It's the end of 2010, we've all survived the election and the holidays and so it's time for the very first Bludgeon & Skewer Top Ten Georgia Libertarian Political Moments of 2010. When you're runnin' and gunnin' with Libertarians, you learn to look for small victories and silver linings as conventional victory, i.e. "Hey! Whadda you know, We Won!" just ain't in the cards.
#1. Libertarian Taylor Bryant runs TWO races in 2010!
We'll start the review with Augusta's best known Libertarian, Taylor Bryant. Taylor started this year in a special election for State Senate District 22 and garnered 8.9% of the vote in a 4 way race to force a runoff that resulted in Hardie "Checks in the Mail" Davis in securing the traditional democrat State Senate seat. Anybody think Hardie will flip to republicanland in 2011? Not content to rest on his laurels, Taylor took the field again and sought a seat on the Augusta School board and received 32% of the votes in that race. Everybody notices the trend line right?
#2. The Georgia LP nominates and runs candidates for every statewide office in Georgia at the April Convention.
A first for the Georgia LP! An entire slate of Libertarian candidates for every statewide office in Georgia had never been attempted before 2010. The entire slate is listed below:
Governor: John Monds
US Senate: Chuck Donovan
Lt. Governor: Rhonda Martini
Attorney General: Don Smart
Secretary of State: David Chastain
School Superintendent: Kira Willis
Insurance Commissioner: Shane Bruce
Agriculture Commissioner: Kevin Cherry
Labor Commissioner: William Costa
PSC (2nd District): Jim Sendelbach
#3 Libertarians push Nathan Deal over the line for the Republican Nomination for Governor.
It seemed like a good idea at the time. When crunch time came in the republican run off's, Bludgeon & Skewer led the way by calling for a Libertarian intervention in republicanland to make sure that Nathan Deal got the nod. Since the race was decided by 2400 votes, it's well within reason that Libertarian crossover voters played a role in Nathan's victory. A concurrent effort to secure a spot for Maria Sheffield as Insurance Commissioner did not succeed.
Hindsight being 20/20, we probably should have lined up with the Handelista's but I personally doubt that it would have made any difference in 2010. If you ran as a republican last time out, you won. It's the "independent" pendulum thingy that bears watching although I think the LP needs to look at the 50% of registered voters that just don't vote. As long as us and the republicans and democrats are haggling over the 50% of registered voters that do vote there is no hope of doing much better than 4% at the polls.
#4 Georgia Libertarians actually qualify with the SecState
It cost a cool 38K to qualify our slate of candidates. We got it done. Sure there was some hand-wringing, bitching and kvetching but the money got raised and the money got spent and we were all on the ballot officially.
#5 Libertarians influence the the terms of the debate.
Horse racing in Georgia? Ballot Access? Death penalty moratorium? Equal treatment under the law for ALL citizens? Cancer survivor health care co-ops? Smaller government, lower taxes and more freedom? All this and more was injected into the statewide races in 2010 by the presence of Libertarians on the ballot. Some of our opponents saw fit to co-opt some of our concerns, none of our opponents discounted them. That is a measure of victory for Liberty.
#6 The size of the Georgia LP grew in 2010.
We're still small, nimble and agile but the 2011 convention looks to be a bit crowded. The activities of our candidates in the 2010 race did yield an increase in the number of card carrying, dues paid Libertarians in Georgia. We've also added a couple of county affiliates in 2010 and are looking for more in 2011. Growth is growth and growth is positive
#7 Libertarians actually received some earned media
Granted, it was late in the cycle but our candidates did get some earned media coverage. Libertarian candidate for Governor John Monds was in most of the major media televised debates in the last month of the campaign. The rest of the state-wides had their moment in the sun courtesy of the fine folks over at GPB and the Atlanta Press club. I've never looked into the overnight ratings of those debates to get a feel for how many Georgian's got some exposure to Libertarian politicians as a result of those programs, but it was a positive for all our campaigns.
#8 All Libertarian Candidates survive the General Election cycle.
It might sound like small potatoes, but every Libertarian candidate survived the general election. When you consider that each and every one of our candidates ran as part timers and held down their actual day jobs, family commitments and the host of other things that make up the lives of ordinary citizens it's absolutely remarkable that none of us landed in the loony bin or re-hab. Toss in the fact that none of the Libertarian candidates had more than a smattering of volunteer staff and all of us were under funded or just plain unfunded and it's more remarkable.
#9 The final tally of votes on November 2nd revealed that about 4% of Georgian's who vote that support the Libertarian Party platform. Unfortunately, in Georgia you need 50%+1 if you intend to run the show.
#10 Libertarian Will Costa is running for the Chairmanship of the Gwinnett County Commission after finishing a grueling race for Commissioner of Labor. Looks like Taylor Bryant won't be the only Libertarian to run two races in one year!
That's the first Top Ten List from Bludgeon & Skewer folks, if the readership would like to offer their thoughts feel free to do so.