David Nolan at Libertarian Party blog:
Perhaps more than any other contest this year, the battle for the seat currently held by John McCain offers an opportunity to contrast the ideas of liberty with the big-government philosophy that now dominates the GOP.
Arizona held its primary election on August 24, and the results are interesting, to say the least. On the Republican side, incumbent U.S. Senator John McCain overcame two challengers to win with 56% of the vote. At first glance, this may appear decent, but it was actually a pathetic showing.
McCain spent about $21 million to get 326,000 votes. That works out to about $64/vote. His main challenger, J.D. Hayworth, spent about one-sixth as much to get 32% of the vote. The third contender, Jim Deakin, spent less than $100,000 to get 12%.
McCain is his party’s most recent Presidential candidate, and has near-universal name recognition. He outspent his opponents by six to one. And yet he received less than 60% of the vote in a Republican primary!
On the Democratic side there were four contenders. The victor, Rodney Glassman, received only 34% of the votes cast, after outspending his three rivals combined. Most of his funding came from his family’s extensive fortune. He’s virtually unknown outside of Tucson, the state’s second-largest city, where he served for a time on the city council. Many Democrats dislike Glassman, and thus nearly 2/3 of those who voted in the primary scorned him.
If ever there was a situation where a strong Libertarian candidate can make serious inroads in an election with national visibility, this is it. And I am that candidate. As one of the founders of the Libertarian Party, I have a relatively high profile in the libertarian movement, and if I start polling more than 5%, the national media will pay attention!
A showing of 5%, 10% or even 15% is not outside the realm of possibility. Many Tea Party activists who supported Hayworth and Deakin have already told me they plan to support me in the general election; they really, really loathe John McCain! And with a weak Democratic opponent, many independents are up for grabs. This can be the Libertarian Party’s “breakthrough” race this year if things go well!