Special Feature: The Best of 2019

You did it: State and local affiliates showcase their best of the best from 2019
South Carolina seeks to ‘Get Out in Front’
Pennsylvania elects 40 LP candidates
Seven Libertarians win elections in races across New York
Arkansas wins ballot access victory
Ohio wins state supreme court case
New Hampshire self-funds FITN Libertarian primary
Arizona launches brand new newsletter
Knox Co. affiliate raises money, serves others
GOP joins LP in defending Second Amendment
Florida county commission candidate first to meet qualification requirements
Phelps helps grow party, inspires others
Kentucky sees positive advances, outreach
Maryland’s Woodworth a top-notch organizer
Affiliates sponsor billboard along busy interstate

You did it: State and local affiliates showcase their best of the best from 2019

Jess Mears
Membership Manager

1 year. 12 months. 365 days. 8,760 hours. 31,536,000 seconds.

For every moment you spent in 2019 learning about libertarianism or boots on the ground with activism, the Libertarian Party thanks you.

Without the time and financial resources you have invested in our cause to advance liberty, we could not have pulled off electing more than 90 Libertarians in 2019. With nearly 300 candidates running, the victory rate was more than 30%.

In this final Liberty Pledge News edition of 2019, we asked state and county affiliate leaders to share the “Best of 2019” with you, but first, I would like to share mine:

Jeffrey Maurer of Indiana contacted me in early October and asked if I would be interested in joining him for a week-long comprehensive fundraising training at the Leadership Institute in Arlington, Va. The thought of leaving the LPHQ office for a week gave me some apprehension because we have a high-volume workload to keep the party growing (all of the staffers that work for the LP are the hardest working people I’ve ever worked with). I’d heard phenomenal reviews about this training so I made the time and showed up on the first day to Leadership Institute’s classroom to sharpen my fundraising skills. My morning was instantly made when Duke Van Horn spotted me and said hello. Duke is an activist with the Libertarian Party of Indiana (LPIN) and I was unaware he was attending the training. In addition, Mohamad Abbasi of LPIN was in attendance and a new face to me. I was so inspired with these three gentlemen’s commitment to our movement that prompted them to register for a four day fundraising training workshop and travel a few states away. It warmed my sometimes cold libertarian soul (we all get a little discouraged sometimes, right?) and I left the training with some new tools and a reignited passion for our party.

I hope the remaining “Best of 2019” submissions will make the flame of liberty a bit brighter as we say goodbye to 2019 and ring in 2020.

Peace, love, and liberty to all.

Your Membership Manager,



South Carolina seeks to ‘Get Out in Front’

At the SC State Convention one of our reps said being together was more like “a family reunion.” That’s due, in part, to how active our party has been in the state this year.

We took liberty to the streets in vocal opposition to communities that would deny or degrade individual freedom (Drag Queen Story Hour). We stood up in advocacy with those who would protect rights and in partnership with those who promote freedom (Famously Hot SC Pride Festival). We stood up against corruption in local government (Lee County School Superintendent under fire).

New state party chair Sean Thornton said, “We’re seeing enthusiasm and activism at all levels of the party: counties, committees, individuals and candidates. We’re positioned for our best year yet in 2020.”

On an infrastructure level, the SCLP grew this year:

  • We are 18th in the nation for adding new members, earning 17 delegate positions for Austin in 2020.
  • Our Counties worked together to hold monthly events, included local activists, and built new relationships to strengthen the party.
  • Our monthly state committee meetings averaged 21 attendees with at least 11 voting members in attendance regularly, a year-over-year increase of 60%.
  • We organized 5 new county parties and saw a complete refresh of the State Committee engaging new, energetic, and motivated members in leadership roles.

Our state convention was well attended with 39 delegates. We hosted the first 2020 presidential debate for Libertarian candidates and enjoyed the participation of six candidates with two more making early appearances at the convention but unable to stay through the evening debate event.

Moderated by Matt Welch of Reason.com, the debate yielded a straw poll granting Kim Ruff a 50% victory over her five competitors with a 61.7% lead among registered Libertarians in attendance.

Ruff said, “We shouldn’t buy into lies — because that’s what we were fed — and we should stand up and have a fearless Libertarian as our standard-bearer,” echoing her earlier sentiment that the role of the Libertarian Presidential Candidate is to provide coherent leadership to down-ticket candidates, to support them and urge wins in those crucial local races.

In South Carolina, the theme in 2019 has been “Get Out in Front.” From the local events to share and spread liberty, to the statewide unity and teamwork to grow the party, SC Libertarians are ready to take the lead. Follow us. We know where we’re headed.

Pennsylvania elects 40 LP candidates

Steve Scheetz
Chair, LPPA

70% increase in membership. 369% increase in donations. We are all working together toward a common goal.

Oh, and we are up to 40 elected Libertarians (and still counting!). In case anyone is wondering, that is 40 elected Libertarians just from this past November 5th!


Seven Libertarians win elections in races across New York

Kari Bittner
Public Engagement Team Chairman, LPNY

In the first election cycle after obtaining ballot access, the Libertarian Party drives an historic 7 election wins by enrolled Libertarians. In one particularly close and momentous race, Michael Korchak, an enrolled Libertarian, learned on Tuesday, Nov. 19, that he had won his race for Broome County District Attorney after Broome County Board of Elections completed their final counts of the absentee and affidavit ballots.

In 2018, the Libertarian Party gained ballot access for the first time in its 47-year history in N.Y., when Gubernatorial candidate Larry Sharpe received nearly 100,000 votes. Since gaining ballot access, the Libertarian Party of New York has been organizing at the state and county levels, with 29 counties having formed interim county organizations, and growth in Libertarian Party enrollments of 36% just since Feb. 1, 2019.

“In our first year with official ballot access, we are pleased that nearly 60 enrolled Libertarians ran for office this year, and 7 enrolled Libertarians won their races,” said Jim Rosenbeck, chairman of the Libertarian Party of New York. “Our candidates won positions at the village, city, town and county levels. Michael Korchak, is New York’s first-ever elected Libertarian District Attorney, showing that voters are eager for a strong alternative to the status quo when they vote. The rapid growth of the Libertarian Party in New York was accelerated by the hard work of all the candidates and their supporters, as well as the growth in our county organizations. We expect continued momentum in 2020 as our winners take their offices and as we run our first-ever Libertarian Presidential Primary in N.Y.”

“It’s fantastic to see a growing number of New Yorkers realizing they have a principled choice on the ballot now in New York,” said Kari Bittner, public engagement team chairman for the Libertarian Party of New York. “Not only are they voting for Libertarian candidates, but voters from all parties are also changing their party on their voter registration forms to Libertarian. It’s heartening to see people from all parties uniting to grow a positive alternative that truly works for each person in an otherwise increasingly divisive political environment.”

The following are the enrolled Libertarians who won their races in 2019: Angela Einwachter – Prattsburgh Town Council (Steuben County); Nick Grasso – Elmira City Council, District 1 (Chemung County); Michael A. Korchak – District Attorney (Broome County); Brandon Lyon – Johnstown City Water Board (Fulton County); Vince Prior – Hardenburgh Town Council (Ulster County); Ryan Sanders – Sherman Village Trustee (Chautauqua County); Jame VanDewalker – Allen Town Clerk (Allegany County).
For more information about the Libertarian Party of New York, visit lpny.org.

Arkansas wins ballot access victory

Michael Pakko
Chair, LP of Arkansas

On July 3, a federal judge issued an injunction requiring the Arkansas Secretary of State to accept the Libertarian Party’s petition signatures as sufficient for ballot access. Earlier in the year, the state legislature had more than doubled the signature requirement for no good reason — evidently to keep Libertarians off the ballot.

The court’s pre-Independence Day ruling represented the culmination of a carefully calibrated campaign of fundraising, petition canvassing and legal action. Unless the state is successful in its ongoing appeal of the injunction (which seems unlikely), the LP will be on the ballot in Arkansas in 2020!

Ohio wins state supreme court case

Kryssi Wichers
Political Director, Franklin County LP

The best thing to happen to us this year is we won a ballot access state supreme court case! We set up a candidate to run as a Libertarian in a partisan primary knowing the Ohio GOP wanted to find a way to take our ballot access. Rob Bender filed to run for Reynoldsburg City Council as a Libertarian, and shortly after, he received notice of a challenge to his status on the ballot. We anticipated that challenge and had a great attorney lined up to help fight the challenge. The Franklin County board of elections ruled against Mr. Bender, effectively kicking him off the ballot. Our attorney then appealed all the way to the state supreme court where they ruled unanimously in Mr. Bender’s favor giving us a precedent in 2020 for our Libertarian candidates. This action saved potentially $300,000 because we don’t have to gather 200k-plus signatures for ballot access for the 2020 presidential election. I’m very proud of the people who worked on this and I’m even more proud that it worked!

N.H. self-funds FITN Libertarian primary

Brian Shields
Chair, LPNH

I would say the best of our 2019 is holding a self-funded primary outside of the state, and Vermin Supreme signing our filing form for president in Secretary of State Gardner’s office on the desk where presidents file to be in the FITN (first-in-the-nation) primary in front of every media outlet in politics.

Arizona launches brand new newsletter

Howard Jay Blitz
Chair, AZLP

The AZLP newsletter, entitled “48th and Liberty” (Arizona is the 48th state and stands for Liberty. We made it a cross street or a cross roads.), was designed to help increase communications with more than 32,000 registered libertarians in the state of Arizona. Unfortunately, we only have about 4,000 emails to which the newsletter is being sent. We are still trying to figure out how to increase that number. The first issue just came out in November. An issue will come out every other month. We are always looking for content of what is happening in Arizona.

Knox Co. affiliate raises money, serves others

Shane Lemler
Community Coordinator, LP of Knox County, Ind.

I am with the Libertarian Party of Knox County, Indiana. We are just a couple of years old and have been doing great since we first met to talk about liberty. This year I ran for Vincennes City Council District 3. I was the first Libertarian to run for office. I gained 7.5% of the votes for my district. It was a big year for our affiliate as a whole, but also for myself as a candidate.

During this time I organized our small National Park clean up during the government shutdown. I helped to put a team together for our annual citywide clean up. We got together and were able to clean up 23 bags of trash in just a few short hours, raising $230 for our local Salvation Army. We participated in the Hurdles for Hope which also raised about $100 for the Salvation Army. It was definitely a huge year for both myself as an individual and as part of the county affiliate. I look forward to the future and running for local government again.

GOP joins LP in defending Second Amendment

Davie Parrish
Chair, LP of Columbia Co., Fla. / LPF Director At-Large 2

This letter was drafted then read to the county commissioners at their meeting. A few days later I was able to get the local Republican chairman to sign with me:

We write to urge you to establish Columbia County as the next Second Amendment Sanctuary County in Florida.

As you know, the Second Amendment has been under fire for quite some time. Whether it’s the Federal Government intruding deeper and deeper into our private lives or the State of Florida’s Senate Bill 7023. This is NOT a partisan issue because we believe we ALL stand in solidarity to reject state and federal government eliminating our right to make responsible personal choices for ourselves and our families.

Please reject any attempts to ban or confiscate any firearm or magazine. Please reject Red Flag Laws, laws that have already led to the death of at least one lawful firearm owner. Indeed, all such efforts curtail personal property rights in Columbia County and should be strongly rejected regardless of the level of government.

Please keep in mind at all times, the purpose of the United States Constitution, which you swore an oath to uphold, was created to restrict government, not the rights of citizens.

With solidarity in Liberty,
Hunter Peeler, Chairman, Columbia Republican Party
Davie Parrish, Chairman, Columbia Libertarian Party

Florida county commission candidate first to meet qualification requirements

Shaun Kunz
Vice Chair, LP of Seminole County, Florida

Our candidate for Seminole County Commission, Andre Klass, was the first to file and now has been the first to qualify as a valid candidate. He did so one petition at a time.

He is up against a pretty milquetoast (my new favorite word regarding the two parties) Democrat who was a Republican up until the day before she filed as a standard big red, “build-that-wall” Republican. Andre will be addressing the Libertarian Party of Florida‘s convention this year.

Phelps helps grow party, inspires others

Erik Herbert
New York

Nick Phelps is a lifelong resident of our city. He lost his father at a young age to addiction and has never had anything handed to him. I first started mentoring Nick as his high school wrestling coach. Nick went on to be a state amateur MMA champion after graduation. He stopped attending college to take a full-time job to help provide for his family. Nick has three children and is a homeowner in our city.

Our city’s political landscape has been one-party Republican rule for the last 20 years. It is full of corruption and back-door deals. Nick decided to get involved and advocate for change. He used heavy door knocking and social media to get his message out. At 24 years old he preached new ideas and new party views (Libertarian) to get people to consider him. He has enrolled 30 new local Libertarians and has a goal to hit 100 soon. He may not have
won the election but he helped the libertarian party get on the map in Niagara County.

Kentucky sees positive advances, outreach

Ken C. Moellman, Jr.
4th District Chair, LPKY

LPKY saw advances in 2019. The Second District, led by chairman Randall Daniel, built out four new county parties and ran more county outreach booths than ever before. The Fourth District also ran more booths than ever before, led by vice chair Michelle Randall and the rest of the great D4 team. The state party ran more candidates for statewide executive branch positions than ever before, and topped our greatest non-presidential statewide tally with auditor candidate Kyle Hugenberg.

Maryland’s Woodworth a top-notch organizer


I’d like to nominate Krystal Woodworth from Maryland for your magazine. Krystal put together a platform for party members in Maryland to volunteer where previously there was not one. She also organized many events that brought members and prospects together to organize and network as well as efforts to reestablish ballot access that was recently lost in Maryland.

Affiliates sponsor billboard along busy interstate

Guy McLendon
Chair, Calcasieu Parish LP

The LP of Louisiana and LP of Calcasieu Parish are doing a joint venture, 50/50 cost split, to sponsor digital billboard time on I-10 for two months. Location is I-10 at Texas mile marker 875, five miles before one enters Louisiana heading east.