National LP Executive Director Wes Benedict and several Libertarian candidates and activists were interviewed for a Washington Examiner story about the influence of Libertarian Cliff Hyra’s campaign for governor in Virginia. From the Nov. 6 article:
Virginia’s campaign for governor ends Tuesday [Nov. 7] with polling suggesting a tight contest between Republican Gillespie and Democrat Northam, leaving Libertarians yet again a potentially influential factor.
It’s a clear possibility [that Libertarian Cliff Hyra] will take more votes than the race’s margin of victory.
The third party’s leaders say that doesn’t matter, and that Hyra’s individual-rights platform is worth supporting regardless of electoral consequences — not a new argument for Libertarians.
The party’s 2013 candidate for governor Robert Sarvis took 6.5 percent, more than double Democrat McAuliffe’s margin of victory over Republican Cuccinelli.
“People should vote for the best candidate on the ballot, and can sleep at night knowing they did all they could,” said Michael Bartley, a Libertarian candidate for Virginia’s House of Delegates. “The more people that vote for us, even if we lose, the more the winner will have to change their positions.”
Wes Benedict, a Virginia resident and executive director of the Libertarian National Committee, said he already voted for Hyra, and that others should not fear tipping the outcome.
“Libertarians want to legalize marijuana to prevent police abuse, empty prisons and cut taxes. We would dramatically cut most government spending,” he said. “If you support Libertarian principles, voting Republican or Democrat is a wasted vote.”
Hyra campaign director John Vaught LaBeaume said he expected “a pretty even split in second choices of Hyra voters, among those who would even vote at all,” making concern about a spoiler effect unfounded.
[Sarvis said,] “If more people voted outside the two major parties, maybe we could get, among other things, a system that enables us to vote our full preferences and that produces better candidates and better outcomes rather than having to be strategic in our voting and having to accept benighted major-party candidates.”