Wednesday, November 08, 2006

A Mid-Term Libertarian Electoral Surge

The Libertarian Party easily had its best election season ever yesterday, with exit polls showing remarkably strong showings by our candidates -- especially in the Southwest. For example, in "red state" Texas, four of our candidates for state Senate received around 20% or more of the vote, with an additional three posting similar results for state House. This, despite the adage that a gay-friendly party like ours cannot post strong results in a supposedly anti-gay state like Texas!

In "blue state" Vermont, all three of our candidates for state House received 12% or more of the vote. This, despite the adage that Vermonters would never accept a small-government message.

In "red state" Wyoming, our candidate for state House of Representatives broke the 20% barrier -- getting close to 22% of the vote, and our Secretary of State candidate hit the 18% mark.

Similar results can be seen in South Carolina, Pennsylvania, Nevada, Louisiana, Kansas, Idaho, and Arizona -- states as diverse as the US population itself.

So what about federal races? It turns out that the media, as usual, got the story wrong. Races where Libertarian candidates received lots of media coverage saw good returns versus traditional Libertarian balloting in those districts, but our best performances were in areas with grassroots campaigning instead of big media endorsements.

In Texas, Gordon Strickland of Texas grabbed 21.3% of the vote for a seat in the House, Bob Smither won 18.8% of the vote to finish Tom DeLay's term, and Michael Idrogo grabbed 12.6% of the vote. In Texas!

In Arizona, Jason received 26% of the vote for House. In California, Camden McConnell received almost 17%. And the electoral list is peppered with similar performances for House and Senate seats in Indiana and Kentucky too.

Some Libertarian party detractors will claim that this election wasn't good for the party because we didn't win the two high-profile federal races in Texas. They're wrong.

This election shows a broad increase in support for Libertarian candidates across the board. Libertarians receiving double-digit support for national seats in multiple states in a single election year is unheard-of. Libertarians have switched in performance from a party which typically denies Republicans or Democrats a victory by "spoiling" 5% of the vote to a party capable of attracting 15% or more of the vote in key elections across the country on a state and federal level.

This is an *excellent* electoral performance and will position the LP quite well for the 2008 general elections, when the shine has worn off Democrats' promises to undo the predations of the Bush administration. It will also guarantee continued (or new) major-party status in several states.

Thanks and congratulations to the candidates, their volunteers and supporters, LP national and state organizations, and to all of you who voted on Tuesday. Your voice is being heard, loud and clear.

{Edit: Mea culpa on the Texas results -- I undercounted the number of successful candidates due to my bleary-eyed election-night blogging. Mike Nelson indicates, in the comment section, that Libertarians did even better in Texas than I indicated. Even better news for the future of our country!]