In 2020, there were 77 third party or independent candidates who received more votes than the margin of victory in their election. These included eight running for Congress, 23 running for a statewide state-level office, 43 running for a non-statewide state-level office, and three running for a local office within Ballotpedia’s coverage scope.
The eight Congressional candidates included two who ran for U.S. Senate. Kevin O’Connor of the Legal Marijuana Now Party received 5.77% of the vote in Minnesota’s election for U.S. Senate, which Tina Smith (D) won by a margin of 5.25 percentage points. In North Carolina, Shannon Bray (L) received 3.13% of the vote, while incumbent Thom Tillis (R) won re-election by a 1.75 percentage point margin.
The third party candidate in this group who won the largest share of the vote in 2020 was Maine state Rep. Norman Higgins (I). Higgins, who had represented Maine’s 120th state House district since 2014, won 30.9% of the vote in 2020 but lost his bid for re-election to Richard Evans (D).
Just over one-third of the 77 third party candidates who received more votes than the margin of victory in their race (26) were members of the Libertarian Party. The only other parties with five or more of such candidates were the Green Party with nine, the U.S. Taxpayer’s Party (the Michigan affiliate of the Constitution Party) with six, and the Legal Marijuana Now Party with five. There were 20 such candidates who ran as independents.
In 2018, Ballotpedia identified 99 third party candidates who received more votes than the margin of victor in their election. Those 99 included five candidates for Congress, 21 running for a statewide state-level office, 69 running for a non-statewide state-level office, and four running for a local office within Ballotpedia’s coverage scope.
Libertarians made up a greater proportion of such candidates (43) in 2018 than in 2020. That year, the only other party to run five or more such third party candidates was the Green Party, with five. There were also 30 candidates who ran as independents.