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The Libertarian Party of Illinois ran a full slate of candidates this year, with a guy named Lex Green at the top of the ballot. A “Green” Libertarian? Confusing! No wonder they didn’t meet the five percent threshold required to more easily get on the ballot in 2014. (Neither did the Green Party, though.)
Given the GOP’s proclaimed support for limited government and fiscal conservatism, you might think Illinois Libs would derive some consolation from the Republicans regaining control of the U.S. House and several state governorships. Nationwide, the victories of Republicans such as Kentucky senator-elect Rand Paul and Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachmann—who proudly aligned themselves with the fiscally conservative, pro-small government Tea Party movement—would make them even happier, you might also suspect. After all, the national Libertarian Party claims the Tea Party movement began right here in Illinois, with anti-tax protests organized by state Libs back in 2008 and 2009.
Yeah, you might think. But you’d be wrong.
Some folks on the liberty-freedom-patriot blog circuit are enthusiastically referring to the “strides” made for the “conservative/libertarian movement,” as though conservatives and libertarians (or Libertarians) were one big, happily family. It’s not the case, says Lex Green, the Libs gubernatorial candidate. “Unfortunately, the Tea Party departed from its Libertarian roots—mostly thanks to the Republicans’ infiltration,” he says.
An electrician from Bloomington, Green has been active in the Tea Party movement through his early affiliation with the Tea Party Patriots. But his candidacy lost support from many movement activists, he says, because he supports gay rights and marijuana legalization—positions that are consistent with the Libs’ limited-government approach, but not with the Republican Party’s. Many Tea Partiers ended up backing Republican Bill Brady, which Green says gave him “mixed feelings” about the movement. Among all Libertarians running for statewide office, Green received the fewest votes—just 34,293, or less than one percent.