Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Libertarians see progress in midterm elections

Is the Libertarian Party Glass Half Full or Half Empty? - Hit & Run : - Matt Welch:

December 12, 2018 - "Last Friday, after a lengthy ballot count, Libertarian Jeff Hewitt was declared the winner of one of five officially nonpartisan seats on the Riverside County Board of Supervisors, giving him one of the largest constituent bases of any elected Libertarian in the party's 47-year history. On Saturday in this space, we posted a far less upbeat assessment of the L.P.'s current electoral situation....

"In a teleconference with party activists before the Hewitt announcement last week, Libertarian National Committee Chair Nicholas Sarwark laid out the numerical case for optimism.

"'We ran 833 candidates for public office in 2018 in the November elections. We ended up with 52 [now 53] elected Libertarians….That's an increase from the last general election year 2016, where we only elected 34 people," said Sarwark, who finished in fourth and last place in November's Phoenix mayoral race, receiving 10.5 percent of the vote. "In 2016, the Libertarian Party ran 593 candidates around the country….2017's our last odd-numbered year; we ran 135 candidates for both state and local races, but of those, we ended up electing 48'....

"In a press release Friday, the party exulted over Hewitt's win, calling it 'arguably the largest, most momentous win in Libertarian Party history.' The release went on to list the other winners from November, including four municipal officials who won partisan races in Indiana.

"Mark Rutherford, a longtime activist in the comparatively successful Indiana L.P., and former vice chair of the national party (2010-12), says there has a been a sea change in approach to nuts-and-bolts campaigning. 'I've never seen canvassing taken so serious by Libertarians since I first started paying serious attention to the LP in 1994,' Rutherford wrote in an email to me this week.... 'Right now, change is happening in the LP as I see it becoming a party that finds libertarians and gets them elected or appointed to office. I hope it continues'....

"'As far as how we came out of the 2018 election, ballot access-wise,' Sarwark said, 'we are on in 34 states for 2020 for a presidential candidate. That is the best situation we have ever been in after a non-presidential general election, and it's actually the best situation that any third party has been in in history.' The party maintains its expectation to be on the ballot in all 50 states plus the District of Columbia, 'which would be one of the first times, maybe the first time, that anyone's done that back to back as a non-Republican-or-Democratic party'....

"'The original Libertarian Party had only 70 members, but today exceeds 130,000,' the L.P. noted yesterday in a birthday press release. 'The membership of the Libertarian Party has increased by 92 percent during the past 10 years. The presidential ticket of Gov. Gary Johnson and Gov. William Weld in 2016 received a record number of votes for the Libertarian Party. Perhaps most importantly, the Libertarians are the only party on the political spectrum defending both economic responsibility and social acceptance.'"

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