Monday, December 5, 2016

Oklahoma Libertarians keep hard-won ballot access

Even in losing, Libertarians see victory on election night | Oklahoma | - Janelle Stecklein, Norman Transcript:

"November 11, 2016 - "Oklahoma Libertarians ... didn’t win a single race on the state’s ballot. But against all odds and expectations, Libertarians managed to bank enough votes that the party’s candidate[s] will automatically be recognized again in Oklahoma for the 2018 gubernatorial election.

"'I think they are probably the biggest winners [Tuesday] night in Oklahoma in many ways,' said John R. Wood, associate professor of political science at the University of Central Oklahoma.

"This state has long been a notoriously difficult and expensive one for third-parties trying to squeeze onto the ballot.... 'Oklahoma’s ballot access requirements are so onerous that we hadn’t attempted this since 2000,' said Nicholas Sarwark, the party’s national committee chairman, in an email....

"Sarwark said Libertarians spent more than $100,000 to get recognized in Oklahoma, which amounted to about 14 percent of the $750,000 the party spent across 17 states for ballot access. Still, he considers the Oklahoma foray a victory.... Johnson’s showing here — he picked up 5.7 percent of the vote — guarantees Libertarians ballot access in 2018....

"Nearly 3,600 Oklahomans identified as Libertarians ahead of this week’s election. Thousands more voted that way....  In what Wood termed 'an incredible outcome,' Johnson had 83,334....

"The amount spent to get Libertarians on the ballot 'left virtually nothing for campaigning,' said Robert T. Murphy, 68, a Norman resident who launched an unsuccessful bid for the U.S. Senate.... Murphy garnered 3 percent of the vote in his race.

"'Two years from now, I’m hoping that we can use that [money] and more to do some real advertising and affect the way people [really] think about politics,' he said.

"The party believes in free economic policies, more tolerant social policies and a non-interventionist foreign policy. Murphy said he’d like to see horse racing allowed in every county and laws that prohibit the seizure of homesteads for failure to pay taxes."

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