Bloody but unbowed

Libertarian candidates consider election defeats a learning experience, prepare for the next election.

Although the results of the 2010 election were a disappointment for North Carolina’s Libertarian candidates because they were not elected, several consider it a very good learning experience and preparation for future campaigns.

Dr. Mike Beitler, Libertarian candidate for U.S. Senate, said that the goal of his campaign was to let voters know there is an alternative to the “bloated, outdated two-party system.”

“The establishment parties will continue to drive our country off the cliff until the American people wake up to the reality that both establishment parties will continue to serve their lobbyist corporate masters to the detriment of the American people,” he said.

T.J. Rohr was the first-ever Libertarian candidate for district attorney. He ran in district 25 which covers Burke, Caldwell and Catawba Counties.

“Although I am disappointed that I was not elected, I am honored and humbled by the support I did receive,” he said. “I am also proud that so many people were open to the issues I raised in this election: focusing on serious crimes involving theft, violence, and fraud, and de-emphasizing non-violent drug offenses, while repudiating illegal and unconstitutional traffic checkpoints and the death penalty.”

Stephen Burr said that he hoped the victorious Republicans in the Union County commissioner’s race would work with the current board members to find solutions to the problems the county faces.

“Union County taxpayers are on the hook for $900 million in bond payments and interest over the next quarter century, with a looming budget crisis that will be brought on by not adequately planning for the coming plunge in property tax revenues, “ he said. Burr intends to remain active in the county and won’t rule out another run for the commission or other office in 2012.

Stephanie Watson, candidate for N.C. Senate District 16, noted that 2010 was the year the state Libertarian Party “turned our principles into action.”

“Our party’s candidates stepped forward, many running very active campaigns across the state with the hope of being elected.” she said. “It has been an honor to share this adventure with them. I’ve learned a lot as a first-time candidate that I hope to take with me into 2012, both for my own run and for our party’s race for governor.”

“Third party candidates are often thought to divide the vote of a major party, but this was clearly not an issue,” said Lon Cecil, who ran for U.S. House District 12. “As discussed in several forums with Congressman Watt, we have many economic and job problems that Congress will have to quickly address in the 112th session. It is only 24 months until the next elections”

In the still-to-be-decided 2nd Congressional District race, Tom Rose got more votes than the margin between incumbent Democrat Bob Etheridge and Republican Renee Elmers. The unofficial returns have the margin at 1,646 and Rose received 3,463 votes. Rose doesn’t speculate about whether his candidacy helped or hurt either, because he said he received support from both Democrats and Republicans.

“I’ve had Republicans, including one General Assembly candidate, tell me that they have voted for me, and have had Democrats and Republicans fed up with their parties making phone calls for me.”

“I do know that I convinced many Democrats to vote for me because they were upset with Etheridge but would not vote for the Republicans,” Rose said. “As amazing as it may seem, most of those who said this were over 60.”

Nationwide, the Libertarian Party extended its record of fielding more candidates than any other third party, more than 800 candidates. More than one million Americans voted for a Libertarian candidate for U.S. House and 15 of those candidates got more than five percent of the vote in a three-way race, a significant increase over past elections. That represents more than one percent of the vote total, more than any third party has earned since Henry Wallace’s Progressives in 1948.

Two U.S. Senate candidates received better than four percent of the vote in a three-way race, including party co-founder David Nolan who ran in Arizona against 2008 Republican presidential candidate John McCain.