From the Smart Politics blog on November 20:
The nation’s third largest political party notched by far its most successful election cycle in races to the nation’s upper legislative chamber.
“While Alaska’s Joe Miller came up short for a third time in his bid for a seat in the U.S. Senate in 2016, he nonetheless turned in a history-making performance.
“As a Republican, Miller had previously lost by four points in the general election to Senator Lisa Murkowski during her 2010 write-in campaign and then fell 7.9 points short seeking the GOP nomination won by Daniel Sullivan in 2014.
“The Tea Party favorite was an 11th hour recruit by the Libertarian Party in September 2016 and his brief, two-month campaign won him an impressive 29.4 percent of the vote in the general election – 14.9 points behind Senator Murkowski.
“Miller not only far exceeded his polling numbers (which usually had him in the mid- to high teens), but he demolished his party’s mark for its all-time best showing in a race for the office.
“Going into the 2016 cycle, the most support ever received by a Libertarian U.S. Senate nominee was the 18.4 percent claimed by Michael Cloud in Massachusetts 2002 election won by John Kerry. However, Kerry and Cloud did not face a Republican opponent in that race.”
“Miller, however, faced a full slate of candidates. In addition to Murkowski, Miller was opposed by a Democratic nominee (Ray Metcalf, 11.1 percent) as well as an independent candidate who had the support of some prominent Alaska Democrats (Margaret Stock, 13.7 percent). Two other independents were also on the ballot (Breck Craig and Ted Gianoutsos).
“The previous high water mark for a Libertarian U.S. Senate candidate in an election in which both major parties fielded a nominee was set by Carla Howell of Massachusetts in 2000.”