Republican Chances for Talking Out Melissa Bean in 2006 Improve

The Daily Herald reports (the link will disappear in a week) that the man who lost the 2004 Democratic Party primary to Melissa Bean is planning to challenge her as an independent or a third party candidate.

An independent candidacy by union-supporter Bill Schuerer (D-Lindenhurst) would draw independent votes away from Bean in the heavily Republican district and improve the chances of the whomever wins the hotly-contested and crowded Republican primary election.

Unions who opposed CAFTA have been outraged at Bean’s vote in favor of the “free trade” bill. The week after it passed, however, businesses supporting it held a special fundraiser for the few Democrats who supported the bill.

It is less clear what a third party candidacy would do. My guess is that it would draw many fewer votes away from the incumbent congressman, but it would still give her campaign supporters fits.

Petitions for independent candidacies have to be filed at the same time (Dec. 12-19) as those running in party primaries—in early December—eleven months before the 2006 general elections. A minimum of 13,950 petition signatures is required. No more than 22, 320 may be filed.

Third party candidates, however, don’t have to file until the summer of 2006—June 19-26, 2006). A minimum of 13,950 must be filed for third party candidacies. There is no maximum.

Republicans, on the other hand, need only 766 signatures, while Democrats need 868. The numbers are based on Republican and Democrat votes for Congress in 2004.

Until sometime in the 1990’s independent candidates could file the same time as third party candidates. My guess is that leaders of the major parties concluded that having the word “Independent” next to one’s name was too much of an advantage in an era when party identification was becoming weaker and changed the law to make it more difficult for independents to “rain on their parade” in the general elections.

The Daily Herald article says that Schuerer already has a check for $5,000 from the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers.

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