Saturday, November 10, 2018

Third libertarian Republican elected to U.S. House

Libertarian Republicans excelled in the midterm elections - Jack Hunter, Washington Examiner:

November 7, 2018 - "On Tuesday night, Democrats took the House and Republicans kept the Senate. Expect to hear opinions and analysis of what this might mean for President Trump and the 2020 election in the weeks and months to come. But how did the small but enduring libertarian faction within the Republican Party do?...

"The most high-profile libertarian Republican in Congress, Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky, was not up for re-election. The next-most high-profile libertarian Republicans in Congress, Reps. Justin Amash of Michigan and Thomas Massie of Kentucky, both won re-election by double-digits.

"Amash, who represents a purple district, has been openly critical of Trump, and his independent streak appeared to pay off for him Tuesday. Massie represents a deep-red district, hasn’t hesitated to criticize the president, yet simultaneously has been more sympathetic. Massie predictably defeated his Democratic opponent in a blowout.

"Republican novice Denver Riggleman won his race for Virginia’s 5th Congressional District. 'Riggleman, a newcomer to politics, ran a positive campaign based on libertarian ideas,' reported National Review's Jibran Khan. But Khan also noted what the libertarian-leaning Riggleman was not: 'His victory, which came on the heels of Corey Stewart’s failed run for the Senate, should be a message for the Virginia GOP'....

"The soundly defeated Corey Stewart represented not only some of the worst aspects of today’s Right in his racist appeal, however intentional or unintentional those appeals were, but his competitive GOP primary opponent Virginia House member Nick Freitas was a libertarian Republican....  Even if he wouldn’t have beaten Democrat Tim Kaine, it is easy to see the libertarian Freitas having significantly more appeal to a larger swath of voters than Stewart. Hopefully this is a lesson Virginia Republicans remember.

"A similar message was sent in South Carolina’s 1st Congressional District, where Republican Katie Arrington was defeated by Democrat Joe Cunningham. Arrington defeated incumbent Rep. Mark Sanford in the Republican primary by touting her pro-Trump credentials.... [A] Democrat hadn’t won [there] in 40 years.... Arrington’s defeat shows that there are limits to merely hanging your hat on Trump, even in red South Carolina. It goes without saying that the libertarian Sanford would have had far more appeal.

"Another libertarian victory of sorts actually came from the Democratic side, where Colorado’s Jared Polis became the first openly gay governor. Polis is the sole Democratic member of the House Liberty Caucus founded by Justin Amash.... This is not to say that the new Democratic governor will always act along liberty lines, but the one Democrat arguably most sympathetic to libertarian ideas and issues got a big win Tuesday.

"The biggest losses for libertarian Republicans were the defeat of Rep. Dave Brat in Virginia’s 7th District, and Eric Brakey, with a failed Senate challenge to Maine’s incumbent Angus King, an independent who overwhelming votes with Democrats. Brat, also a member of the House Liberty Caucus, made waves when he defeated House Majority Leader Eric Cantor in 2014 — and his loss Tuesday was razor-thin. Brakey, a popular two-term Maine state senator, is only 30 years old, a thorough libertarian Republican in the mold of Rand Paul, and hopefully this won’t be the last we hear from him.

"Overall, Tuesday showed ... that libertarian Republicanism not only endures, but prevails, and could be the brand best positioned for future GOP victories."

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