ST. PETER - The Independence Party of Minnesota plans to use its full resources in the race for the 19A House seat recently vacated by Rep. Terry Morrow.
Morrow, a Democrat from St. Peter, announced his intention to leave the Legislature on Dec. 19. He is taking a job as legislative director for the Uniform Law Commission in Chicago, Ill. A special election will be held to fill the vacancy. The election must occur within 40 days of Morrow's resignation on Jan. 7, 2013.
Mark Meyer, 1st Congressional District chair for the Independence Party of Minnesota, said that the party had two candidates prepared to make a run for the seat. Although he declined to name them, he said announcements should start up in the coming week.
The state Independence Party plans to put its full resources into winning the race due to its remoteness from any other races and its chances of being very competitive, Meyer said. The Independence Party already held some events in St. Peter this year and its geographic closeness to the strong support cores in the Twin Cities will easily allow volunteers to help in the campaign.
In November, the Independence Party focused on a few state level races. The party decided to put its full force into the 19A special election due to three reasons, according to Meyer. First, the district has a history of being very centrist and voting across both the DFL and Republican parties. He said the entire "fiscal cliff" debacle has left people completely fed up with both parties, giving the Independence Party the opportunity to provide an alternative for voters.
Second, Meyer said the two potential candidates are much more competitive than usual. He said they are being coached in how to bring out strong presentations of their candidacy, including in a few radio ads planned for the race.
Finally, he said the extremely short window for the special election will prevent any party from having much time to put its full force into the race, making it an even playing field. He said this situation gives the Independence Party an opportunity to run without having to battle the size and money reserve advantages of the major parties.
"We seriously think we can win this seat. We are going to put everything we can into this," said Meyer.
Meyer said the Independence Party runs on a platform of social inclusiveness and fiscal responsibility. He said the party will act to oppose discrimination like the marriage amendment, but it tends to turn away from any active advocacy on social issues, such as same sex marriage legislation. However, he said any potential candidate could make a social issue a campaign focus separate of the party's emphasis areas. He said one of the issues the party will be pushing for this year will be comprehensive tax reform to prevent continuing state deficits.