Where Will The Libertarians Go?

TIME Magazine features an article on Georgia’s Libertarian candidate for Senate, Amanda Swafford. Despite polling consistently at 5%, she is slightly optimistic about November. No, she doesn’t expect to win the election, but she does expect to send it into a January run-off.

“In that situation, if we did force a runoff,” Swafford tells TIME, “I’d say that’s a clear mandate from people of Georgia for a small government and less involvement in people’s lives.”

Swafford’s “mere presence on the ballot creates the potential for a run-off,” says Jennifer Duffy, who follows Senate races at the non-partisan Cook Political Report. “Overall, Libertarians tend to draw more from Republicans, so she is a bigger problem for Perdue than Nunn.”

But Swafford says that may not be the case with her voters, who she maintains are open to whomever makes the best case. Swafford isn’t even sure she’d caucus with the Republicans if, by some miracle, she were to be elected.

In the event of a run-off, will Amanda Swafford’s voters stay home in January or hold their nose and vote for Perdue or Nunn? It appears she hopes they will simply stay home.


  1. AmesG says:

    I will “Hold my nose.” I didn’t say it but, “Voting for the lesser of two evils…is a vote for evil.”

  2. northside101 says:

    It only took 3% for Libertarians to force US Senate runoffs in 1992 and 2008 (Fowler/Coverdell and Chambliss/Martin). And they also forced one in 2006 for Public Service Commission. In terms of her winning, well, if I saw it correctly, she had only raised $7,500 or so for the race (barely enough to cover the qualifying fee), which will result in another single-digit showing—4 percent would be a record in a Georgia Senate race. Libertarians will never get past the “spoiler” ranking until they spend money on network television—maybe find a self-financing wealthy IT candidate—not some infrequent ads on an obscure cable channel at 3 in the morning….

    • Chet Martin says:

      There might be some diehards who hope for a Libertarian senator, but I think most supporters and affiliates are just hoping to force the major parties (mostly the GOP, at this point) to change

      • Jon Lester says:

        That’s my take, and I want major party candidates to find they’re only really supported by pluralities, and maybe they’ll govern more pragmatically. If nothing else, I’d like for the word “mandate” to disappear from the context of election results.

    • The thing to do would be to pull a Greg Orman and run Lib-Rep in a two-way race for an office like PSC but actually spend some serious money. That’s doable. Of course the problem with that is if you have enough money to self fund a PSC race you’ve also probably got enough sense to realize that’s a waste of your money.

      • Will Durant says:

        Having a rich guy on the PSC wouldn’t necessarily be a bad thing though. Someone wealthy enough to burn money like that would at least be more difficult to buy.

        I would prefer that someone who could afford it legally challenge the 2-party monopoly in court by killing off the current taxpayer supported primary system.

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