Thanks to the efforts of committed Libertarian Party members like you, 2018 was a landmark year in many ways. We had 53 candidate wins at the ballot box, 38 of them prevailing in the general November election in Arizona, California, Florida, Indiana, Kentucky, Minnesota, Nebraska, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and Vermont. Jeff Hewitt, who was elected to the Board of Supervisors in Riverside County, Calif., will be representing more constituents than any other Libertarian elected official in the party’s history — more than the populations of 15 different states. Our candidates received several significant endorsements from major newspapers.
Even some of our losing races had outcomes so close that they demonstrate just how much we can achieve by focusing extra time and attention on key strategic campaigns for vulnerable local seats. We came within only a few dozen votes of unseating the state House speaker-elect in Wyoming, after an intensive on-the ground strategy that included visiting every constituent’s doorstep at least twice. We developed new tools and resources to help candidates get their campaigns up and running in record time, with ongoing access to personalized consulting and veteran campaigning strategies, insights, and tips. We’re building out this approach even more in 2019.
We achieved vote totals high enough to gain automatic ballot access for future elections in Indiana, Massachusetts, New York, Oklahoma, Wyoming, and Washington, D.C., which will allow candidates in those states to focus on building strong campaigns rather than the costly and time-intensive process of collecting signatures before they can even get started on campaigning. We now have ballot access for our 2020 presidential ticket in 33 states and Washington, D.C., which represents the best ballot access that any third party has achieved at this stage in the election cycle since 1914! This will substantially reduce the burden we’ve so often had in past years for achieving complete full ballot access throughout the United States. We had only 17 states with ballot access at this point after the 1992 midterm election — half as many as today.
We had significant legislative and judicial victories in 2018. Libertarian Nebraska Sen. Laura Ebke spearheaded statewide occupational licensing reform, which passed almost unanimously and eliminated many bureaucratic requirements that serve as barriers to employment. A federal district court judge ruled that South Dakota’s laws regulating third-party ballot access were unconstitutional, violating the First and Fourteenth Amendment rights of the Libertarian Party. New York Libertarians won a lawsuit challenging the state’s ban on out-of-state petitioners. Connecticut Libertarians won a $37,000 settlement from city officials who had prevented them from collecting ballot signatures outside the entrance of a public festival. Oklahoma changed its ballot-retention percentage requirement to apply to any statewide race, not just governor or president, which will make it much easier to remain on the ballot there.
The rest of the country is gradually catching up to ideas that the Libertarian Party has championed for decades, using ballot initiatives to legalize recreational marijuana in Michigan and medical marijuana in both Missouri and Utah, restoring voter rights for nonviolent felons, and defeating destructive regulations like rent and price controls. Libertarian Party advocacy is at the leading edge when it comes to protecting all kinds of individual freedom, and our tireless candidates bring these messages of fiscal responsibility and social tolerance to people across the United States throughout every election cycle, moving the needle forward on socially accepted policy outcomes.
These victories are all milestones that we should celebrate, but each and every one of them is also a stepping stone. Together, we’re forging ahead and navigating toward even greater accomplishments. Every step we take building party resources and infrastructure, all the hours of hard work put in by our dedicated volunteers, all the battles for ballot access and fair election procedures — together, they prepare the way for future success.
As we reflect back on all we’ve accomplished in 2018, we also look forward to the opportunities ahead of us in 2019.
Our top goals for 2019 are to put 200 Libertarians on ballots and win 70 races.
Please join us in making these goals a reality.
If you can give today, please do. We’ll put every dollar to effective use. Our 2019 money bomb is a great way to fund candidate recruitment and support, ballot access work, and targeted outreach. If your membership has lapsed, please renew. We need you back on the team. If you’ve never officially joined us, now is the time. If you have friends and family who are receptive to libertarian ideas, explain to them why they should join the Libertarian Party in order to bring those ideas to life.
Together, we can and will move mountains.
As always, thank you for your support and happy New Year!
Chair, Libertarian National Committee