Gary Johnson Runs the Most Successful Campaign in the Party’s History

This was found in Yahoo News
November 7, 2012
By Eric Pfeiffer

He may have received only about 1 percent of the national vote, but Gary Johnson is already the most successful White House candidate in the Libertarian Party’s nearly 41-year history.

“Ours is a mission accomplished,” Johnson told “We put a true small-government, individual-freedom option on the ballot in virtually every state and have assembled an organization that will carry that message forward.”

With final vote tallies still being calculated, Johnson’s current total of 1,139,562 puts him significantly ahead of any of his party’s nine other presidential candidates.

The rest of this short article can be found here .

48 thoughts on “Gary Johnson Runs the Most Successful Campaign in the Party’s History

  1. Richard Winger

    One of the best things about Gary’s campaign is that he ran a balanced campaign, so that even the mass media realizes he drew approximately equally from people who otherwise lean Republican and people who otherwise lean Democratic. Gary was very skillful in campaigning in a balanced way.

  2. paulie

    I totally agree with Richard. Hope to see the momentum continue non-stop thru 2016. The campaign coalesced very late in the game. We need more time to build support.

  3. Sean Scallon

    Opportunities abound for the LP if they take advantage of them and build strong state parties in places where their candidates got over 1% of the vote in statewide races.

  4. Matt Cholko

    While I am quite pleased (overall) with the Johnson campaign, I’d hesitate to call if the most successful LP campaign ever. In terms of votes, GJ did not beat Clark’s results from 1980. More importantly though, I’m not aware of any abnormally large increase in membership or donations to the LP. Maybe we will see this play out over the coming months and years. Maybe not. In any case, some previous POTUS campaigns have been at least partially responsible for significant increases in membership and revenue. I consider this a much more important factor for calling a campaign a “success.”

    I do still think there is time to convert some of the GJ supporters into long(er) term LP members/donors/activists. The time is short though, as we need to act on this stuff while the campaign is still fresh in those supporter’s minds.

  5. Bill Wood

    Great to see Gary get over a million votes and major Party status gains. Has there been an increase in LP Membership during this Campaign?

  6. Melty

    I get the impression that Judge James Gray had a lot to do with what made the Johnson/Gray campaign a balanced one, but he gets all too little mention. Let’s hear it for Jim Gray, a fabulous running mate!

  7. Zapper

    Correcting @4:

    Johnson did beat Clark in terms of number of votes cast. He did not beat Clark as a percentage of the vote cast.

  8. Austin Cassidy

    But if he had been on the ballot in Michigan and Oklahoma, he probably would have passed Clark’s percentage — both essentially polled 1%.

    We’re talking about hundredths of a percent here.

  9. Steve LaBianca

    While this graphic of US census data doesn’t tell the full demographic story,

    the US population increased some 38% since 1980. Of course there are MANY variables to consider, but I ask those who are rejoicing in the “BEST EVER” LP campaign for president, to realize that a simple extrapolation of the 921,00 votes for Clark to today would yield approx. 1,275,000 votes today. The median age ALSO has been increasing, which would likely yield a higher percentage of the population eligible to vote, which would yield an even higher total for the Clark campaign, probably somewhere around 1.3 million today.

    Granted . . . this is just a quantitative analysis, but qualitatively, there are some things which would be in Clark’s favor, and some in Johnson’s favor, comparatively.

    The qualitative items are much harder to put into perspective, but the fact that Clark was a virtual unknown, and Johnson a Republican two-term governor, (AND was in at least one of the early GOP presidential debates), I hardly think that this showing can be characterized as “BEST EVER”. Johnson’s showing was clearly 2nd best.

  10. Steve LaBianca

    Besides, I’d take Browne’s 385,000, or Michael Badnarik’s 396,000 any day – these folks at least ran a libertarian principle based campaign.

  11. Steve LaBianca

    Clark “essentially” had 1.1%, Johnson didn’t even reach 1%, Austin. It isn’t hundredths of percent difference as you claim.

  12. Robert Capozzi

    Tenths or hundredths of a percentage point is dust, insignificant. Clark and GJ both achieved 1% of the vote, GJ got about 200K more total votes.

    GJ ran for a shorter amount of time with a LOT less funding, esp. inflation adjusted. Neither ran a “perfect” campaign, which is impossible.

  13. George Whitfield

    As I recall Ed Clark got about 160,000 votes in California after having received 5% of the vote there in 1978 as the LP candidate for Governor. In that year he was the only candidate for Governor who supported the Proposition that limited increases in property taxes. So he was on a roll in a very big state. From what I have read California has changed since that time demographically and politically. I think Gary ran a great campaign and I hope he will run again in 2016.

  14. Melty

    yes, known electronic voting machine errors can be measured in tenths or hundredths of percents, say nothing of the rest of the iceberg, the unknown electronic voting machine errors

  15. Robert Capozzi

    There’s no dispute that fractions of fractions CAN BE measured. Such measurement, however, adds nothing analytically that I can see.

  16. Thane Eichenauer

    As in many solutions, political or otherwise, it matters not whether the solution is the best solution ever but whether it is the best solution at a given time and place.
    If you are offering the best bovine hamburger ever in the year 2012 in India that isn’t fact isn’t important if your goal is to sell bovine hamburgers. Clark probably had the most successful LP campaign ever but it hardly matters as the LP didn’t have the option to choose between a Clark campaign and a Johnson campaign.
    I am willing to give Gary Johnson and Jim Gray the award for the most successful LP campaign ever (that constantly advocated for a revenue neutral national retail 23% sales tax [with prebates]).

  17. paulie

    Clark “essentially” had 1.1%, Johnson didn’t even reach 1%

    Clark had 1.065% and Johnson may or may not have cleared 1.00 (more votes to count still). With Michigan and Oklahoma I think he would probably have cleared 1.065 plus.

    GJ ran for a shorter amount of time with a LOT less funding, esp. inflation adjusted.

    That is why I want the campaign to keep going toward 2016 with as little of a break as possible. None would be ideal.

  18. DSZ

    Clark had a billionaire VP behind him, less misconceptions about libertarianism (no tea party back then), and I believe (correct me if I’m wrong) ballot access in all 50 states rather than 48.

    That being said, he did have to contend with a much more popular 3rd party candidate (Anderson), and a Republican candidate many folks foolishly considered to be a libertarian. The experience thing is probably a wash – having experience probably helped Gary Johnson (albeit it was in a relatively small state), but being an outsider in a race against 3 insiders might have helped Clark.

    So there’s factors in both directions; can we stop doing a male member measuring contest and just be proud this didn’t turn into a Bob Barr repeat?

    The goal for 2016 should be at least 5%, trying to increase Gary’s issue familiarity, trying to capture the Ron Paul vote (insert Rand ain’t Ron slogan here), and trying to tailor his message into something that offers a paradigm shift, rather than a combination of left and right views. For instance, rather than asserting the right of gays to marry, assert the right for ALL consenting adults to marry. Separation of church and state = separation of marriage and state. The sales tax position can be kept if it is modified to exclude the ridiculous prebate – offering one’s own version of the tax sounds better than “go to to learn my position, [which is wholly copied from another group].” More knowledge and discussion of monetary reform is badly needed too – even Ron Paul didn’t bring it up enough this year I think.

    I’d also like to see more discussion of the environment – a topic entirely excluded from discussion in the 2012 presidential race – and elaborating free market solutions people aren’t used to hearing, namely eliminating ethanol subsidies, more toll roads, and easing the review process on nuclear reactors (I believe 2 have been built since the 70’s). Lastly, multi-national corporations can cause environmental degradation and poor working conditions – so why does the government outlaw the alternative? Let cartels of small firms compete – an analysis of European cartels circa 1870-1945 shows that they were of a territorial rather than price-fixing nature, except in countries with protective tariffs. Government already sanctions territorial agreements in utilities, albeit in a regulatory rather than contractual nature, why not let small firms do this freely?

    Lastly there has GOT to be better organization on the ground. After being involved in libertarian politics for about 8-9 years I can recall only one time in which I’ve seen libertarian volunteers at a polling place, besides times I organized or was part of election day volunteering. I saw 5 polling locations this election day and saw zero LP activity or Gary Johnson signs at any of them. It was easier to request campaign materials from Rocky Anderson’s website than Gary’s (not that I did, I just was curious). I don’t have any easy answers on this but that was probably the most discouraging thing to see this Tuesday.

  19. ATBAFT

    Clark would not have broken 500,000 votes in 1980 without David Koch’s money to buy ultra cheap (by today’s standards) national advertising.
    Give GJ the equivalent and he probably exceeds 2 million votes. Friends who voted for Romney, even though they agreed with Johnson, at least acknowledged he was the very first LP candidate for president they could even consider voting for.

  20. Andy

    “ATBAFT // Nov 8, 2012 at 10:04 am

    Clark would not have broken 500,000 votes in 1980 without David Koch’s money to buy ultra cheap (by today’s standards) national advertising.”

    I’m sure having a few million dollars from David Koch was a big plus, but it should be pointed out that Ed Clark received 10% of the vote when he ran for Governor of California in 1978. That’s pretty impressive for a minor party or independent candidate.

  21. paulie

    @29 Bad Democratic Party propaganda. You can start with the lie that the Koch brothers founded the Libertarian Party (those of us here know better) and proceed from there.

  22. Jill Pyeatt Post author

    GW @ 19: “California has changed since that time demographically and politically.”

    This is, sadly, a very true statement.

  23. Zapper

    @29 Johnson needs to dump his manager and other R party hirelings. They sucked the campaign dry of cash and hindered its progress. Their histories only make them worse, and they have no allegiance to libertarian ideas.

  24. Zapper

    @36 It’s a campaign team. Advertise, recruit, interview, and hire the best available in the LP. Train less experienced LPers for the future as well with lower paid or volunteer staff positions. There are people like Paulie and Joe Buchman potentially available, and scores of others.

  25. George Whitfield

    I do live in Seoul, Korea so I post at some strange times. I was very pleasantly surprised to read this headline: “Libertarian Party bouyant, Greens hopeful.” in Bloomberg Businessweek. It has been a very long time since we have been described as “bouyant.” This article will be a handout at my Seoul Libertarian Party Meetup Group tonight. See:;TWX&ticker=TWX

  26. Gene Berkman

    @ 30 & @ 34 – Ed Clark received 377,000 votes – 5.5% for Governor in 1978, running against Gov. Jerry Brown (same as now) and Evelle Younger, the Republican D.A. for L.A. County.

    The Koch brothers put at least $200,000 into that campaign, which raised other money from libertarians as well. It was well funded for the time, and many conservatives did not like Evelle Younger, who received 36.5% of the vote.

    Clark received many votes from disenchanted conservatives, along with votes from people who backed marijuana legalization.

  27. Shane

    @29 – I read a portion of that hit piece and laughed out loud at how poorly informed the author is. “Caging” is not a voter suppression technique — it’s taking donor checks, logging them into a database and depositing them. Most non-profit organizations use cagers, including the LP.

    Otis Law does state registrations and another company owned by Maureen does caging.

    The author made Maureen out to be some type of conspirator. I’ve personally used her for years for a few groups and she helps bust through the bureaucratic red tape required for non-profits at the state level.

    This is a perfect example of a blogger reporting through the Internet and not bothering to pick up the phone for a little fact checking.

  28. Be Rational

    @29 “Caging” is actually a way of tracking which responses and donations have come from which mailing lists being tested so as to gather data to determine which lists are profitable enough to out to the entire list, and also to track different test letters to determine which garner the best response from which type of list.

    Caging allows the direct mailer to maximize sales, donations or reponses to his mailings.

    Likewise, “caging” can be used by clever direct mailers working with boards of elections to selectively delete groups of voters from the voting rolls. Returned mail from lists that are made up of the voters more likely to vote for the opposition can be delisted while returns from likely supporters can be ignored, or excluded in advance from the original mailing.

  29. DSZ

    One wonders about the whole Roger Stone thing. He could have been trying to get at Obama by helping Johnson, or, what may be more likely is that he was genuinely pissed that the GOP went with Romney. In either case, its not like the Johnson campaign paid him or asked for his help first.

  30. paulie

    He could also have been infiltrating LP to destroy it from within. One never knows with him.

    From what I have been told, he has now had a falling out with Ron Nielson and the Johnson campaign, but still has allies on the LNC. Maybe he’ll run for LNC himself, or even for president? More likely, will run a presidential campaign….Kristin Davis?

  31. paulie

    Speaking of Roger Stone, someone sent me this very disturbing link:

    See above, I already addressed this ridiculous BS.

    Johnson’s campaign has had a falling out with Stone.

    And many of the claims in that article, unrelated to Stone, are ludicrous.

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