As a known third-party supporter, after an election I’m sometimes asked by friends and coworkers if any of my “weird people” won. This year, like every year before, I can answer that all of my “weird people” were soundly handed their asses yet again. If you just want to be on the team with the highest score you can’t vote third party.
One major disappointment came in the governor’s race however. Regular readers will recall that Libertarian candidate Eric Cooper sought to win 2% of the vote, thereby securing “major party” status for the Libertarian Party under Iowa law. If ever we could achieve this status, I thought 2010 would be the year.
In Cooper we had a passionate and articulate candidate who was willing to do the necessary leg work. He garnered the most media coverage of any Iowa L.P. candidate that I’d ever seen. There was a palpable anti-establishment buzz in the air this election season. All the political tumblers seemed to be aligning for the L.P. to capture major party status. When the dust settled, however, Cooper had only received 1.28% of the vote. (14,293 total votes.) This is a respectable showing, but it didn’t quite hit the state’s arbitrary 2% requirement. The L.P.’s next shot for Iowa major party status will come in the 2012 presidential election.
Libertarian candidates in other races across the ballot had some decent showings also. John Heiderscheit got 25,168 votes (2.27%) in the U.S. Senate race. For the U.S. House, Rob Petsche got 4,072 votes (1.93%) in District 1 and Gary Sicard got 4,327 votes (1.91%) in District 2. One of the star performers of the night was Jake Porter who was running for Secretary of State. Porter got 33,683 votes or 3.13%. There were only 31,000 votes separating the two major party candidates, so Porter’s votes were enough to make or break the election. That is the main goal of a third party candidate: make the big boys sweat, so they’ll steal your issues to get those voters back the next time.
In statehouse elections, Libertarian candidate Dr. Christopher Peters got an impressive 25.22% of the vote (6,071 votes) for State Senate District 15. This district covers Iowa City and Republicans didn’t bother running a candidate against Democrat Robert E. Dvorsky. Peters happily jumped at the losing cause and used his candidacy to promote limited-government ideals in an area of the state not known for those ideals. He was rewarded with the new record for highest vote percentage for an Iowa Libertarian candidate (beating Eric Cooper’s 21% record for statehouse). Also in Iowa City (and again with no Republican running), medical student Dustin Krutsinger got 20.44% of the vote (2,550 votes) for State Representative District 30. In State Representative District 46, Tyler Pauly got 347 votes or 2.45%.
Even with some good results, I’m still bummed we didn’t get major party status. And I’m bummed the Constitutional Convention vote failed. And I’m bummed that that bumbling Bolshevik bum Bruce Braley is still my U.S. representative. (Since “Big Borrowin’ Braley” is returning to DC, I’ve been trying to prepare my 16-month-old for his future by pointing to China on the map and trying to teach him to say “master.”)
C’mon, I couldn’t end this thing without taking a swipe at my old buddy Clunkers (and practicing my alliteration). That always makes me feel better.