by Oregon statutes governing minor political parties, the party comprises all registered voters designating their party affiliation as Independent. In accordance with party bylaws, the party consists of members and supporting members. A five-person state council of officers, and at-large delegates elected by the party membership, is responsible for conducting the day-to-day affairs of the party. Candidates are nominated in caucuses, the members of which are supporting members of the party, elected by the party's full membership.
- Chair: Linda Williams
- Secretary: Sal Peralta
- Treasurer: Joan Horton
In July, 2010, the Independent Party of Oregon became the first Oregon political party to conduct a primary election at its own expense in more than 100 years; the first Oregon political party ever to conduct a binding primary election entirely over the internet; and the first Oregon minor political party to conduct a primary election. More than 2000 Independent Party members voted in the election, which involved 77 candidates, including 39 Democrats, 32 Republicans, a Libertarian and Green, making it the largest nominating process ever held by an Oregon minor political party.
Winners of the IPO Primary election included Governor John Kitzhaber and 30 people who served in the Oregon legislature in 2011. Independent Party member Jeff Caton, who ran in House District 48, won 43 percent of the vote. This was the closest a minor party candidate had come to winning federal or state office in Oregon since at least 1932.
IPO 2010 general election results
|Oregon Governor||John Kitzhaber||Cross-nominated Democratic||Defeated Chris Dudley|
|State Representative, HD1||Wayne Krieger*||Cross-nominated Republican||Defeated Eldon Rollins|
|State Representative, HD3||Wally Hicks||Cross-nominated Republican||Defeated Barbara Gonzales|
|State Representative, HD9||Arnie Roblan*||Cross-nominated Democratic||Defeated R. Scott Roberts|
|State Representative, HD10||Jean Cowan*||Cross-nominated Democratic||Defeated Becky Lemler|
|State Representative, HD11||Phil Barnhart*||Cross-nominated Democratic||Defeated Kelly Lovelace|
|State Representative, HD13||Nancy Nathanson*||Cross-nominated Democratic||Defeated Bill Young|
|State Representative, HD14||Kevin Prociw||Independent||Lost to Val Hoyle*|
|State Representative, HD15||Bud Laurent||Cross-nominated Democratic||Lost to Andy Olson*||Olson was endorsed by IPO steering committee|
|State Representative, HD16||Rose Cook||Cross-nominated Republican||Lost to Sara Gelser*|
|State Representative, HD20||Vicki Berger*||Cross-nominated Republican||Defeated Mike Powers|
|State Representative, HD21||Marvin Sannes||Cross-nominated Republican||Lost to Brian Clem*|
|State Representative, HD22||Betty Komp*||Cross-nominated Democratic||Defeated Kathy LeCompte|
|State Representative, HD23||Jim Thompson*||Cross-nominated Republican||Defeated Wesley West|
|State Representative, HD24||Susan Sokol-Blosser||Cross-nominated Democratic||Lost to Jim Weidner*|
|State Representative, HD26||Matt Wingard*||Cross-nominated Republican||Defeated Sandy Webb|
|State Representative, HD27||Tobias Read*||Cross-nominated Democratic||Defeated Dan Lucas|
|State Representative, HD29||Katie Riley||Cross-nominated Democratic||Lost to Katie Eyre Brewer|
|State Representative, HD30||Shawn Lindsay||Cross-nominated Republican||Defeated Doug Ainge|
|State Representative, HD31||Ed DeCoste||Cross-nominated Republican||Lost to Brad Witt*|
|State Representative, HD32||Deborah Boone*||Cross-nominated Democrat||Defeated Lew Barnes|
|State Representative, HD35||Gordon Fiddes||Cross-nominated Republican||Lost to Margaret Doherty*|
|State Representative, HD37||Will Rasmussen||Cross-nominated Democrat||Lost to Julie Parrish|
|State Representative, HD39||Bill Kennemer*||Cross-nominated Republican||Defeated Alice Norris|
|State Representative, HD40||Dave Hunt*||Cross-nominated Democrat||Defeated Deborah Gerritzen|
|State Representative, HD41||Carolyn Tomei*||Cross-nominated Democrat||Defeated Hugo Schulz|
|State Representative, HD46||Ben Cannon*||Cross-nominated Democrat||Defeated Russell Turner|
|State Representative, HD48||Jeff Caton||Independent||Lost to Mike Schaufler*|
|State Representative, HD50||Cheryl Myers||Cross-nominated Democratic||Lost to Patrick Sheehan|
|State Representative, HD52||Mark Johnson||Cross-nominated Republican||Defeated Suzanne Vanorman*|
|State Representative, HD54||Jason Conger||Cross-nominated Republican||Defeated Judy Stiegler*|
|State Representative, HD56||Bill Garrard*||Cross-nominated Republican||uncontested|
|State Representative, HD59||John Huffman*||Cross-nominated Republican||Defeated Will Boettner|
- denotes Incumbent
The Independent Party became the first Oregon minor political party in more than 80 years to cross-nominate major party candidates for public office. Its candidates generally fared better than other minor party candidates in terms of votes garnered. Joel Haugen received 19% of the vote in a five-candidate race for the U.S. House of Representatives in the first congressional district. State legislative candidates Terry Rilling, Pete Belcastro, and Keith Wangle garnered 40%, 44%, and 30% of the vote respectively in their races for the Oregon House of Representatives. Independent Party member Jim Torrey was defeated by incumbent mayor Kitty Piercy in Eugene's non-partisan mayoral election, 48.8% to 47.4%.
2008 IPO general election results
|U.S. Senate||Jeff Merkley||Cross-nominated Democratic||Defeated incumbent Gordon Smith||864,392|
|Oregon State Treasurer||Ben Westlund||Cross-nominated Democratic||Defeated Allen Alley||847,590|
|U.S. House of Representatives, CD1||Joel Haugen||Independent Republican||Lost to incumbent David Wu||58,279|
|State Representative, HD4||Keith Wangle||Independent||Lost to incumbent Dennis Richardson||8,053|
|State Representative, HD5||Pete Belcastro||Independent||Lost to incumbent Peter Buckley||11,653|
|State Representative, HD18||Jim Gilbert||Cross-nominated Democratic||Lost to incumbent Vic Gilliam||11,702|
|State Representative, HD20||Vicki Berger||Cross-nominated Republican||Defeated Richard Riggs||15,829|
|State Representative, HD29||Terry Rilling||Independent||Lost to incumbent Chuck Riley||7,321|
Other candidates: Stephen Bradley (Curry County Commissioner), Col. Dale Potter (Wallowa County Commissioner), Ken Wick (Wallowa County Commissioner). The party also endorsed Kate Brown for Secretary of State.
- "Independent Party Announces 2009 legislative agenda". Independent Party of Oregon. Retrieved 2009-03-03.
- "Elections -- Voter Registration". Oregon Secretary of State. Retrieved July 17, 2013.
- http://www.sos.state.or.us/elections/votreg/09mvr.htm Retrieved 5/15/2011
- "Independent Party Voter's Pamphlet Statement (see page 33)". Oregon Secretary of State. Retrieved February 26, 2009.
- "Our Party". Independent Party of Oregon. Retrieved 2009-02-28.
- Wong, Peter (July 17, 2009). "Bill eases path for outsider candidates: A 2005 law made it harder for non-party runners to qualify". The Statesman Journal.
- "Waldport Mayor becomes first Independent to hold public office". Independent Party of Oregon. Retrieved 2009-02-28.
- Jaquiss, Nigel (March 7, 2007). "Party On, Party Off". Willamette Week. Retrieved January 25, 2009.
- Linda Williams, Chief petitioner, Independent Party of Oregon. "Sins of Omission". Willamette Week. Retrieved January 25, 2009.
- "Independent Party goes to court to win ballot fight". The Oregonian. 2008-08-12.
- "Our Party". Salem Statesman Journal. Retrieved 2009-08-14.[dead link]
- "Minor Parties Major Roadblock". Willamette Week. Retrieved 2009-08-14.
- "E-voting not ready yet". Oregonian. Retrieved 2010-08-11.
- "Kitzhaber adds Independent Party nomination to his ballot line". Oregonian. 2010-07-30. Retrieved 2010-08-11.
- "Oregon Independent Party Releases Results of its Private Primary". Ballot Access News. Retrieved 2010-08-11.
- "Legislative process takes the low road in keeping secrets about bill sponsors". Klamath Falls Herald & News. 2011-04-20. Retrieved 2011-04-24.
- "An attack from nowhere". Eugene Register-Guard. 2011-04-19. Retrieved 2011-04-24.
- "The war of independents". Oregonian. 2011-04-15. Retrieved 2011-04-24.
- "What's next, word police?". Albany Democrat-Herald. 2011-04-13. Retrieved 2011-04-24.
- "The more the merrier". Medford Mail-Tribune. 2011-04-13. Retrieved 2011-04-24.
- "Former Secretaries of State Slam Attempt to Kill Independent Party". Willamette Week. 2011-04-13. Retrieved 2011-04-23.
- "Biggest Oregn minor party faces 'execution' bill". Associated Press. Retrieved 2011-04-24.
- "Oregon Capitol mystery: Who wants to kill the Independent Party?". Oregonian. 2011-04-17. Retrieved 2011-04-24.
- "No one testifies for bill banning Independent Party of Oregon". Albany Democrat-Herald. 2011-04-14. Retrieved 2011-04-24.
- http://www.sos.state.or.us/elections/votreg/09mvr.htm Retrieved 01/21/10
- "Bylaws of the Independent Party of Oregon". Independent Party of Oregon. Retrieved March 1, 2009.
- "An experimental primary". Eugene Register-Guard. 2010-07-11. Retrieved 2011-04-23.
- "Lots of legislative candidates want Independent Party nomination". The Oregonian. 20068-06-03. Retrieved 2011-04-23.
- "Oregon Independent Party Legislative Nominee in November 2010 Set 80-Year Record". Ballot Access News. 2011-01-21. Retrieved 2011-04-23.
- "Official Results – November 4, 2008 General Election". Oregon Secretary of State. Retrieved March 1, 2009.
- "Kate Brown picks up Independent Party endorsement". OregonLive.com. 2008-10-07. Retrieved 2009-03-10.
- Independent Party of Oregon (official website)