Independence Party brings few

The Independence Party caucus drew a small crowd.

The Independence Party of Minnesota drew the smallest crowd of the on-campus Super Tuesday caucus events.

Twelve people attended the caucus held in Blegen Hall on Tuesday night to choose state and local delegates and to participate in a presidential straw poll.

David De Grio, convener for that caucus location, said the presence of nontraditional candidates like Barack Obama and Ron Paul could have led to fewer people participating in Independence caucuses.

“Things have gotten so much more contentious,” he said.

Despite the fact that no candidates have committed to run under the Independence Party of America, a nonbinding presidential preference straw poll was conducted at the caucuses, which found six people supporting New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and three supporting former Georgia Sen. Samuel Nunn.

Three others chose to write in votes, with one vote each for former presidential candidate Ralph Nader, former Minnesota Gov. Jesse Ventura and an unnamed Republican candidate.

The caucus-goers also elected nine delegates to attend the May 3 state party convention.

One of the delegates, first-year mathematics student Tom Johnson said he chose to participate in the Independence Party caucus because he identified with the party’s message.

“They’re the real party of change,” he said.

He said being selected as a delegate forged a connection between him and the party.

De Grio, who was also elected as a state convention delegate, said he has been involved with Independence politics since he was 18.

Now 26 years old, he said he has no idea who he will support in the upcoming presidential election.

At the end of the caucus, De Grio proposed a resolution that recommended all presidential candidates participate in a public debate about science and technology.

The resolution, which will go to the Independence Party of Minnesota State Convention, passed unanimously at the caucus.

The Independence Party’s caucus continues online through March 4.

“We can have a big impact on state politics,” De Grio said.