Libertarian Party candidates throughout the United States are walking the walk necessary to win elections this fall, at all levels of government.
Gov. Gary Johnson announced his campaign for U.S. Senate at an Aug. 16 press conference in Albuquerque, N.M.
In a recently announced high-profile race, former two-term New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson is running as a candidate for U.S. Senate from New Mexico. Johnson, who also served as the Libertarian Party’s presidential candidate in both 2012 and 2016, decided to make this run for Senate run after New Mexico Libertarian Land Commissioner Aubrey Dunn withdrew to focus on the duties of his current position.
Johnson is outpolling the Republican candidate in every survey conducted since his announcement. Johnson garnered nearly twice the Republican’s numbers in a poll conducted by Emerson College, and even outpolled the Republican candidate among Republican voters. Johnson has received the endorsement of U.S. Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky, and of U.S. Senate candidate from Maine Eric Brakey. Brakey is currently a state senator who previously served as the state director for the 2012 Ron Paul presidential campaign, in which Paul won a majority of the Maine delegation.
The Democratic incumbent in Johnson’s U.S. Senate race is running scared. New Mexico Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver, also a Democrat, has announced that straight-party voting will be reinstituted in New Mexico in time for the election. At least one Democrat, state Sen. Jacob Candelaria, said straight-party voting would give “partisan advantage in low-information elections,” allowing Republicans and Democrats to shut out their competition more easily, and most states have abandoned the practice altogether. Ironically, when the New Mexico legislature repealed straight-party voting in 2012, that legislation had been signed a few years earlier in 2001 by then–Gov. Gary Johnson. Toulouse Oliver’s unilateral straight-party voting decree is of questionable legality, and both the Libertarian and Republican parties are suing to overturn it. Ginger Grider is running against Toulouse Oliver as the Libertarian Party’s candidate for New Mexico secretary of state.
Jeff Hewitt, the Libertarian mayor of Calimesa, Calif., is running for the Riverside County Board of Supervisors. Riverside County is the eleventh most populous county in the United States, with 2.36 million people — larger than the populations of 16 states. Hewitt advanced in the June top-two primary election, in which three other candidates were eliminated. As mayor of Calimesa, Hewitt ended the city’s contract with the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection and instituted a more efficient and cost-effective municipal fire department, saving the city from ruinous pension obligations in the process. Riverside County is also facing problems with underfunded pensions, and Hewitt is in a uniquely experienced position to help solve that problem. The Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association rarely endorses local candidates, but Hewitt received an endorsement for his accomplishments eliminating waste and corruption. Hewitt is running a well-funded and professional campaign, and is confident in his ability to win.
Sen. Laura Ebke was elected as a Republican to Nebraska’s unicameral legislature in 2014, and two years later she switched her affiliation to the Libertarian Party. “I got frustrated with some of my colleagues who don’t recognize civil liberties and don’t seem to agree with getting government out of people’s business,” she told the Omaha World-Herald. As a Libertarian legislator, Ebke was able to pass a comprehensive tri-partisan reform of the state’s onerous occupational licensing laws and bring new opportunity to countless Nebraskans. In June’s top-two primary, she advanced to the November general election despite the concerted opposition of a vengeful Republican Party and governor.
Caleb Q. Dyer and Brandon Phinney were both elected as Republicans to the New Hampshire House of Representatives in 2016. They both switched their affiliation to the Libertarian Party the following year, and both are now standing for re-election.
Gideon Oakes, a two-term town board trustee for Keystone, S.D., is running for state Senate against a vulnerable Republican incumbent in a district that includes Mount Rushmore and the Southern Black Hills. While in office, Gideon consistently voted to cut wasteful spending and reduce government overreach. His opponent has held elected office for nearly two decades, but Gideon has secured the endorsements of several prominent former officials who have crossed party lines to put principle over politics, including his opponent’s eight-year seatmate in the state House. Gideon is bringing a message of economic freedom and individual liberty to a district where independent and unaffiliated voters outnumber Democrats, and where low media costs help campaign donations go a long way.
Aaron Aylward is running for state House District 6 in southeastern South Dakota. Most districts in the lower house of the legislature, including District 6, elect two members. This year’s election is a five-way race between Aylward, two Republican incumbents, and two Democratic challengers. The top two vote recipients will be elected. Aylward’s campaign has a “focus on local government and less on federal government,” along with “efficiency and transparency with tax dollars,” and “civil liberties for all individuals, no excuses.”
Amber Christiansen Beltran is running for Utah House District 22. She’s a social worker living in Magna who has worked with the homeless and mentally ill, and served as an employment retention specialist for a work-over-welfare program. She supports medical marijuana legalization and opposes legislative restrictions on the ability of doctors to prescribe or of patients to access cannabis. Beltran opposes tax increases and supports greater transparency in government spending. She is also campaigning for fewer regulations in businesses and occupational licensure.
Murray Sabrin is running for U.S. Senate from New Jersey. He has won the endorsement of former congressman and Libertarian Party presidential candidate Ron Paul in his bid against the ethically challenged Democratic incumbent Sen. Bob Menendez. Sabrin’s internal polling figures show him doing respectably, but independent pollsters so far refuse to include his name in their polls.
Libertarian National Committee Chair Nicholas Sarwark is leading by example as he runs a serious campaign for mayor of Phoenix, Ariz.
This is just the tip of the Libertarian iceberg. More than 800 Libertarians are on the ballot in 2018 for local, state, and federal office. Both Democrats and Republicans have descended into outright tribal warfare during this election year, and more and more people are identifying as libertarian or independent. Libertarian Party candidates are stepping up to be the adults in the room.