Minor Party Animal Beats All Others At Bringing Out the Vote

Dale F. Ogden, the Libertarian Party candidate for governor of California, did something neither of the major party candidates could: He got more votes than his party has members.

With 106,444 votes and 1.5 percent of the total, Ogden got narrowly edged out in the Petites competition by American Independent Party candidate Chelene Nightingale. But to get to even that total, Ogden had to bring out every single registered Libertarian (or an equal number of proxies), plus another 15,333 voters. (Registered Libertarians make up 0.53 percent of Golden State voters.)  Nightingale on the other hand drew only about a fourth of her party's registered voters (more evidence for the theory that most AIP voters are people who mistakenly thought they were registering as independents when they registered with the party).

The Republocrats conspicuously fail to bring out their own party members. Winner Jerry Brown got less than 51 percent of the registered-Democrat total. Loser Meg Whitman did better, bringing out 56 percent of registered Republicans. Unfortunately for Whitman, the number of registered Democrats in California is 7.6 million and growing, while the number of registered Republicans is 5.3 million and dropping like a stone. To get a sense of how suicidally hopeless the California Republican party is, for the GOP to take over the state it would effectively have to bring out 100 percent of its registered voters, plus win over all 3.5 million California voters who decline to state a party.

My erstwhile colleagues at the L.A. Times frequently lament the influence of John and Ken, rightwing radio talkers on local station KFI who have been described to me as "The most powerful people in California." So I was mildly hopeful that Ken and John's endorsement of the Libertarian might boost Ogden's performance.

It didn't. Ogden's performance was less than one-fifth-of-one-percent better than LP candidate Art Olivier's full-party-membership-plus-12,379-votes performance in the 2006 race, and his 11,600 total vote advantage over Olivier tracks, in percentage-growth terms, almost exactly with the growth of registered Libertarians from 2006 to 2010. At most, John and Ken brought 3,000 votes -- which is impressive by radio standards but a rounding error in a 7.3-million-ballot election. An endorsement is still the equivalent of peeing in a dark suit. You feel warm for a second and nobody else notices.

Ladies and gentlemen, give it up for Dale Ogden:

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  • ||

    while the number of registered Republicans is 5.3 million and dropping like a stone.

    Moving out of state will do that.

  • Goobs||

    I tune in to J&K from time to time. They weren't pushing Odgen at all.

    Anyways. Fuck this state (CA). They deserve the economy we get. The fact that Prop 23 went down by such wide numbers just shows how unserious these people are. They want shiny happy GW-free air, but don't want to pay anything for it. They don't understand that this stuff costs money.

    The only hope for this state is that they kept redistricting in the hands of the citizens' commission which SHOULD improve the gerrymandering problem.

  • ||

    This is nothing. "The Rent is Too Damn High" party regularly does this in New York because it has hardly any registered voters at all. That's because its members register for other parties to get a vote in the primaries.

  • Goobs||

    Oh, and by the way: Reason wonders why people don't buy into their ideas. Maybe because they love to shove their thumb in the eye of people who might nominally support them. The J&K show is probably the highest profile endorsement that a Lib candidate has gotten in California, and Cavanaugh goes out of the way to say thanks for nothing.

    Sometimes I wonder about Cavanaugh's motives in writing for this publication. Every single candidate/public figure that shares ANY views with him gets backhanded compliments and his articles are more snark than substance. He seems more interested in zingers and sarcasm than actually, you know, writing convincing arguments about the values of liberty. He would do much better on HuffPost.

  • x,y||

    He is an unapologetic Obama voter.

  • marlok||

    Have some sympathy, dude. The liberaltarian champion of campaign finance law lost his seat and the Timster's down.

  • Warty||

    That's a skinny straw to grab at.

  • ¢||

    An endorsement is still the equivalent of peeing in a dark suit. You feel warm for a second and nobody else notices.

    You sound dehydrated. Is Gatorade still legal there?

  • Fleeing Cali||

    What the fuck is the point of this article? California is good and fucked (worse than before if that's even possible.) The legislature can raise taxes at will, prop 19 died, and we have a retread 70's liberal as governor. And you're happy the (L) candidate got 1.5 freaking percent of the vote? If the Libertarian party could succeed anywhere you would think it would be in Cali, at least I thought that years ago. But it's such a joke that I don't even want to tell anyone which party I'm registered. Just go away LP, go away. The LP brand is so damaged that no one takes it seriously. We put up stupid candidates, lose regularly in any meaningful races, are completely shut out of the political discussion. Why exist? Just to feel better?

    Politics is about convincing the hearts and minds. Educating. Building coalitions. The LP fails. People don't even take it seriously. When I mention it, people say "oh the pot party".

    Sorry for the rant, but I am seeing a state that I love fall to pieces and my 'party' not doing anything to stop it.

  • Tman||

    Don't apologize. The truth is what it is.

    Americans are a lot more libertarian leaning than they are given credit for, but having a LP party that upholds some sort of litmus test on who gets to join the club based on their allegiance to radical libertarianism is about as counter-productive as humanly possible.

    The LP has no one to blame but themselves.

  • Fleeing Cali||

    I still have 9 months left on a lease and a hefty penalty if I break it. So I'm wondering how much of my money the state of CA will be able to take from me between now and then.

    We are truly a one party state. Every once in a while there would be a republican governor to gum up the CA legislature, but since Pete Wilson, not so much. The governator gave in after getting beat down a couple of times, but he's been looking at retirement the last term.

    Give me a tea party, republican party, ANYONE to stop the one party destruction that we have going on.

    The California State Legislature currently has a Democratic majority, with the Senate consisting of 24 Democrats, 14 Republicans, and 2 vacancies; and the Assembly having 50 Democrats, 27 Republicans, 1 Independent, and 2 vacancies. Except for the period from 1995 to 1996, the Assembly has been in Democratic hands since the 1970 election (even while the governor's office has gone back and forth between Republicans and Democrats). The Senate has been in Democratic hands continuously since 1970.

  • ||

    Don't move to Maryland. It's Cali East.

  • Tman||

    Come to Nashville! We have a balanced budget and (giggle) NO STATE INCOME TAX. Growing up in Taxachusetts and moving to Tennessee was like an epiphany -"YOU MEAN I GET TO KEEP ANOTHER 10% OF MY INCOME??? WOWW!!!!"

    Plus the Titans are 5-3 and the Preds are good for a laugh or two.

  • Fleeing Cali||

    That's one of the places on my short list. Texas, Tennessee, S.C, or Florida. My job allows me to work from home and as long as I'm near enough to an airport to jump on a plane when a customer wants me there, my boss is fine with that.

    I'm a bit sad though. I really love California. It's a beautiful state. If you're into nature, bird watching, etc. there are few better places. The climate can get hot (but not humid) and if you live near the coast in socal it's pretty damn near perfect.

    It's a shame the beautiful state is full of people.

  • Tman||

    I'll readily admit that California has probably some of the most beautiful landscape in the country if not the world, but I can always visit- I don't have to live there.

    I always find it funny that people who live near places that other people comet to visit on vacation hardly ever actually take advatange of their surroundings. I know people who live in San Diego and barely ever go to the beach.

    Nashville may not have a route 1, but we do have some beautiful country to enjoy. The amount of BS I give up by leaving Massachusetts easily made up for the advantages Boston had to offer.

    Never looked back.

  • zoltan||

    Come to Texas. We have a strong, involved and only slightly goofy Libertarian party. There's more nature here than we get credit for. It gets damned hot but if you work from home you don't have to leave your house as often. Come to Austin and dilute the number of awful Californians who are here.

  • Jason||

    So 2/3rds of all libertarians in California do not register with the party?

  • cynical||

    Shocking, innit?

  • Fleeing Cali||

    The smart thing for a L in CA to do (up to now) is register R or D. That way you still had a say in the primaries. In the future, the open primaries will change that.

  • Russ 2000||

    more evidence for the theory that most AIP voters are people who mistakenly thought they were registering as independents when they registered with the party

    I thought I was registering for Roger Corman.

  • Colin||

    Lots of libertarians don't bother registering as such, like me. In fact, I was one of his overvotes.

  • Mike Laursen||

    Excuse me if I don't get excited over his getting 1.5% of the vote, whoever voted for him.

  • ChrisO||

    California needs to crash hard. The rest of us probably aren't far behind.

  • ||

    nothing can save california, and its a fucking shame. i've lived here for 20 years and love everything but the people.

  • Mr Whipple||

    OK. Here it is. The little bit of good news for liberty minded people. If, you live in New Hampshire, that is.


    Forget all you losers in Cali, I'm headed for NH.

  • Adamson||

    Before you get too excited, please note that Dale Ogden's percentage of the vote was the LOWEST of all statewide CA Libertarians.

    If you really want to give it up for someone, pass over Dale Ogden's 1.5% and go for Pamela Brown, the Libertarian candidate for Lt.Governor, who received 426,000 votes, or 6% of the total.

    Heck, the crazy Christina Tobin, inexplicably running as a Libertarian for Secretary of State, got nearly 50,000 more votes in her race than Dale Ogden did in his... and Gail Lightfoot, who's run as a Libertarian in every election since statehood, got 17,000 more votes than Dale Ogden did in her race for US Senate.

  • juris imprudent||

    Dammit, beat me to the punch.

  • nfl jerseys||



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