Election 2014

Will a Libertarian Play Spoiler in the Illinois Governor's Race?

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Chad Grimm, obviously not blowing his campaign budget on photography.
Source: Chad Grimm for Governor

Remember back in August when armed goons hired by the Republican Party in Illinois were harassing people who were gathering signatures to get the Libertarian Party on the state's ballot? They failed and a gym manager named Chad Grimm from Peoria will be on the ballot representing the party in the race for governor.

The race is very close. Incumbent Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn hasn't exactly showered himself in glory with any sort of courage in attempting to address the state's fiscal disasters. There are only a couple of points between him and Republican challenger Bruce Rauner for the November election. Grimm, though, is bringing in between five and seven percent of the votes according to various polls. That's enough to influence the outcome of the election.

As is typical, conventional wisdom is that Grimm will draw votes from the right and harm Rauner's chances (hence the intimidation). But Quinn is a deeply unpopular governor, and it's a mistake to think Grimm would draw votes from only one side. A RealClearPolitics poll average had Rauner ahead until just recently. In order to improve turnout from the left, the Democratic legislature put three red meat "advisory" questions on the ballot—whether to increase the minimum wage, require health insurers to cover birth control, and increase income taxes on millionaires. None of these votes are binding in any way. Both sides are obviously very worried about the outcome, and votes for Grimm could come from either side or from people who would just otherwise not vote.

Fox News contributor and former pollster for President Bill Clinton Douglas E. Schoen takes note of the rising number of people unwilling to join the ranks of either party:

[Grimm's] role in the election is more about sending a message to Illinois's established politicians. And that leaves them with little choice but to vote for Grimm. Either that, or they bite the bullet and vote for the deeply unpopular Quinn, or Rauner, who's earned a reputation as a behind the scenes Republican donor.

For frustrated Americans, biting the bullet is less appetizing than ever before.

As the races in Kansas and South Dakota show, people are becoming less willing to vote for a candidate they perceive as the lesser of two evils and more willing to see a vote for an independent or third party candidate as a positive political statement, rather than a wasted vote. 

Put another way, voters across America are looking for ways to register their unhappiness with the state of our politics and the quality of our politicians. Voting for a candidate like Grimm is one way to do that.

Recently, Brian Doherty took a closer look at three other Libertarian Party candidates who were polling well. Read about them here.

NEXT: Nick Gillespie on Stossel Tonite, Talking Fair-Weather Federalism!

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  1. Goes to prove Chris Klein spoils everything he’s in.

  2. Grimm is going to cost TEAM RED the election just like Sarvis did in Virginia last year.

    1. Yeah, makes you wonder how many times we’re going to have to hit TEAM RED before they figure out that they need to convince us to vote for them.

      If I’m voting against The Other Guy, any of the third parties will do the job. A vote for anyone other than The Other Guy is just as much a vote against him, after all.

      So I have a lot of options for voting against The Other Guy. If that’s all TEAM RED has, they aren’t getting my vote.

    2. No, more likely Rauner’s going to cost TEAM RED the election, just like Cuccinelli cost the the election in VA last year.

    3. Sarvis didn’t cost the Republicans the election. He drew more votes from the Democrats than he did the Republican. Most of his votes were from Democrats appalled that the party nominated a crook. Also Sarvis was pretty far left an really not that libertarian.

      Libertarians always claim to be more than just Republicans who want to smoke pot. If that is true, and I think it is, they ought to start drawing from the Democrats just as much or more than they do from the Republicans. Not every Democratic voter is a fascist retard. Some of them might not be too happy that the party is being run by fascist retards. Just a thought.

      1. Not every Democratic voter is a fascist retard.

        Sorry, John, but as time passes, that’s becoming increasingly unclear to me. If you’re willing to side with fascist retards, well, it’s not that clear to me that you value non-fascism or non-retardation.

        While it’s true that libertarians are more than Republicans who want to smoke pot, I think that misses something. The Democratic party isn’t a liberal party anymore. It’s a progressive party. Libertarians have about as much a conversation with them as any sane person does with Alice Bowie or White Indian.

        1. But not every Democrat is Alice Bowie of Tony. IF they are, then both Republicans and Libertarians ought to be terrified and stop splitting their vote and do whatever is necessary to keep them out of power.

          1. But not every Democrat is Alice Bowie of Tony.

            True, but how many are saying, “Holy crap! I’m lining up with Alice Bowie, White Indian and Tony! Maye I better rethink where I stand on things!”

            IF they are, then both Republicans and Libertarians ought to be terrified and stop splitting their vote and do whatever is necessary to keep them out of power.

            Couldn’t agree more. Those damned Republicans better stop trying to act as spoilers for Libertarian candidates!

  3. I hope Ann Coulter has a stroke.

  4. Chad Grimm, obviously not blowing his campaign budget on photography.

    When you’re easy on the eyes, you don’t have to.

  5. I’m surprised to see how many Libertarians are polling in the 7% range. I would be shocked to see that percentage come election day, but what a great day it would be.

  6. Serous question. Why would anyone in their right mind want to be governor of Illinois? The state is about to go bankrupt and might be the most corrupt in the country. Who would want that job?

    1. The perks, John, the perks.

      1. Unless the office came with my nightly choice of the finalists for Miss Illinois, it still isn’t worth it.

    2. might be the most corrupt

      There’s your answer, right there.

    3. Plus the retirement package includes a mandatory 5-10 years in a federal prison, doesn’t it?

  7. Is Rauner any good?

    1. Does it matter?

    2. He’s a Chicago businessman

      Which means he has undoubtedly dabbled in corruption like the rest of the Chicago area big wigs and pols.

  8. Rauner’s a very rich dude who is either running for the prestige or in order to save Illinois. He has declared that he doesn’t have a social agenda and frankly Illinois republicans aren’t bad on those issues anyway. Gay marriage, medical MJ, abortion, etc. This is the first time ever I’ll feel the need to vote for a republican when a Libertarian is on the ballot.

    1. It is hard to imagine any incumbent in Illinois losing to a worse candidate. They really can only go up.

      1. Yeah Quinn is HORRIBLE so any chance to oust him must be pursued.

    2. “This is the first time ever I’ll feel the need to vote for a republican when a Libertarian is on the ballot.”

      Agree 100%. I hope that everyone who is considering voting L in Illinois considers the possibility of another 4 years of Team Culler-Madi-Quinn at the helm of this sinking ship.

  9. Why is Reason always bragging about Libertarians tipping elections for Democrats? God knows they talk enough about how many “liberaltarians” there are out there and how generally awesome they are. Shouldn’t Libertarians be tipping a few elections against the Democrats? It is not like the Democrats have been very good to their liberaltarian supporters we are always hearing about.

    According to the exit polls, the Libertarian in the VA governor race took more D votes than he did R. Why couldn’t the same thing be happening here?

    1. That is a good point. Tipping an election to the Ds has never been my rationale in voting for an L, and frankly I don’t really see why that would be in the libertarian interest or cause for excitement.

    2. John, I don’t think too many people take the liberaltarian charade very seriously, anymore.

      1. The act like they do. And as long as they do that, I am going to troll the shit out of them over it.

        1. No they don’t but you will anyway.

          1. Reason publishes about five “liberaltarian’ pieces a week.

            1. Stop lying.

  10. Good! The more elections libertarians “spoil”, the more seriously both parties are going to take libertarian concerns.

    1. No, the Ds will just be super happy about it.

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