Both Democrats and Republicans have a strong distaste for pesky third party candidates butting in on their ballot. The two parties love the two party system.
But right here, right now, in this time and place, Democrats should be ecstatic about the growth of the Libertarian Party.
In Congressional districts across the county, Libertarian Party candidates garnered more votes than the margin of victory between the Democrat and the Republican. Given that nearly all Libertarian voters would have voted Republican, their Libertarian ballots boosted the Democrat to victory.
Matt Welch at Reason.com has the list of races that went to Democrats because of the Libertarian candidates:
- Massachusetts’ 6th District where Democrat Rep. John Tierney beat Republican Richard Tisei 49.3% to 48.1% with Libertarian Daniel Fishman receiving 4.5% of the vote.
- Utah’s 4th District where Democrat Rep. Jim Matheson beat Republican Mia Love 48.3% to 47.3% with Libertarian Jim Vein garnering 4.5% of the vote.
- Arizona’s 1st District where Democrat Ann Kirkpatrick beat Republican Jonathan Paton 48.4% to 45.7%, with Libertarian Kim Allen receiving 5.9% of the vote.
- Arizona’s 9th District where Democrat Kyrsten Sinema beat Republican Vernon Parker 48.2% to 45.4%, with Libertarian Powell Gammill garnering 6.4%.
- New Hampshire’s 1st Congressional District, where Democrat Carol Shea-Porter beat incumbent Rep. Frank Guinta 49.7% to 46.0%, while Libertarian Brendan Kelly netted 4.3%.
- Montana’s race for U.S. Senate, where incumbent Sen. John Tester defeated the Ron Paul-endorsed Denny Rehberg 48.7% to 44.8%, while LP nominee Dan Cox received 6.5% of the vote.
In Pennsylvania, only one Libertarian candidate ran for Congress. Libertarian Mike Koffenberger, longtime friend of Keystone Politics, ran against Republican Scott Perry and Democrat Harry Perkinson in the 4th Congressional District. So did Independent candidate Wayne Wolff.
Koffenberger garnered 2.0% of the vote, not enough to have impacted the 15.3% margin by which Perry beat the Democratic candidate.
Statewide, the Libertarian candidate for Senate received 1.7%, Attorney General 2.3%, Auditor General 3.8%, and Treasurer 3.5%.
In statewide races, the Libertarian Party isn’t as easily going to throw elections in favor of Democrats.
The opportunity is in the Congressional races. If there is a hard-working Libertarian candidate running in each of the close Congressional Districts (the 6th, 8th, and 12th) Democrats will have a statistically better chance at victory.
Cynical? Yes. Manipulative? Definitely. Rove-like? Totally.
But it’s about time that our party took advantage of advantages.
If the Republicans want to gerrymander the entire Commonwealth into a series of Rorschach tests, we should be able to see a Libertarian in every ink blot.
Let’s help our Libertarian friends gain access to the ballot–let’s do it for America.