Key Libertarian races to watch on election night

Obviously we’ll all be very interested to see how the Jorgensen/Cohen ticket does nationally and in our state. But there are hundreds of other Libertarians on the ballot across the country and many of those races have the potential to be impactful in terms of ballot access and public perception, not to mention the possibilities to win.

Each state has it’s own election laws and while new terms for the presidency and all US House seats are being contested, some will have a US Senate race and others won’t, state legislatures are on the ballot in most areas but not all, and county, school, and municipal offices may be considered by voters as well depending on jurisdiction. What follows is a list of races that Libertarians will want to keep an eye on as the returns come in across the country on Nov. 3rd.

New Hampshire
Justin O’Donnell — US Senate / Darryl Perry — Governor
4% for Governor or US Senate is the requirement to retain ballot access in New Hampshire, so we’re looking for one of these two candidates to get it done.

Massachusetts
Jo Jorgensen — President
It takes 3% for any statewide office or 1% of voter registrations to maintain ballot access in the Bay State. The LP doesn’t have enough registered voters and Jo is the only statewide candidate on the ballot.

Rhode Island
William Hunt Jr. — Rhode Island House of Representatives Dist. 68
Hunt received 38% of the vote for this office in 2016, 35% in 2018, and then placed second out of four candidates with 28% when it was up for a special election in 2019. It’s just him and the incumbent Democrat.

New York
Jo Jorgensen — President
A new law designed to suppress alternative parties went into effect this year, requiring the presidential or gubernatorial candidate to get 130,000 votes or 2%, whichever is great, in order to retain ballot access. There’s a challenge in court to the new law, but there’s certainly no guarantee it will be overturned.
Thomas Quiter — State Senate Dist. 52
Quiter has been very visible on social media and is in a two-candidate race but so are several other NY Libertarians. We’ll be scrolling through the results in the Empire State on election night to see who has a breakout race.

Pennsylvania
Larry Frey — Pennsylvania House of Representatives Dist. 110
Larry is one of five Libertarians in two-candidates races for seats in the state House. He, Noyes Lawton, and Ryan Bourinski are facing Republicans while Dan Fishman and Marc Bozzacco are up against Democrats.

Delaware
Thomas Dayl — Wilmington City Council, Dist. 7
Dayl, formerly an engineering psychologist with the Air Force, has been active in the community in several ways. Now he’s seeking a seat on the City Council in a two-person contest.

Maryland
Jo Jorgensen — President
The state requires that a party’s candidate for the highest office on the ballot get at least 1% in order to retain recognition so this is one where Jo’s result really counts.

West Virginia
Erika Kolenich — Governor
Ballot access in West Virginia depends on a party’s gubernatorial candidate getting 1% of the vote, so we’ll be looking to see how Kolenich does.

Kentucky
Jo Jorgensen — President
The presidential vote determines ballot access retention in the Bluegrass State, Jo needs 2% to preserve minor party status for the LP.
Brad Barron — US Senate
Barron has polled as much 9% in this high-profile race for the seat currently held by Mitch McConnell.
Brandon Wright — City Council, Cave City
The top six of thirteen candidates win election in this multi-candidate race.
There are eight Libertarians running for State Representative including four, Joshua Gilpin, Jacob Clark, Randall Daniel, and James Toller, who are in two-candidate elections creating a much higher potential for a breakout race. Over in the KY Senate there are two-candidate contests for Amanda Billings in SD3 and Bryan Short in SD 27 while Guy Miller faces an Independent along with a Republican in SD5.

Virginia
Stevan Porter — Town Council, Herndon
As one of eight candidates for six positions, the odds are not for Porter.

North Carolina
Jo Jorgensen — President / Steven DiFiore — Governor
One of the three methods to meet the definition of a political party in North Carolina is to have the party’s candidate for Governor or for President attain 2% of the vote. The LP may already qualify under one of the other methods but we’d like to see the 2%, especially since DiFiore has polled as high as 5%.
Shannon Bray — US Senate
Bray has been polling higher than the difference between the establishment party candidates and with control of the Senate hanging in the balance he could well become a prominent part of the narrative.
LPNC has eight candidates for state Senate and thirteen running to be a state Representative, creating a lot of potential for positive results.

Georgia
Shane Hazel — US Senate
Hazel is polling at higher than the difference between the establishment party candidates. If no one gets a majority Georgia requires a runoff and that could keep control of the Senate in doubt until January.

Florida
Wesley Wilson— Volusia County Soil and Water Conservation District, Seat 2
Wilson won 19% in a three-way contest in 2018 for Seat 3 and can expect to improve significantly this year in two-candidate race.

Ohio
Jo Jorgensen — President
If Jorgensen gets 3% of the vote in Ohio then the LP retains minor party status and would avoid the substantial petition to regain ballot access.

Indiana
Donald Rainwater — Governor
Rainwater has polled as high as 24% as the incumbent Governor has angered Republicans with his pandemic response. This could easily be a record-setting race for an LP gubernatorial candidate.
Jeremy Smith — LaPorte County Commissioner, Dist. 2
Smith, a prominent opponent of a 2017 proposal to restrict firearms usage in the county, is in a two-person race against the incumbent.

Michigan
Several candidates — Assorted offices
There are over fifty Michigan Libertarians running for different offices at the federal, state, county, and municipal level. Having that many candidates is in itself an accomplishment and can be expected to boost vote totals across the board, but we’ll be checking in on the Michiganders to see which of these races have the best results.

Wisconsin
Jo Jorgensen — President
1% for Jorgensen will maintain ballot access for the LP in Wisconsin.

Illinois
Preston Nelson — US House, 8th Dist.
Nelson is in a two-candidate race in this district west of Chicago and will have an opportunity to put up a large vote total against the incumbent.
There are eight candidates seeking to be elected as a Representative in the state Legislature, including Glenn Olofson, Joshua Flynn, Clayton Cleveland, Chad Grimm, and Brad Bielert who are in two-candidate races and Ian Peak who faces a Republican and a Green. Any of these could be a breakout race.

Arkansas
Jo Jorgensen — President
Arkansas requires a result of 3% or better for a party’s presidential candidate to retain ballot status. Gary Johnson received 2.64% in 2016.
Ricky Dale Harrington, Jr — US Senate
After Josh Mahoney withdrew without leaving the Democrat Party time to name a replacement and Independent Dan Whitfield failed to qualify for the ballot, Harrington is the only opponent of incumbent Tom Cotton.
The Arkansas LP has fielded four candidates for the state Legislature, all of whom have the potential to make waves because all are two-candidate races. Kevin Vornheder is in Dist. 100, Wayne Willems is in Dist. 15, Judy Bowers is after an open seat in Dist. 22, and Stephen Edwards seeks the Dist. 77 office.
Arkansas does not have any elected Libertarians at this time but several are in two-candidate races for the county offices of Constable and Justice of the Peace to try to change that.

Missouri
Jeff Coleman and Mark Bliss — St. Senate, Districts 13 & 21
Bliss and Coleman are in two-candidate races for State Senate.
Andrew Miller, Bill Wayne, & Andrew Bolin — St. House, Districts 24, 51 & 83
These three are also in two candidate contests.

Iowa
Jo Jorgensen — President
To maintain ballot access in Iowa Jo will need to get at least 2% of the vote.
Rick Stewart — US Senate
This is another very close race that will help decide if the red faction or the blue faction of the duopoly controls the Senate and Stewart could get a lot of attention should his vote total be greater than the different between the two.

Minnesota
Christopher Klavetter — Mayor, Burnsville
Burnsville Council Member Cara Schulz, a candidate recruiter for the national Libertarian Party, has already secured re-election unopposed and another council member, Vince Workman, publicly states he agrees with many of the LP’s positions. A victory by Klavetter would effectively provide a libertarian majority at the city council.

North Dakota
Jo Jorgensen — President / DuWayne Hendrickson — Governor
5% for President or Governor will retain ballot access for the North Dakota LP. Gary Johnson received 6.22% in 2016.

South Dakota
Randy Luallin — US House / Devin Saxon — Public Utilities Commissioner
Both of these are statewide races for which no Democrat filed, resulting in our LP candidates in two-person contests. Several state Senate races also feature a Libertarian as the sole opponent.

Nebraska
Mercadies Damratowski — State Senate, Dist. 37
This is a two-candidate race and in Nebraska their unicameral legislature is technically non-partisan.

Oklahoma
Todd Hagopian — Corporation Commissioner
Hagopian, known as Libertarian-in-Chief on Twitter, faces just the incumbent in this statewide race as the Democrats did not have a candidate file.
Greg Sadler — State Senate, Dist. 17
This is another two-candidate race, with the incumbent having already been beaten in the primary runoff.
Bud Jeffrey — Pottawatomie County Clerk
The third of the three two-candidate races, the northern part of Pott. County including Shawnee, the county seat, is in Sadler’s district. Voters in that part of the county will have more Libertarian vs. Republican races to vote on than they will Democrat vs. Republican contests.

Texas
Several candidates — State Supreme Court
In order to retain ballot access, a party must have a candidate for statewide office achieve 5% of the vote. While Jorgensen for President, US Senate nominee Kerry McKennon, or Matt Sterrett for Railroad Commissioner could meet this mark, it’s more likely that one of the three Libertarians seeking as spot on the state Supreme Court will be able to accomplish the task as they are all in three-candidate races. Tom Oxford is seeking the Place 8 position, William Strange is after the Place 7 spot, and Mark Ash is the candidate for Chief Justice.
Several candidates — US House
Texas has 36 Congressional Districts. The LP has candidates for 32 of those seats, a fantastic showing.
There are 88 Libertarians on the ballot in Texas, many of whom would have been stricken had a GOP lawsuit over filing fees been successful. It no doubt aided LPTX that filing for all but a few offices was accomplished late in 2019, an unreasonably early requirement which in a normal year would be harmful but this is 2020. We’ll be scanning the Texas results!

New Mexico
Jo Jorgensen — President
In 2016 Gary Johnson received over 9% of the vote, providing major party status for the LPNM lasting for two general election cycles. Jo needs to get 5% to maintain that major party recognition or, failing that, .5% provides minor party status.
Chris Luchini — Public Regulation Commissioner, Dist. 3
Luchini, a bona-fide rocket scientist, is in a two-candidate race for one of the five spots on New Mexico’s Public Regulation Commission.
Laura Burrows — Public Education Commissioner, Dist. 4
Burrows, re-elected last year to her position on the UNM-Los Alamos Advisory Board, is in a two-person contest for a seat on the state education commission.
Paul McKenney & Helen Milenski — State House, Districts 21 & 45
Iraqi war veteran Paul McKenney and Helen Milenski, an engineer at at the Los Alamos National Laboratory, are both facing off against just a Democrat for a seat in the state Legislature.
Oscar Astorga — Lea County Commissioner, Dist. 4
Astorga, of Hobbs, faces the incumbent Republican in this race.

Colorado
Several candidates — State Legislature
Colorado has 32 Libertarians running for state legislative offices, including Adam Shuknecht in House Dist. 53, Sean Short in House Dist. 50, and Michele Poague in Senate Dist. 29, all of whom are in two-candidate races. I’ll also note that LP national Secretary Caryn Ann Harlos is running in House Dist. 45 and her husband Wayne is on the ballot for Senate Dist. 4.

Wyoming
Richard Brubaker — US House
Continued ballot status for LPWY is dependent upon attaining at least 2% for the US House. They’ve consistently achieved greater than 3% over several cycles, with Brubaker as the candidate in three of the previous four, but we’ll be keeping an eye on the race.
Bethany Baldes — State House, Dist. 55
Baldes very nearly picked this seat off two years ago, finishing just 53 votes behind the incumbent, David Miller. Miller is not running again and in fact has endorsed Baldes. There are five other Libertarians seeking election to serve in the Wyoming legislature and like Baldes all are in two-candidate races. Wendy Degroot is running for state Senate in Dist. 30. Shawn Johnson, Marshall Burt, Lela Konency, and Joseph Porambo are on the ballot for spots in the state House, they are in districts 38, 39, 47, and 58, respectively.

Montana
Several candidates — State Legislature
Ron Vandever for House Dist. 80, Francis Wendt in House Dist. 62, Melody Benes in House Dist. 43, Jacob Kitson in House Dist. 37, George Schultz for House Dist. 19, and John Lamb in Senate Dist. 36 are all in two-candidate races that we will be watching.

Idaho
Four candidates — State Legislature
LPID has four legislature candidates, all of whom are in two-person races. Three are House candidates, Jennifer Luoma is in Dist. 2, Jess Smith is on the ballot in Dist. 13, and Lisa Adams seeks a spot in Dist. 21. Dan Karlan is running for State Senate in Dist. 28.
Justin Nagel — Sheriff, Kootenai County
Nagel faces a Republican and an Independent in this race to replace a retiring Sheriff. Being the only Kootenai native and with the GOP nominee being a plurality winner of rough primary, we’re interested to see how well Nagel can do.

Nevada
Sam Toll — Commissioner, Storey County Dist. 1
Toll publishes the Storey Teller and is in a two-candidate race to replace the outgoing commissioner who previously had filed a defamation lawsuit against Toll.
Natasha Bousley — State Assembly, Dist 28
Bousley faces the incumbent in a two-person contest in this Clark County district.

Utah
Daniel Cottam — Governor
Utah requires a party to have one of it’s candidates receive votes equal to 2% of whatever is cast in US House races in the state in order to continue to be recognized. Cottam is polling high enough to do that. Attorney General candidate Rudy Bautista or Treasurer nominee Joseph Speciale also have a great opportunity to secure continued ballot access for LPUT.

Hawaii
Feena Bonoan — State Senator, Dist. 20
Bonoan is in a two-person race for this legislative seat and has used that as an opportunity to present libertarian ideas in a manner to which the average voter will find relatable.

California
Kalish Morrow — Hanford City Council, District B
Morrow has been involved in city government and knows the local issues.
Ricky Estrada — Menifee, Mayor
Estrada is supportive of a measure to cut taxes, unlike another purported libertarian who happens to be running for council in Menifee, and making municipal government more efficient and believes that the city can continue to deliver services adequately.
Wendy Hewitt — Calimesa City Council
Hewitt is one of four candidates vying for three positions and is the spouse of Jeff Hewitt, former Calimesa Mayor and currently the District 5 Supervisor in Riverside County.
Scott Schmidt — Los Rios Community College District Trustee, Area 7
Schmidt, whose grandparents fled Cuba when his mother was 2 years old, is the Vice-President of the Sacramento Taxpayers Association. He argues that the current trustees failed to take action soon enough on COVID-19 and aren’t properly focused on the needs of students.

Oregon
Several candidates — State legislature
There are ten Libertarians on the ballot, aside from establishment party candidates also listed on the LP ballot line, eight for state House and two for state Senate. We’ll be watching for a breakout race or two.

Washington
Brett Borden — State Representative, Pos. 1 in Dist. 9
Due to Washington’s Top-Two system, it’s practically impossible for anyone not running under an establishment party label to get to the general election in most races unless the race would otherwise be unopposed. Brett Borden was fortunate enough to get one of those races.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store