Libertarian Party in Midterms: Not Surprisingly Great, Not Surprisingly Bad
So went the overall assessment of Wes Benedict in a quick interview tonight. Benedict is currently executive director of the L.P.'s National Committee, and in my experience tends to be calm and measured in his assessment of L.P. possibilities, rarely anticipating results much better than the Party actually gets.
Benedict says tonight they have not yet added up whole numbers to be sure whether they achieved the midterm record vote total that third party data maven Richard Winger predicted, or how they did in comparison with the last midterm election in general. He was pleased by the relatively impressive numbers for Sean Haugh for Senate in North Carolina and for Adrian Wyllie for governor in Florida—over 120,000 raw votes for Wyllie—and disappointed that Kathie Glass for governor in Texas didn't do better (her percentage actually dipped from her last run for governor).
Benedict and I shared surprise over the over-4-percent showing of a candidate on neither of our radar screens, Vermont's Dan Feliciano for governor. (Feliciano pushed the result to the state legislature, with neither major party candidate winning a majority.)
Benedict knows of a few states where some candidate did well enough to guarantee ballot access for the L.P. next time around, likely including Maryland and North Dakota, which is very important for a party that otherwise has to spend lots of money and time just to appear on the ballot.
He says he has not yet begun to get any hate mail accusing the L.P. of having "spoiled" Ed Gillespie's Virginia Senate seat for the GOP via Robert Sarvis, but expects he might start to by tomorrow morning.
Benedict looks to things like the great results for some marijuana legalization initiatives to be assured that at least parts of the libertarian message are resonating with more and more Americans.