Representative Bruce Vogel (
by Tony Petrangelo
Nov 14, 2012, 7:00 AM

It wasn’t me, it was the Independence Party’s fault!

This quote, from soon to be former Representative Bruce Vogel, is priceless:

Fourteen hundred and 57 votes. Not a lot, but more than what the margin of victory was.

If you’re wondering what the 1,457 number he’s talking about refers to, it’s the number of votes cast for Independence party candidate Zachary Liebl. And Vogel is right, it’s not much, only 7.5% of all the votes cast in Minnesota house district 17B. The margin between Vogel and the winner, DFLer Mary Sawatzky was 808 votes.

Also mentioned in the article as believing they were burned by the IP; soon to be former Rep. Rich Murray who lost to Shannon Savick by 653 votes and Scott Dutcher who lost to Jay MacNamar by 255 votes.

In all there were ten IP candidates who ran for the Minnesota House. Of the ten, these were the only three races in which the IP candidate received more votes than the margin between the Democrat and Republican. In one other race, 29B, the IP candidate came within less than 100 votes of the DFL-Republican margin.

Let’s do some quick math here and see what percentage of the IP vote these three Republicans would have to get in order to have won their respective elections.

District DFL GOP IP Total margin Win %
12A 10092 9837 1305 21234 255 60%
17B 9370 8562 1457 19389 808 78%
27A 9743 9090 1574 20407 653 71%

District 12A was the closest of the three, a 255 vote margin. And despite the race’s closeness, GOP candidate Scott Dutcher would have had to win 60% of the IP vote to have prevailed over Jay MacNamar. Call me skeptical.

As for Bruce Vogel, he would have had to win 78% of the IP vote to have prevailed over Mary Sawatzky.

So yes, the amount of votes that IP candidate Zachary Liebl got was greater than the margin of Vogel’s defeat. But that fact does not mean that Vogel would have won without said IP candidate on the ballot. Rather, the result would almost certainly have been the same.

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