From: Patrick Dixon, chair of the Libertarian Party of Texas
AUSTIN, TEXAS – September 13, 2010 — It has been recently reported that some Libertarian candidates have withdrawn from the November elections. It has also been suggested that threats and intimidation from incumbent politicians, and Republicans in particular, are the cause of these withdrawals. Myself and our state party staff cannot know what every one of over 160 applicants for office experience. We know in some cases that candidates withdraw for personal reasons. We aso know that incumbent politicians and their supporters do contact our candidates.
For an example, David Smith is the Libertarian candidate for US Congress district 2 against Republican Ted Poe. He relates this story:
“Last month at Kingwood College, Ted Poe was speaking. I stepped in line to sign my name. A campus security guard puts his hand on my shoulder and asked me to step outside. I am used to this because there hasn’t been a Town Hall I haven’t been thrown out of. They asked me if I am David Smith and I told them yes. They asked me to leave. They even followed me out to my car and on the way, they asked why I am running against a Republican. I said because It is my job as an American to kick out those who can’t do their jobs! They followed me off campus.”
Another example is Libertarian Ed Mishou running for US Congress 27 against incumbent Democrat Soloman Ortiz and Republican Blake Farenthold. Mishou has been the recipient of messages like this from Farenthold supporters:
“YOU Sir on the other hand, in the political realm are KNOWN as a spliter and I will ask you to your face anytime how much money is Solomon Ortiz Sr paying you to stay in this race and keep taking votes away from Blake Farenthold ? IF YOU HAD ANY DECENCY AOBUT YOU OR ANY HONOR YOU WOULD GET OUT OF THIS RACE NOW AND CONCENTRATE YOUR EFFORTS ON A WINNER ! YOU ARE NOT ELECTABLE TO THIS POSITION AND NEVER EVER WILL BE SIR ! NOW BOW OUT ED AND HELP THE REST OF US TAKE BACK OUT CONGRESSIOAL SEAT WITH HONOR ! ”
Our goal is to offer voters as many Libertarian candidates on the ballot as possible. I get very disappointed when I find someone withdraws from a race, but fortunately the vast majority of Libertarian candidates remain committed to provide that choice on the ballot.
In regards to how Republicans can be affected by Libertarians on the ballot, it should be considered that most research I have seen on this subject suggest Democratic voters are more likely to vote Libertarian than Republican voters are. Additionally, the shift of registered voters nationally from 1960 from Democrat to Independent demonstrates that our candidates may have a greater appeal to Democratic voters, especially on matters on individuals rights. While the Democratic party has dramatically shrunk and Republicans have stagnated, Libertarians have grown http://lptexas.org/news/only-libertarians-experience-party-growth.
Below is a message I sent to our entire state membership in August. I believe it expresses the commitment our party has in offering voters a choice this November. I have personally met a lot of state legislators in my 6 years as state chair and I find both Democrat and Republican alike are equally likely to forget and ignore any promises they made before the legislative session starts. That is why we do not play favorites. We challenge them both with equal vigor.
Fellow Texas Libertarians,
As we continue our growth, our candidates become more susceptible to pleas from our opponents. The opposition wants us to drop off the ballot with promises that they will get elected and give us the policies we want.
Don’t believe it.
Pandering politicians have made a habit of insincere promises. For one example, ask Paul Petersen in Dallas. State Representative Dan Branch asked him to drop off the ballot in 2008 and promised to support our efforts for more reasonable ballot access and reform of the Texas Open Meetings act. Paul dropped out, Branch got elected, and ignored us. This is not an isolated incident.
With the Tea Party phenomenon, we have lots of Republicans asking us to support their campaigns because they are “Tea Party” Republicans. Unfortunately today’s Tea Party isn’t necessarily worth supporting. I recently had an op-ed piece printed in the Austin American Statesman that expresses these concerns. I heartily encourage Libertarians to build alliances with the Tea Party movement, but I certainly hope to do so in order to reclaim its original Libertarian principles. If the movement is at odds with our principles, I personally am not willing to sacrifice our principles for political gain.
November will soon be upon us. I do not promise overnight success, but I do expect significant growth that will alarm our opponents, grow our influence, attract more support and investment, and influence policy. That will only happen if we remain on the ballot. Without candidates on the ballot, we don’t have a product to offer to the voters.
Don’t fall for the promises of pandering politicians. Let’s keep the Libertarian product on the shelf.
Yours in Liberty,
Patrick J Dixon
Libertarian Party of Texas
About the Libertarian Party of Texas
The Libertarian Party of Texas supports more freedom and less government. We follow the Golden Rule: we treat others as we would like to be treated.
We seek to restore the great American free enterprise system that made us the strongest, most powerful economy in the world: lower taxes, free markets, free trade, less regulation, and less red tape for businesses big and small.
We respect your right to live your life the way you see fit, and expect you to take responsibility for the consequences.
Find out more at:
Libertarian Party of Texas
Robert Butler,Executive Director