In Onondaga County, they are the two largest alternative parties. The Independence Party has 13,135 — or 4 percent — of registered voters. And The Conservative Party has 5,556 registered voters — or 1 percent — of registered voters.
Here’s a closer look at both parties:
The Independence Party
Frank MacKay, chairman of The Independence Party did not respond to multiple calls and emails over the past two weeks. He could not be reached for comment.
The Independence Party is the largest alternative political party in New York state. Statewide, it has 406,683 active voters, according the New York State Board of Elections.
The Independence Party is homegrown, founded in 1991 in Rochester, N.Y., according to its website. It did not make it on the ballot until 1994 because it did not win 50,000 votes in previous elections. Since then, it has been in the political sphere as a nationally recognized party.
The Independence Party platform is based on a “grassroots democracy” in which its candidates try to gain popularity by stressing individuality, according to its website.
The Independence Party leaves social issues open for discussion. In the party’s view, issues like gay marriage or abortion should not be defined by political party but by individuals, according to its website.
Overall, The Independence Party “seeks be the great big tent for all voters — left, right and center — and the ideal candidate will represent all constituencies,” the national party’s website says.
- Ross Perot in the 1992 presidential race won by Democrat Bill Clinton
- Michael Bloomberg in the 1991 New York City mayoral race, when he was also a Democrat. In 2009, he was elected with the endorsement of both the Republican and the Republican, and Independence Parties
- Andrew Cuomo in the 2010 New York gubernatorial race, in which he was also running as a Democrat and won the governorship
For the New York 2012 races, The Independence Party has endorsed some candidates who are also running on the other parties’ lines. And it is running some candidates on its own ballot line.
In the 24th Congressional District, it endorsed U.S. Rep. Ann Marie Buerkle, R-Onondaga Hill. Other candidates include: Democrat Dan Maffeiof DeWitt, Republican Robert Paul Spencer of Parish and Green Partycandidate Ursula Rozum of Syracuse.
For U.S. Senator, The Independence Party candidate is Scott Noren of Ithaca. He faces Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y.; and two Republican candidates, George Maragos of Mineola, the Nassau County comptroller; and U.S. Rep. Bob Turner, D-Woodhaven.
The Conservative Party
Half a century.
That’s how long The Conservative Party has been around in New York.
Since its birth, said Chairman Michael Long, “One thing that hasn’t changed is our principles.” He calls the party the “leading voice” on several key issues: less spending for government, lower taxes and “standing up for traditional marriage.”
Here some of the other The Conservative Party platform ideas, according to its website:
- Opposes abortion
- Favors English as the primary language taught in schools
- Supports affordable housing for all New Yorkers
- Create a non-partisan redistricting commission
- Opposes illegal immigration
For right-leaning voters, Long said, his party is more conservative than theRepublican Party. “I believe that if the Republican Party acted in a more conservative way and possessed more of a conservative philosophy then we would no longer be in business,” said Long.
In this year’s senate races, The Conservative Party endorsed Republican candidate Wendy Long of New York City. In the race for the 24th Congressional District, The Conservative Party endorsed incumbent Republican Buerkle.
For its main priorities, The Conservative Party stresses promoting its conservative agenda over running candidates, Long said. But, in terms of endorsing candidates, The Conservative Party’s focus is winning, Long added.
“We provide the margin of victory,” Long said, “for many assemblyman, congressman and state senators.”
(Jake Reiner is a junior majoring in broadcast journalism with a minor in European history.)