In the ongoing race to the nationâÄôs capital for MinnesotaâÄôs as yet unnamed second senator, Dean Barkley has become the odd man out âÄî and heâÄôs perfectly OK with that. The Independence Party candidate that faced off against the feisty, never-say-die major party candidates said heâÄôs watched the Senate recount trial from a comfortable distance.
âÄúNeither of them wants to lose, and theyâÄôre going to do everything within their power to pull this election off,âÄù Barkley said of Democrat Al Franken and Republican Norm Coleman. As for the third-party influence over the election in terms of âÄútakingâÄù votes from other candidates, Barkley minimized his influence on the closeness of the election. âÄúIâÄôm not taking votes from anybody. I earned the votes,âÄù he said. Barkley garnered about 15 percent of the votes in the Senate race âÄî pretty good for a third-party candidate, he said, especially considering that he spent $150,000 on his campaign, a fraction of what the major contenders shelled out. The concept that he didnâÄôt âÄúearnâÄù the votes but instead pulled them away from Franken and Coleman plays into the idea that third-party candidates arenâÄôt serious contenders. âÄúThat thought just sucks you into the elitism of the two-party system, who think theyâÄôre the only game in town,âÄù Barkley said. âÄúMy mission when I threw my hat in the ring was to give voters an option between Democrats and Republicans.âÄù As for the ongoing trial, the former candidate says he pays attention but isnâÄôt absorbed in it. HeâÄôs working on building his law practice and isnâÄôt thinking about a future in politics âÄî at least not at the moment. âÄúEventually, one of them has to lose,âÄù Barkley said. âÄúI think whoever loses this round will be in the U.S. Supreme Court.âÄù Karlee Weinmann is a senior staff reporter.