List of third party performances in United States elections

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In the United States, it is rare for third party and independent candidates to take large shares of the vote in elections, and even rarer for such candidates to actually win elections. This article covers any federal or gubernatorial U.S. election in which a candidate that was not a Republican, Democrat, Whig, or Federalist obtained at least 5.0% of the vote.

Since 1990, candidates in 32 (8%) of the 380 Senate elections have won at least five percent of the vote, and two (0.5%) have won, both in 2006. In six of the 32 races, one or the other of the major parties failed to nominate any candidate, allowing third-party candidates to perform better than usual.

In the 302 gubernatorial elections since 1990 ??? have won at least five percent of the vote 49 times (16%), while six candidates have won election (2%). The last third-party or independent governor to win was Alaska's Bill Walker in 2014. In the 38 presidential elections since 1856, the criterion has been met in eleven (29%) elections, with no third-party or independent candidate being elected president.

Statistics[edit]

Note: Prior to the passage of the 17th Amendment, most states did not hold direct elections to the Senate.

Legend:   1st 2nd 3rd
Elections with Notable Third Party Electoral Performances (1900–Present)[1]
Gubernatorial Elections Senatorial Elections Total Elections
State Threshold Reached Threshold Candidates Third Party Victory Threshold Reached Threshold Candidates Third Party Victory Threshold Reached Threshold Candidates Third Party Victory
Alabama 5 6 0 4 4 0 9 10 0
Alaska 9 10 2 5 5 1 14 15 3
Arizona 5 5 0 7 11 0 12 16 0
Arkansas 10 11 0 5 5 1 15 16 1
California 8 10 1 9 11 0 17 21 1
Colorado 4 6 0 4 5 0 8 11 0
Connecticut 7 9 1 4 4 1 11 13 2
Delaware 2 2 0 1 1 0 3 3 0
Florida 3 3 1 3 3 0 6 6 1
Georgia 4 4 0 2 2 0 6 6 0
Hawaii 3 3 0 2 2 0 5 5 0
Idaho 13 16 0 4 5 0 17 21 0
Illinois 4 5 0 2 2 0 6 7 0
Indiana 1 2 0 4 4 0 5 6 0
Iowa 1 1 0 1 1 0 2 2 0
Kansas 6 7 0 5 6 0 11 13 0
Kentucky 1 1 0 0 0 0 1 1 0
Louisiana 3 3 0 2 2 0 5 5 0
Maine 12 17 3 4 4 1 16 21 4
Maryland 1 1 0 3 3 0 4 4 0
Massachusetts 10 10 0 4 4 0 14 14 0
Michigan 2 2 0 0 0 0 2 2 0
Minnesota 21 25 5 18 21 5 39 46 10
Mississippi 2 2 0 4 4 0 6 6 0
Missouri 1 1 0 1 1 0 2 2 0
Nebraska 10 10 1 3 3 1 13 13 2
Nevada 6 7 2 7 8 0 13 15 2
New Hampshire 4 4 0 1 1 0 5 5 0
New Jersey 2 2 0 0 0 0 2 2 0
New Mexico 2 2 0 0 0 0 2 2 0
New York 11 12 0 8 8 1 19 20 1
North Carolina 1 1 0 0 0 0 1 1 0
North Dakota 7 8 1 9 11 1 16 19 2
Ohio 3 4 0 3 4 0 6 8 0
Oklahoma 7 7 0 3 3 0 10 10 0
Oregon 6 7 1 9 14 0 15 20 1
Pennsylvania 3 3 0 4 5 0 7 8 0
Rhode Island 7 9 0 1 1 0 8 10 0
South Carolina 0 0 0 2 2 1 2 2 1
South Dakota 7 9 0 5 7 0 12 16 0
Tennessee 7 8 0 4 4 0 11 12 0
Texas 9 12 0 1 1 0 10 13 0
Utah 6 7 0 3 3 0 9 10 0
Vermont 10 10 0 3 3 2 13 13 2
Virginia 4 4 0 14 18 2 18 22 2
Washington 7 8 0 5 6 0 12 14 0
West Virginia 3 3 0 0 0 0 3 3 0
Wisconsin 18 21 3 12 15 2 30 36 5
Wyoming 2 2 0 1 1 0 3 3 0
Total 280 322 21 196 228 19 476 550 40

Gubernatorial[edit]

Listed below are gubernatorial elections since 1900 in which an independent or third party candidate won greater than 5% of the vote. Elections in which a third party candidate won are marked with bold typeface.

Senatorial[edit]

Listed below are Senate elections since 1990 in which an independent or third party candidate won greater than 5% of the vote. Elections in which a third party candidate won are marked with bold typeface.

Congressional[edit]

This table includes elections to the United States House of Representatives in which the 5% threshold was reached.

Presidential[edit]

Others[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ The threshold is >5% of the vote.
  2. ^ While Caffery is listed as running on a Fusion Ticket, the nature of the electoral alliance is not yet determined.
  3. ^ A Fusion of the state Democratic and Peoples' Parties
  4. ^ a b c d e f g An Electoral Alliance between the state Democratic and Peoples' Parties
  5. ^ a b A Fusion of the state Democratic and Silver Parties
  6. ^ A short-lived party formed by Anti-Prohibition Republicans which desired to see Prohibition legislated at the local level rather than at the state level.
  7. ^ a b c d e The State Affiliate of the Socialist Party
  8. ^ State Affiliate of the Socialist Party
  9. ^ On Ballot as "Independent Progressive"
  10. ^ On Ballot as "Negro Independent"
  11. ^ Affiliated with the Farmer–Labor Party
  12. ^ State Affiliate of the Prohibition Party
  13. ^ An Electoral Alliance Between Lewis Pope and the Republican Party
  14. ^ On the Ballot as "Good Government, Good Elections"
  15. ^ a b Affiliated with the Libertarian Party
  16. ^ On Ballot as an Independent Democrat
  17. ^ Was on Ballot as "Reform"
  18. ^ Affiliated with the Workers World Party
  19. ^ Includes 1 special election in 2007
  20. ^ A special election and general election were held the same day. While write-in candidate Shelley Sekula-Gibbs came in 2nd place in the general election, she is not listed here because of her status as the de facto Republican nominee.
  21. ^ Includes 3 special elections in 2009
  22. ^ Includes 1 special election in 2011
  23. ^ Fitzpatrick, Alex (May 31, 2012). "Candidate Changes Legal Name to 'VoteForEddie.com". Mashable.com. Retrieved March 31, 2013. 
  24. ^ Marso, Andy (July 23, 2012). "House hopeful changes name to Thomas Jefferson". The Topeka Capital-Journal. Retrieved October 6, 2012.