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Rand Paul Encourages GA Libertarians to Vote Republican in Senate Runoffs

Yesterday, Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky appeared on Fox News and encouraged those who voted for Libertarian Party candidate Shane Hazel in one of the two US Senate races in Georgia earlier this month to vote for the Republican candidates in the two runoff elections on January 5.  The runoffs feature incumbent Republican Senator David Perdue facing Democratic challenger Jon Ossoff, and Democratic candidate Raphael Warnock challenging incumbent Republican Senator Kelly Loeffler.  If Republicans win one of the races they retain control of the Senate.  If Democrats win both races then the Senate splits 50-50 and Democrats gain control due to the tiebreaking vote of presumptive Vice President-elect Kamala Harris.

Shane Hazel

In the interview with Julie Banderas of Fox News, Paul commented:

One of the things that I’ve take upon myself is to try to encourage . . . there was a little over 100,000 people who voted for Shane Hazel, the Libertarian candidate and I think those people can find a place and reason to vote for Republicans.  Look, I get fed up with Republicans not spending money wisely and adding to our debt but they are better than the Democrats, even if only sometimes marginally so, but on some things like packing the Court and DC statehood, Republicans will help protect the country from all branches of government being controlled by the Democrats.  So I think there is some argument for some of these 100,000 Libertarians to actually vote Republican and I’m going be spending some time trying to encourage them to vote Republican in the runoff.

Hazel was on the ballot In the initial race featuring Perdue and Ossoff.  According to the latest count from the Associated Press, Hazel finished in third place, receiving 115,039 votes or 2.3 percent.  Perdue fell 0.3 percent short of receiving the 50 percent majority he needed to avoid a runoff.  Libertarian Brian Slowinski was on the ballot in the initial Warnock-Loeffler race and received 35,431 votes for 0.7 percent, which amounted to 13th place in the 20 person race.

Shane Hazel meme from Twitter user @GraingerZach


There is no indication on Twitter that Hazel has endorsed either candidate in the race but he did retweet the following, which asked Perdue and Loeffler to appear on his podcast and earn the support of Libertarians:


  1. Thomas L Knapp Thomas L Knapp November 24, 2020

    On the one hand, Rand Paul’s entire relationship with libertarianism is trying to get libertarians to support his busted-ass party.

    On the other hand, in this very specific and particular case, I could see libertarians voting Republican on “divided government” grounds. A federal government with no single party controlling the White House AND both houses of Congress might be just the tiniest fraction of a percent of an iota less horrible in some ways.

  2. Jim Polichak from Long Island Jim Polichak from Long Island November 24, 2020

    Of course he did!
    Rand Paul sold his soul to Mitch McConnell ages ago.

  3. Root's Teeth Are Awesome Root's Teeth Are Awesome November 24, 2020

    Rand Paul is correct. From a libertarian perspective, divided government is preferable to one party controlling both houses and the presidency.

    The Heroes Act is in the Congressional pipeline. If Dems control both houses in 2021, more money will be spent (mostly on bailing out the states) than if the GOP held the Senate.

  4. George Phillies George Phillies November 24, 2020

    His remarks are actually relatively mild. Hazel had a good response.

  5. Gene Berkman Gene Berkman November 25, 2020

    Tom Knapp’s comment is correct in both particulars. Rand Paul is a party hack, but the best we can hope
    for now is divided government.

  6. George James Dance George James Dance November 26, 2020

    Not all divided governments are good; but the combination of a Democratic president and a GOP congress is the best for keeping the growth of government down. (A Republican president and a Democratic congress, not so much.) OTOH, a Democratic Party controlling the presdency and both houses is probably the worst. So there’s no contest here.

  7. George James Dance George James Dance November 26, 2020

    Not all divided governments are good; but the combination of a Democratic president and a GOP congress is the best for keeping the growth of government down – see Clinton’s last 2 years. (A Republican president and a Democratic congress, not so much – see GWB’s last 2 years.) OTOH, a Democratic Party controlling the presidency and both houses is probably the worst. So there’s no contest here.

  8. NewFederalist NewFederalist November 28, 2020

    I have to agree with the consensus above. Republicans are MUCH better on defense. They totally disappoint when they have control of government. A Republican Senate with a decreased Democratic-majority House and an automatic lame duck president is just about the best a libertarian or Libertarian can hope for currently.

  9. Richard Winger Richard Winger November 28, 2020

    The Libertarian Party of Kentucky is greatly disadvantaged by the definition of a qualified minor party: a group that polled 2% for president at the last election. That is a very tough requirement that the LP has met only once, in 2016. We should ask Senator Rand Paul to use his influence with the Republican majority legislature to change it to a group that got 2% for any statewide race at either of the last two elections. That would put us back on the ballot in Kentucky, because we got about 4% for US Senate earlier this month. We would easily stay on, because it is very easy to get 2% for an office like Treasurer or Auditor, which comes up in 2019 and 2023.

  10. NewFederalist NewFederalist November 29, 2020

    Richard- what are the chances of that happening?

  11. Richard Winger Richard Winger December 2, 2020

    We have persuaded state legislatures in half the states to ease ballot access laws. We lose nothing by trying. When we think it can’t happen, then we have defeated ourselves.

  12. Jose C Jose C December 9, 2020

    I have not voted for a Republican candidate since 1982 and if I lived in Georgia (I live in California.) that would not change. I will say though we cannot have Nancy Pelosi in charge of the US Senate.

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