Third party surges in small counties

Janine Hansen is feeling pleased these days. The longtime Nevada political activist with the Eagle Forum and the Nevada Independent American Party says her party has become one of the two major parties in the small counties, winning offices and beating out the Democrats.

She argues that because the Democrats are reluctant to run in rural races where they are likely to lose, they are not the presence they once were, and in the 2010 election the IAP was far more dominant.

“There were no Democrats on the ballot in Elko County local races, except my Assembly race. We fielded numerous candidates. That was the same in many rural counties. If the Democrats cannot even field any candidates, and we garnered significantly more votes than them in the only race they participated in in Elko County, that makes us the defacto second party in Elko County.”

If the traditional indice—party registration—is used, then the Democrats are still dominant, even in Elko County where the Democratic Party outnumbers the IAPs six-to-one. But the IAP is showing office-seeking strength, particularly in three-way races. The party elected the public administrator in Nye County, the district attorney in Esmeralda, a county commissioner in White Pine, and the clerk treasurer in Eureka.

The IAP is the party formed in Nevada in 1968 as a vehicle for George Wallace’s presidential candidacy.