Libertarian(ish) Candidates

If you want to find a few liberty-loving politicos, look lower on the ballot

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Flake is a social conservative on abortion and gay marriage, but he voted to repeal Don’t Ask Don’t Tell and has worked to liberalize immigration laws. He is definitely not a nativist when it comes to national immigration policy. “I have no sympathy for those who are running drugs or doing human smuggling or criminal activity but that’s a very small part of those who are simply coming here to make their lives better,” he says. “I think we ought to make sure we have a legal framework for them to come and work and then return home.”

Flake is strong on taxes and spending, with a 91 percent rating from the National Taxpayers Union. Flake has voted with libertarians on some civil liberties issues, though he is uncomfortable with the libertarian label and does not consider himself one. He has been critical of the PATRIOT Act, particularly the warrantless surveillance aspects, and has offered a variety of amendments to weaken it by requiring the head of the FBI to personally approve requests for library or bookstore records, allowing for recipients of national security letters to consult an attorney and challenge them in court, and putting a stop to judges preventing people from knowing about impending government searches of their homes. Flake has also pushed to end the trade embargo with and ban on travel to Cuba.

The strikes against Flake are serious: his initial votes for the PATRIOT Act and the Iraq War. Still, Flake has the potential to pull the Republican caucus in the U.S. Senate in a more libertarian direction. But only after he faces the toughest challenge of his political career, former U.S. Surgeon General Richard Carmona.

Arizona may be a red state but it’s also a magnet for people looking to escape heavily regulated and taxed blue states such as California. Carmona, a retired vice admiral in the United States Public Health Service Commissioned Corps, excites Democrats because of his Hispanic background and his bipartisan appeal as an appointee of George W. Bush. Unlike Flake, Carmona did not face any primary challengers, allowing him to steadily raise money while focusing on the general election. Every poll has shown Flake with a lead, but an ugly Republican primary against Will Cardon, a wealthy businessman, has had an impact on his favorability and has some local Republicans worried.


Barry Hinckley

U.S. Senate, Rhode Island

People often point to Massachusetts as the most perfect exemplar of a one-party state, but that’s because they often overlook its tiny, densely populated neighbor to the south, Rhode Island. The nation’s smallest state is very much like Massachusetts, with its Puritan settlers, ethnic Catholic immigrants, love for baseball, and strong accents. And the mostly one-party rule of Rhode Island is similar, too, with moderate Republicans or former Republicans occupying the governor’s office for nearly two decades even while Democrats have held large majorities in the legislature. It’s not exactly a breeding ground for small-government types.

Republican U.S. Senate candidate Barry Hinckley is a Rhode Island businessman, so he’s familiar with the awful climate for business and innovation. (In its annual rankings for 2012, CNBC listed Rhode Island as the worst state for business in the country.) Hinckley got his start in the Ocean State working in his family’s shipbuilding business, but he eventually left the industry and moved to Massachusetts where he started his own software company in 1999. In June, Hinckley sold his stake in the firm, Bullhorn Software, for an undisclosed amount; in various news reports he has said he made out “very well.” Since 2010 Hinckley has co-hosted a libertarian Internet radio program called Revolution Radio.

Hinckley says he shares the values of the American Founders, whom he considers libertarian. While he lived in Massachusetts, he says, he was registered as a member of the Libertarian Party “for years,” walking away from the Republican Party when George W. Bush was in office. He credits the Bush years for leading him to explore the ideas of limited government. “The Republicans are too socially conservative and the Democrats are too fiscally liberal,” he says. When Ron Paul visited the state in 2012, Hinckley was the one who introduced him at the University of Rhode Island. “I consider Ron Paul the grandfather of political honesty,” he said. 

Hinckley says the war on drugs has been a total failure. “I think marijuana should be legalized. I am not a big fan of legalizing all hard drugs but at the same time these people shouldn’t be put in jail for life. If you’re going to willingly do harm to your body the government shouldn’t pay for it. That includes unhealthy foods and tobacco as well.”

Hinckley supports gay marriage, is pro-choice, and is a strong defender of the Second Amendment, but insists his main focus is on fiscal matters. He would, among other things, repeal the income tax. “I used to like the fair tax and I am not a supporter of the flat tax. We have to get rid of the entire tax code and start over. The income tax is incredibly regressive, it punishes labor,” he says.

Hinckley has a mountain to climb if he is to be successful in his challenge to incumbent Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse. Cook rates the race as “solid Democratic,” and Hinckley’s fundraising has been disappointing. Aside from the Republican Liberty Caucus, national groups that could dive in and spend heavily are not actively engaged in the race. Hinckley reportedly has the ability to self-fund his campaign but that would only go so far, since his roots in the state are nowhere near as deep as the incumbent’s.

Kurt Bills

U.S. Senate, Minnesota

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  • R C Dean||

    I do want Mia Love to win, solely for the lulz she will bring to the Congressional Black Caucus.

  • Sudden||

    You actually think they'll invite her to join?

  • ||

    I think it's the hemming and hawing and throat clearing and renaming that he looks forward to.

  • R C Dean||

    They turned down the white guy from a black district because he was white.

    As far as I know, they've never turned down black person. I just want to see them either (a) twist in the wind trying to justify keeping a bona fide black person out of the black caucus or (b) put up with her harassing their crony/welfare state asses at every meeting.

  • pmains||

    They invited Allen West and Tim Scott.

  • EDG reppin' LBC||

    Why? She's not "really" Black.

  • Raistlin Majere||

    I still think they should re-name it "the big, black caucus."

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    A pure libertarian would leave a seat vacant.

  • Paul.||

    Bows to this.

  • Whiterun Guard||

    Why? Isn't a -1 vote better than a 0?

  • Paul.||

    I took it as a good joke. The roadmap to the joke being: A real libertarian eschews power and tries to reduce the size of government. Therefore, Congress has one less person seeking power and ordering other people around. If the government holds a legislative session to pass new laws and nobody shows up...

    But on the serious side, of course a -1 vote is better than 0.

  • BigT||

    Does this make Obama a libertarian? - he's an empty chair.

  • Ryan60657||

    "make the big jump from Congress to the U.S. Senate"

    Is the Senate no longer part of the United States Congress?

  • T||

    They seceded in 1861, but were forcibly reintegrated in 1865.

  • LTC(ret) John||

    Would to God it wasn't...

  • Randian||

    Is the Senate no longer part of the United States Congress?


  • Paul.||

    Congress is often used as a euphemism for The House of Representatives. Because we call guys in The House "congressmen/persons" and people in the Senate "senators".

    Stephen Fry is watching.

  • Azathoth!!||

    We call people in the House 'Representative'. Congressman is inclusive of both the House and the Senate.

  • R C Dean||

    For the polling junkies:

    The Houston Chronicle Blog ‘Texas on the Potomac’ took a look at the polls after the election four years ago and found out which ones were the most accurate. Topping the list was Rasmussen (hated by the left) and Pew (discredited by the left this year.) Ranked very low was the IBD/TIPP polling firm, right behind it was NBC/WSJ. Even further down was Gallup.

    Taking all of that into consideration, the top two polls to consider then would be Rasmussen and GWU. Take out Gallup as an outlier on the Romney side and IBD/TIPP as an outlier favoring the president, and you come out with a Romney +2 margin at 49/47.

  • Paul.||

    Whatever happened to Zogby?

  • Brett L||

    He basically got out of political polling after '08. I'm still unclear as a former Zogby online poll participant if this was because he was bought out or what.

  • Paul.||

    Pew (discredited by the left this year.)

    What does this mean?

  • John||

    But Gallup had the last three Presidential races almost exactly right. They had Obama at 53% in 08, Bush ahead by 2 in 04, and Gore and Bush in a dead heat in 00.

  • JW||


    I'm making this my new party designation.

  • CE||

    What are "abortion rights"? How can you have a right to kill someone else?

  • Moe Effingood||

    What are "abortion rights"?

    Abortion rights = the right to kill you in self-defense if you try to physically restrain a woman and force her to do something she does not want to do.

    Your jurisdiction ends when someone else's body begins. Comprehende?

  • Robert||

    If that's what people decide is right, it's a right. How else can you possibly determine what's right other than by people thinking about it?

  • ||

    You're confusing the moral question "What is right?" With the question "What are my rights?"

    Abortion rights = the right to kill you in self-defense if you try to physically restrain a woman and force her to do something she does not want to do.

    This is utterly and completely incoherent.

  • Almanian's Evil Twin||

    Raise your hand if you'd bang the chick in the picture.

    *raises hand*

    And some WONDER why there are no libertardian wimmins...

  • ||

    Oh hell yes I came here to say that

  • Big 'Orra||

    Overall, the GOP has an edge when it comes to good looking women.

  • Auscifer||

    Justin Amash - Best Congressman ever?

    The explanation on each vote is the single best tool out there for following the daily activity in the House. I don't even live in his district.

    Plus, his tweeter feed is really amusing. A few months ago he tweeted a pic from his office window, with view of a chair that was thrown onto the roof of the adajecent building. So random, yet so funny. Worth following.

  • Almanian's Evil Twin||

    That pic would be worth it -

    *heads over to The Tweeting...*

  • Drake||

    My Congressman, Scott Garrett is definitely Libertarian(ish) and a member of the Liberty Caucus. He hates internet gambling for some reason, but is otherwise pretty good.

  • DarrenM||

    He hates internet gambling for some reason

    So what? The question is whether he supports legislation to do anything abou it. I wasn't aware being libertarian meant approving of anything anyone else does.

  • Azathoth!!||

    Interesting how every single libertarianish candidate is a Republican. Just like Ron paul--and Rand Paul. Why, so is Gary Johnson, the Libertarian Party candidate for President.

    Go figger.

    And yet we can't seem to kick liberaltarians and the liberals that hold their leashes to the curb.

  • Proprietist||

    Interesting that the LP has candidates running in most of these races that are even better. Go figure.

  • Bill Dalasio||

    Honestly, the same thing struck me.

  • Robert||

    I was glad to see Mr. Quinn didn't reach for some bogus balance by bending over backwards to include some Democratic nominee. I'd be very pleased if there were some, of course.

  • Lisa||

    "Interesting how every single libertarianish candidate is a Republican."

    But it's not surprising. Republicans tend to support the free market more and they also tend to support freedom of choice more. Democrats don't like school choice, food choice, private property. Even in areas of "social" freedom, like gay marriage....they end up finding some way to assert control - like with the ban on gay therapy in California.

    That's not to say that Republicans are consistent in supporting freedom, but Democrats are pretty consistently against freedom.

  • buddhastalin||

    Republicans tend to support the free market more

    except when they put forth a farm bill that includes crop insurance and price support programs that artificially distort the market

    and they also tend to support freedom of choice more

    except if you're a pregnant woman making a choice concerning her own body or if you choose an Islam-based school or if you're anyone choosing what substances to inhale

    Let's please put an end to this falsehood that Republicans are libertarian or even libertarianish.

  • Drake||

    Well - Many of us were raised on Republican small-government promises dating back to Reagan or even Goldwater.

    Unfortunately, those promises rarely resulted in actual small-government. That's how I ended up here.

  • Lisa||

    I challenge you to find an elected politician in history that has done everything a libertarian should do, according to everyone who calls themselves a libertarian. You can't. So I guess every elected politician is a freedom-hating statist. That puts the burden on you to prove why libertarians shouldn't be dismissed as crazy people with no clue how the real world works. Or you could admit that, in reality, things are only true in degrees.

  • Bill Dalasio||

    To expand my point, there is a reason for this. As much as they argue vehemently about the specifics of policy, conservatives and libertarians largely share the same underlying philosophy of government. The general principle that defines libertarian thought - that the government should exist solely to protect people's rights - wouldn't be wildly out of place in a conservative's creed. The modern, progressive left, on the other hand actively believes the government exists as a means of creating a utopian society.

  • Lisa||

    I agree with this. Although I think a lot of libertarians have a pretty utopian outlook. Maybe there's a split among libertarians between the tragic and utopian views.

  • ||

    A real libertarian eschews power and tries to reduce the size of government. Therefore, Congress has one less person seeking power and ordering other people around. If the government holds a legislative session to pass new laws and nobody shows up...

    A very libertarian elected official would show up, vote no on just about everything, and lambast the other officials in floor speeches pointing out the illiberality of the laws and spending they were trying to pass.

  • Drake||

    I'll know we are close when they start holding sessions to repeal laws.

  • AlgerHiss||

    Minnesota is one of the most schizophrenic, mentally deficient states. These ass holes have produced nothing but soft, gooey non-leftists such as Tim Pawlenty and Rudy Boschwitz. Hell, go ahead and throw in that ignorant wrestler as governor. (Good God, that wrestler was such a nothing-gasbag.)

    But in their hearts, Minnesota is pure Karl Marx. They won’t admit it, but they cream their jeans when they recall their favorite son, Gus Hall.

    When you hear Minnesota, think Gus Hall.

    Minnesota can go screw themselves.

    Oh, and by the way, Minnesota, twice, voted to NOT allow Black Americans the right to vote.

  • Moe Effingood||

    I live in Minnesota, you simplistic judgmental dipshi..

    It is a diverse state that produced both Keith Ellison and Michele Bachmann. And Gov. Ventura is pretty libertarian. He endorsed and campaigned for Gary Johnson here.

    Kurt Bills is not quite libertarian. He voted to send the gay marriage amendment to the voters. A libertarian stance would have been no. He voted to send the voter ID amendment to the voters. Not quite libertarian again.

    I want Klobuchar fired, but don't know what the hell Bills is going to do once in power at the federal level. The 3rd party alternative wants medicare for all. The LP has no US Senate candidate. I have no idea who to vote for.

  • Shmurphy||

    Man, fuck Ted Cruz. John Jay Myers is the real libertarian running for senate in Texas.

  • ||

    He opposes [extending] marriage equality privileges for to gays and lesbians

    FTFY. "Marriage equality" will be when nobody asks me which of my 24 spouses I want to file jointly with on my tax return, because they no longer dole out government benefits to people in monogamous relationships because they are so much more special than single people, and people in other types of relationships.

    Also, since "gay" refers generically to homosexuals, "gays and lesbians" is kind of redundant. If you're going to go PC, go for the gold: "gay and lesbian same-gender-attracted homosexual persons".

  • BMFPitt||

    Unless he is proposing a repeal of all the current spousal benefits, he's against equality.

  • ||

    Because inequality isn't really inequality as long as you extend the institution of inequality to include 1 more group than it presently does. Makes perfect sense.

  • BMFPitt||

    So you're too angry about this to understand when someone agrees with you, huh?

  • BMFPitt||

    libertarianish, Tea Party-approved Republicans

    I find that anyone who is Tea-Party approved is much more -ish than libertarian.

  • Shmurphy||

    This man speaks the truth.

  • GrizzlyAdam||

    "make history as the first African-American Republican woman.... Love was born in Brooklyn and raised in Connecticut by her Haitian parents...."

    She's not African-American. If we must hyphenate her heritage, it would be Haitian-American.

    I live in the Matheson/Love district, and it's a tight, feisty, race. Love says the right things, but then, that's easy. But I do think she actually believes most of what she says, and that's encouraging.

  • buddhastalin||

    Too many social conservatives on this list. Stop pretending that Republicans are "libertarianish".

  • ||

    True Scotsmen or not, they do beat the alternative in most cases.

  • jacob the barbarian||

    Nice purity test. Take the half-a-loaf before you starve to death.

  • galtgulch||

    If you are living in a state where your vote for either major party candidate will not be likely to make much difference you might prefer to make your vote count by voting for the Libertarian Party candidate Gary Johnson.

    He already is showing 4% in national polls and if he can garner 5% will assure that in 2016 the LP will be eligible to get 90M dollars in matching funds which would enable their candidate to enlighten the electorate with libertarian perspective on issues.

    That might be a turning point, if not the end, for the two party dominance in American politics

  • nike001||

    I did not care for him, is expected from this situation, I did not really say, fell from the capital. Even if there was a gun in the hand must not mean Doude Guo Zhang Yan. Thought this, I saw the boss Zhang nodded. Heroes do not eat immediate loss anyway, now she brings those things that I did not need Senate combined.

  • nike001||

    One hour we do not speak. I thought a lot. Finally, still feel like saying it's the fox is not possible, we Cheap Football Cleats can not find evidence that the gray-haired woman does not show fox, but no evidence, just to prove that the fox can transform himself into a cheap ugg boots for women white-haired woman. And to compare with each other, or scientific concepts prevail.

  • nikea||

    As a potential congressman, Massie supports the elimination of the Federal Reserve and wants to repeal the Dodd-Frank financial regulation package. He favors both lower taxes and balanced budgets, helping him earn the backing of the Club for Growth, FreedomWorks, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and the Republican Liberty Caucus.

  • nikea||

    Elections actually turn out to be difficult to buy, as the many candidates who outspent their opponents but lost anyway—Meg Whitman is a good recent example—can attest. But if anyone wants to try, better they do it with their own money than with money taken in taxes using the force of law.

  • شات عراقنا||

    very nice

  • cinsel chat||

    good thanks sohbet
    cinsel sohbet


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