The Daily Progress: Libertarian Party sees surge of new voters in Nebraska

ImageFrom The Daily Progress on October 16:

“Voter disgust with the presidential election could give a boost to Nebraska’s Libertarian Party.

“Although it’s still dwarfed by the Republican and Democratic parties, the Libertarian Party has seen a 28 percent increase in voter registrations since the state’s May primary. The number of registered Libertarians is on pace to top 10,000 before the Nov. 8 election, and a state senator who recently joined the party is using her experience as a former GOP political activist to teach its members how to campaign.

“‘It has a different feel from the third-party campaigns of the past,’ said Sen. Laura Ebke of Crete, who switched her affiliation from Republican to Libertarian in May.”

“Party activists are focusing more on local government races and setting up new county chapters to recruit candidates. Libertarian Ben Backus, who ran unsuccessfully for secretary of state in 2014, is expected to win a seat on Gering’s City Council after his primary opponent withdrew from the race. The party is also fielding candidates for the Scotts Bluff and Washington county commissions.

“Activists said their strategy is twofold: In local government, they can influence policies that affect people directly, such as property and sales tax rates. It also helps them gain experience and name recognition that could help them run for higher state offices.

“In 2014, Keith Ottersberg won a seat on Wymore’s City Council by campaigning as a Libertarian in the officially nonpartisan race. Ottersberg is believed to be the first registered Libertarian to hold public office in Nebraska; party officials and a Nebraska secretary of state spokeswoman said they did not know of any others who had previously won an election.”

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