Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Election Spoiler Alerts

Matt Welch over at Reason Magazine is usually a complete jackass whom I vociferously disagree with, but today he serves a useful purpose for once and admits that there were several Congressional races in 2012 where the Libertarian candidate cost the Republican candidate the election and handed over the seat to the Democrats.

On Friday, Garrett Quinn pointed out two congressional races in which a Libertarian Party candidate received considerably more votes than the margin separating a winning Democrat from a losing Republican: Massachusetts' 6th District (49.3%-48.1%-2.6% for Rep. John Tierney over Richard Tisei and Daniel Fishman), and Utah's 4th District (48.3%-47.3%-4.5% for Rep. Jim Matheson over Mia Love and Jim Vein).

Last Wednesday, Brian Doherty also flagged Montana's race for U.S. Senate, where incumbent Sen. John Tester defeated the Ron Paul-endorsed Denny Rehberg 48.7% to 44.8%, while LP nominee Dan Cox received 6.5% of the vote. All three losing Republicans had significantly more libertarian credibility than maybe 90% of elected GOPers on the national level.

So are there any other "spoiler" accusations out there? At least four, probably more:

Two of the races he points out are two of the three black Tea Party Republicans defeated in House races I pointed out yesterday:  Mia Love in Utah and Vernon Parker in Arizona. In Utah, Jim Wein got 4.5% of the vote allowing Jim Matheson to keep his seat, and in Arizona, Krysten Sinema won in part because Libertarian Powell Gammill got more than 6% of the vote.

Considering about the only difference between the Libertarian candidates and the tea party ones were the Libertarian view of "live and let live" on social issues and pot legalization, it's notable that we're looking at a situation where social issues burned Republicans badly.

It's also notable that Libertarians put up significant numbers against black Republicans in two states not known for having a high African-American population.  If Love and Parker were white, would they still have lost?

That's a question worth asking among Republicans.

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