The University of Minnesota’s Lawrence Jacobs and Eric Ostermeier are out with a paper today (pdf here) that says Jesse Ventura is responsible for strengthening third parties in Minnesota and other states.
Even when not winning, they tipped several elections by drawing voters from one of the major parties. In the 2002 and 2006 gubernatorial campaigns, Independence Party candidates Tim Penny and Peter Hutchinson likely served as king makers by drawing enough votes from Democratic Party candidates to help Republican Tim Pawlenty win by pluralities of 44 percent and 47 percent.
The knock on the third parties, of course, is that they actually helped make the Republican Party stronger.
Ventura, who rode off into the political sunset, is now riding back into the limelight while on a publicity tour for his new book.