Many libertarians ran for elective offices around the country in the November 5, 1974 general elections. They ran for offices ranging from Governor to Parks and Recreation Board on several political parties and as independents. Generally, libertarian candidates did not do as well as expected by some, but their campaigns generated a good deal of publicity for libertarian ideas. Once people realize that libertarianism is here to stay on the American political scene (1976?) they will be more willing to vote for libertarian candidates. In this election, many people were unwilling to vote for minor candidates for fear of wasting their votes, even if they agreed with the candidates.
This analysis of the elections includes all available results and estimates as of press time, November 16th. Some vote totals are incomplete, and may increase, but percentages should stay about the same. Not all candidates listed are libertarians. Included are Libertarian Party candidates, candidates running on other parties or as independents with libertarian support, plus other races of interest to libertarians. If the reader finds that the information is incomplete or that it omits a race of interest, it is because nothing was ever sent to us concerning that candidate or race. A follow-up report will be in the next issue with more complete results, so please send us any other election information which might be of interest to our readers. Most totals are from semi-official returns and are rounded off to the nearest hundred.
• Paul Beaird, Libertarian Party (LP) write-in candidate for Congress, received 200-300 votes (not all results are in).
• Doug Garrett was on the ballot as both Republican and LP for State Legislator from Anchorage. He received about 1,150 votes for 20% of the vote.
• Joseph Volger received about 5,000 votes, or 6%, for Governor on the Alaska Independence ticket. Volger is not a libertarian, but is part of the Alaska Secession Movement which includes libertarian support.
• Elizabeth Keathley, a libertarian running on the Peace and Freedom Party (PFP) ticket for Governor, received 75,000 votes for 1.2% of the vote. Keathley ran a full-time, consistently libertarian campaign, and got daily media coverage around the state in the last two months of the campaign. Her campaign was very successful in introducing libertarianism to liberals and leftists, and has helped to change the image of PFP in California. She also got support from conservatives—who were not satisfied with the American Independent candidate - including Frank Cortese, a John Birch Society coordinator; Mike Culbert, editor of the conservative Berkeley Daily Gazette (he published two very favorable editorials); and Anthony Hilder of the American Party and a National Educator reporter. Although her vote total was lower than expected, the Keathley campaign was a great success in terms of the tremendous amount of media coverage that was received. (Note: The campaign is over $1,000 in debt. Contributions may be sent to Elizabeth Keathley, P.O. Box 1202, Free Venice, CA 90291.) For more information about the new libertarian PFP, see "Frontlines," November 1974.
• Corey Cassanova, running for State Controller on the PFP ticket with the endorsement of the LP State Executive Committee, received 151,000 votes, or 2.6%; his total was enough to keep the PFP on the ballot for another four years. He ran on a platform of, among other things, refusing to sign all state checks, except for tax refunds, and urged people to engage in tax resistance. He appeared on a televised statewide debate with his Republican and American Independent opponents.
• Mike Timko, national LP charter member running on the PFP ticket for State Board of Equalization (Tax Board) in Los Angeles received 51,000 votes, for 4.2% of the vote.
• Eric Garris, LP member, running on the PFP ticket for State Senator from West Los Angeles received 4,300 votes for 2.3%.
• Jerry Rubin (not of the Chicago 8) running on the PFP ticket with libertarian support for Congress in West Los Angeles, received 5,600 votes, or 3.6%.
• Bill Stanley, LP member, running for Conejo Valley Recreation and Parks Board in Ventura County (nonpartisan) received 3,800 votes, or about 7%. He placed seventh out of eight candidates. Stanley is very active in his area and wrote the opposition argument to a school bond (in the name of LP) which passed by less than 1% in the same election.
• At last a victory! In Los Angeles, a proposition for a one-cent sales tax increase for a rapid transit system was defeated, 54% to 46%. The opposition ballot argument was written by Charles Barr (a REASON contributor) in the name of the Libertarian Alternative of Los Angeles (see "Frontlines," Dec. 1974 for the text of the argument). Mayor Tom Bradley wrote the argument supporting the tax increase. Barr campaigned heavily against the measure, being the chief spokesperson for the opposition, and was successful despite a massive advertising and media campaign by the Pro forces. He made 13 television appearances, 11 of them on local network outlets, and helped obtain publicity for other groups opposing the tax increase.
• Votes for John Hospers and other statewide LP write-in candidates will not be released until late November, and will appear in the next issue. With a few counties reporting, this writer estimates that Hospers will receive about 2,400 votes for Governor, and other LP candidates will receive 1,500 to 2,000 votes each. Hospers got 980 write-in votes for President in 1972 in California. Hospers made media and speaking appearances, and got the endorsements of writer Gary Allen (of the Birch Society) and science fiction writers Robert Heinlein and Poul Anderson. David Bergland, running for Attorney-General, also made many media and speaking appearances, and appeared on statewide television in a debate with the Democratic and Socialist candidates (frankly, we think he creamed them!). Bill White, candidate for U.S. Senator, was by far the most active LP candidate, campaigning full time for the last two months of the campaign, and spending a few thousand dollars. He also appeared on a statewide televised debate, with two socialist write-in candidates. Bill Susel, running for Lt. Governor, and Lloyd Taylor, running for State Treasurer, each made a few speaking and media appearances, and distributed campaign brochures in their spare time. Taylor was also the officially-endorsed write-in candidate of the PFP. Veronica Meidus, candidate for Secretary of State, had to stop campaigning two months before the election due to financial hardships.
• The Georgia LP ran one candidate for State Legislator from Glynn County on the Republican ticket. Kenneth Trobaugh was very active, campaigning full time for six months. He was reported to have done "very well," but we have no final vote totals yet.
• Steve Symms, a Republican Congressman, easily won re-election. This writer does not consider Symms to be a libertarian, but notes that he has gotten support from libertarians.
• Bob Smith, a former Symms aide, received 43% of the vote as a Republican for U.S. Senator against Frank Church. Smith is billed as a conservative-libertarian, but is considered to be much more libertarian than Symms.
• Jeremy Millett, LP member running for Congress as an independent, received 7,200 votes, or about 11%. There was no Republican running in the district, as the voter registration in the district is 97% Democratic!
• Hensen Moore, a Republican running for Congress with libertarian support in John Rarick's old district may have won the election. The vote totals were extremely close, and the election has not been officially decided.
• LP member Joe Werner ran as a Republican candidate for State Legislator from Sterling Heights and Troy and received 10,400 votes, or 39% of the vote. He ran a very active campaign and did much better than other Republicans in the area. He blames his defeat on the Republican label, but had no other choice because of stiff ballot requirements for minor parties.
• William Krebaum, LP State Chairperson, ran as a Republican in East Detroit for State Legislator and received 4,700 votes, or 23.7%
• Richard Kleinow running for Governor and Claudia Jensen running for Lt. Governor on the LP ticket received about 2,000 votes for 0.2% with eight candidates on the ballot. Although this total was rather low, the campaign was successful in that it brought in about 50 new LP members in Minnesota.
• Jim Houston, the Independent American Party (IAP) candidate for Governor, ran a very libertarian campaign and got a good deal of libertarian support. He received 26,000 votes (2,000 behind the Republican) for about 15.7% of the vote. Houston had advocated setting up a "Duo-Monetary System" backed by Gold and Silver as an alternative to Federal Reserve Notes for Nevada. He had also called for the Federal Government to give back the land it owns in Nevada (89% of the state). Houston is part owner of a large gold and silver exchange.
Opponents accused him of conflict of interest over the Duo-Monetary System—so, a week before the election he sent equal shares in his company (totaling half the stock) to all voters in Nevada, with the shares negotiable only if he was elected and the system was enacted. Less than a week before the election, he was running neck-and-neck with the Democratic incumbent in the polls. A few days before the election, the Las Vegas Sun and other newspapers ran a last-minute smear campaign against Houston, claiming that his company was bankrupt and that the IRS and the SEC were investigating him—this lost him a good deal of support. Two days after the election, he was cleared of all charges. Houston plans to put the Duo-Monetary System on the ballot through the initiative process.
• James "Libertarian" Burns, Nevada LP State Chairperson, ran in the Republican primary for Congress and received 2,500 votes, or about 6%. Since it is difficult to get a new party on the ballot, Burns changed his name legally, and the word "Libertarian" appeared on the ballot as his middle name.
• Art Ketchen, LP State Vice-Chairperson, running for State Legislator in Brookline and Hollis as a Democrat received 809 votes out of 1,723 people voting, or 46.9%. This was a three-way race for two seats (top two win). Ketchen carried the town of Brookline, with 55.3%. (Note: each voter voted for two candidates, so percentages indicate people who voted for Ketchen out of people voting, not out of total votes. The same applies for other State Legislative races below.)
• Carl Gage, a Republican running with LP endorsement in a nine-way race for five seats in the State Legislature from Exeter received 1,376 votes out of 3,090 voters for 44.5%. He placed sixth, losing a seat in the legislature by 32 votes.
• Bill Horan, LP member running as an independent in a ten-way race for four seats in the State Legislature from Manchester received 62 votes out of 2,076 voters for 2.9%.
• Jack O'Brien, LP-endorsed candidate running as an independent for Rockingham County Commissioner received 1,100 votes for 8.8%. This was a two-way race and the incumbent had both the Democratic and Republican endorsement.
• Robert Steiner, an LP member running as an independent for Congress, received about 1,000 votes, or 0.8% of the vote. He placed fifth out of five candidates.
• There was a candidate on the ballot for Congress (in a different district than Steiner) whose party ballot listing was "Politicians Are Crooks."
• The Free Libertarian Party (FLP) was unable to get that magic number of 50,000 votes for ballot status. Total votes are not in, but estimates for Jerry Tuccille for Governor range from 9,000 to 15,000. Other statewide LP candidates may get as much as 30,000 votes. The poor showing was blamed on several factors. One was that there are 4 major and 6 minor parties on the ballot, and minor parties are taken much less seriously than in other states. Another is that outside of New York City the FLP was forced to share the bottom line with the Courage (American) Party, while the socialist parties got their own lines above the FLP. Despite the poor showing, the FLP candidates got a good deal of media coverage, especially in national publications. Total votes for all FLP candidates will be listed in the next issue.
• Sandy Cohen, FLP candidate for Congress from Poughkeepsie, also did more poorly than expected. Although final totals are not in, he received about 2% of the vote. Even the local media had predicted that he would get 10-15%, yet it seems that people were not willing to vote for such a new party. Cohen ran a 22-month campaign, spent about $20,000, and got media coverage virtually daily in his race to unseat Republican Hamilton Fish, Jr. During the campaign, Fish was forced to change his stands on several issues, such as gold legalization, so as not to lose votes to Cohen. But Fish made a breakthrough when he got national publicity for his anti-Nixon stand in the House Judiciary Committee Impeachment hearings. The Cohen campaign certainly was successful, as no doubt everyone in Poughkeepsie has heard of libertarianism. Cohen has been asked to continue a weekly column that he has had during the campaign in a local chain of newspapers. Guy Riggs, running for State Assembly with Cohen, received about 1% of the vote. (Note: The Cohen campaign is $4,000 in debt; contributions can be sent to Citizens for Cohen, Box 1776, Poughkeepsie, NY 12601.)
• Joseph Gentilli, FLP-endorsed candidate for Congress in Brooklyn on the Republican and Conservative lines received about 19,700 votes for 21.3% of the vote.
• Stewart Feigel, FLP-endorsed candidate for State Senator from Brooklyn on the Republican and Conservative lines, received 15,100 votes for 18.2%.
• There were three candidates for State Assembly on both the FLP and Conservative lines. Virginia Walker, from Suffolk County, had won a contested primary for the Conservative Party nomination. She received about 3,300 votes for 6.3%, and ran as high as 17% in some areas. Mary Jo Wanzer, from Nassau County, received about 5% of the vote, beating the Liberal Party candidate. Alan Le Page, from Harlem, received about 3.6% of the vote. Generally, these candidates got a much smaller percentage of their votes on the FLP line than on the Conservative line. Le Page got the highest amount of votes on the FLP line, about 30%.
• Larry Penner, FLP endorsed candidate for New York City Council running as a Republican received 7,900 votes, or 22.4%. He beat both the Liberal and Conservative candidates.
• Kay Harroff, founding Chairperson of the Ohio LP, running for U.S. Senator, received 79,400 votes for about 2.7%. She ran an extremely active campaign as LP, although state election laws required her to be listed on the ballot as an independent. She beat another independent identified with the American Party by 16,000 votes. Although the polls showed her with over 7% of the vote before the election, many voters who had supported her felt that voting for an independent would be a wasted vote. Harroff campaigned full time and ended up spending about seven and one-half cents a vote. (Note: The campaign is in debt. Please send contributions to Harroff for Senate Committee, 204 Solon Road, Cleveland, OH 44146.)
• Mickey Edwards, a Republican running with libertarian support, barely lost in his bid for a Congressional seat in Oklahoma City. He received about 48,700 votes for 48.3%.
• Mary Helm, a conservative-libertarian running for State Senator as a Republican from Oklahoma City got elected with 12,000 votes, or 55% of the vote.
• The Oregon LP had only one candidate, Paul Pferdner, who withdrew before the election in his bid for State Legislator from Portland. The Oregon LP will be holding its State Convention on January 25th, at the Congress Hotel in Portland. Sandy Cohen will be a featured speaker. For information contact: OLP, P.O. Box 42381, Portland, OR 97242; phone: (503) 777-4044.
• Ron Paul, LP-endorsed candidate for Congress in Houston running as a Republican, received 18,800 votes for 29.4%.
• Karl Bray, running for Congress on the LP ticket received about 1,400 votes for about 1%. Although he had campaigned heavily and was getting about 8% in the polls, Bray was indicted by the IRS two weeks before the election for failure to file a tax return, which greatly hurt his campaign chances. Karl has announced that he will run for U.S. Senator in 1976, and that at least 20 other LP candidates will be running in Utah.
• Skip Barron, running for State Legislator on LP, received 17% of the vote in a two-way race.
• Richard Dyment, also running for State Legislator on LP, received 6% of the vote in a three-way race. These two totals are enough to put the LP on the ballot for the next election in Washington.
This article originally appeared in print under the headline "Frontlines: Election Summary".