Third-party candidates who received more votes than the margin of victory in 2021 elections

We covered more than 800 elections around the country on Nov. 2, 2021, and we found five third-party candidates who received more votes in their elections than the margin of victory between the winning candidate and the runner-up. Our analysis included local races within our coverage scope.

In single-seat elections, that’s the difference in votes between the first- and second-place finishers. In multi-seat elections, that’s the difference between the votes for the person who won with the fewest votes and for the person who lost with the most votes.

Here’s the partisan affiliation of the five third-party candidates with more votes than the margin of victory: 

  • 2 Conservative Party candidates
  • 1 Green Party candidate
  • 1 Libertarian Party candidate
  • 1 Public Service Party candidate

The tables below show the five third-party candidates, the winners and runners-up in each election, the margin of victory between them, and the number of votes the third-party candidate received. Two of the candidates were in the same race—for Erie County sheriff in New York. Two candidates ran in state legislative elections and three in local elections. In both state legislative elections, incumbents were defeated.

All were single-seat elections except New Jersey’s General Assembly District 11 race. Two candidates, both Republicans, won that election. Two Democrats and the Green Party candidate, Dominique Faison, lost.

The race for Virginia House of Delegates District 91 was the only state legislative election in 2021 decided by fewer than 100 votes.