Category Archives: Election

Victory for the AR Libertarians! Election by the numbers

After running an incredible campaign, educating hundreds of thousands of Arkansans about the libertarian philosophy and the LPAR, our esteemed gubernatorial candidate Frank Gilbert earned 16,217 votes on Tuesday.

I hope you will help me congratulate Frank on a well-fought race. His determination, ability to truly connect with voters and his charming attitude were a breath of fresh air this election season. I firmly believe that our members could not have nominated a better candidate for Governor.

Now, what do our candidates’ vote totals mean?

Frank’s record-breaking vote totals (1.92%) show a marked increase over votes for Gary Johnson in 2012 (1.52%) and blew away the Barr/Root 2008 results (0.44%). Frank succeeded in winning more hearts and votes than any top-of-the-ticket candidate in AR election history in a year with less than 50% voter turnout. Congratulations, and thank you, Frank!

Unfortunately, we were not able to reach the state-mandated percentage requirement (3%) to retain our ballot access for 2016. This means that we will again have to raise tens of thousands of dollars and re-petition in order to run Libertarian candidates in 2016.

While this is not the outcome we were hoping for, I hope you will join me in celebrating the many Arkansas Libertarian victories in 2014.

*Arkansans elected THREE Libertarians this year! Congratulations to Mayor-elect Bobby Tullis of Mineral Springs, to Constable-elect Jacob Faught in Gentry and to Alderman Casey Copeland of Prairie Grove for his third consecutive win.

*Results show an increase in percentage and vote totals for Libertarian candidates. Our top-of-the-ticket returns improved from (approximately) 0.4% in 2008 to 1.5% in 2012 and again to 1.92% in 2014. Liberty is rising! In 2012, 96,116 votes were cast for 16 Libertarian candidates in 18 races (4.17%). In 2014, we significantly increased our number of candidates and more than quadrupled our number of votes. Our 28 candidates earned 387,687 votes out of 7,746,462 votes cast in their races. That’s a solid 5%.

*Looking only at our four Congressional races, we can see that a minimum of 65,712 unique voters cast ballots for Libertarian candidates in this state. Compare this to 37,082 votes cast for our four Congressional candidates in 2012, and you can see a 56% increase in the number of Libertarian voters in this state, even with lower voter turnout this year.

*Every Arkansan had at least nine Libertarian options on their ballot this year. Arkansas voters were among the luckiest in the nation with such a high number of Libertarians on each ballot.

*The LPAR was the only political party to have a candidate in every single debate hosted by AETN. This opportunity allowed our candidates to reach new voters and educate Arkansans about the libertarian philosophy throughout these repeatedly-televised debates.

*From 2012-2013, the LPAR’s membership increased by an extraordinary 65.38%. We also saw a 23.26% membership growth from 2013-2014. Lifetime memberships in the LPAR will see an increase of 300% by the end of this year. Arkansans with memberships in the National LP grew by 17.98% this year as well. Our social media pages are being followed by more people than ever. Even our facebook page “likes” have almost doubled since the time of the 2012 election. While these are not election results, we count this as yet another victory in our efforts to move Arkansas towards freedom.

If you would like a breakdown of all Libertarian candidates’ races, you can view our election results page HERE.

LPAR Election Results

I hope that you will join us in celebrating these victories. We have a long road ahead of us to put Libertarians on the ballot in 2016, and we need YOUR help to make that happen. If you haven’t already, please consider joining the LPAR as a state party member. Party memberships start at only $10/year and those funds help support the daily operations of the LPAR. We also greatly appreciate our monthly Torch Club Sustaining Members, whose monthly contributions help us better plan for the future. To thank our monthly donors, we offer LPAR exclusive merchandise, and it’s not too late to get on our upcoming shipment of gratitude gifts.

We thank you for your support, your votes and your help this election season. We want to continue offering Arkansans more freedom by putting Libertarians on the ballot. Will you help us?
Live FREE!

Jessica Paxton
Chairman – LPAR
chair@lpar.org

Can Frank Win?

This is a question I have heard over and over since Frank Gilbert announced his candidacy last year. To be honest, it is one of my favorite questions to hear a voter ask. The answer is always “yes.”

Frank has a track record of winning elections. In fact, he has held more elected offices than “front-runner” Asa Hutchinson. So, yes Frank can win; he already has. I guess the better and bigger question is, can Frank win the gubernatorial election? Once again the answer is “yes.” Will it be easy? No.

Before I go any further, I think it would be best if I defined what victory would be. The Libertarian Party is actually seeking two victories on Election Day: ballot access and a Libertarian governor. One is very much within our reach. With just 3% of the vote, the Libertarian Party will retain ballot access, ending the two-party system in Arkansas. This would be a huge victory for the Libertarian Party, saving us more than $30,000 in petition costs per election cycle.

Electing a Libertarian governor will not be easy, but it is doable. After all, the United States has been faced with more impossible challenges before. It was not an easy task for the founders to win America’s independence; in fact, it was improbable, but they did it anyway. Until Arkansas takes that same stand to declare its independence from the Republicrats and Demopublicans (as Frank likes to call them), Arkansas can never move forward.

Arkansas Republicans ran on repealing Obamacare, but instead they expanded it, along with every single Democrat in the Senate and House. Frank Gilbert is the only candidate in this race who unequivocally opposes the Obamacare “Private Option.” He is also the only candidate that supports putting parents back in the driver’s seat, by passing universal school choice.

Our quest isn’t as hard as what our founders faced. We can declare our independence through the ballot box.

But can Frank win? Perhaps a more compelling question is this: Can Arkansas win? We face the choice of a career politician, a D.C. lobbyist, or a hard-working and principled citizen like Frank Gilbert as our next governor. In my opinion, Arkansas can win only if Frank wins. And that can only happen if we stop asking questions about what is possible and start voting for the best choice, regardless of political party team-loyalty.

—Tyler Harrison, LPAR Executive Committee Member, At-Large

Coleman Supporters Welcome!

I respect the hard work and expansive spirit that made Coleman for Governor the most interesting and exciting thing to come out of the Arkansas GOP in my lifetime. But the truth is, I would cherish that work ethic and that spirit continuing with Gilbert for Governor!
—Frank Gilbert

Earlier this year, I wrote my first article for the LPAR Blog, Why I left. It was a short explanation for why I left the Republican Party to join the Libertarian Party. While not completely identical, I feel that my reasoning for swapping parties relates to what happened in Arkansas on May 20th.

I already identified as a libertarian, but I still believed that the GOP was the best vehicle to implement libertarian policies. I was wrong. After leaving the GOP, mainly because of how they treated Ron Paul at the 2012 convention, by changing the rules at the last minute to prevent him from fighting Romney for the nomination, I joined the Libertarian Party.

After being called a Paulbot by fellow Republicans, I knew that I wasn’t welcome in the GOP; only my vote was. Well, I decided that I would take my vote somewhere else. Today, I ask Coleman supporters to do the same. I cannot tell you how appalled I have been at the treatment from other Republicans towards Coleman supporters online. From calling them Colemanistas (whatever that means), to making fun of how bad they were going to lose to Asa Hutchinson, I knew how Coleman supporters must have felt.

Asa has already asked Coleman supporters to join his campaign, and Curtis has endorsed Asa (sort of). Curtis promised he would, and he is a stand up guy for keeping his word, but remember that your vote still belongs to you. You decide.

Now, I won’t pretend that there aren’t some differences between Curtis and Frank Gilbert, but they are minute when compared to the differences between Curtis and Asa. Curtis and Asa disagree on BIG issues: Obamacare, school choice, common core, and minimum wage.

Looking at what Curtis’ campaign was about (Let Arkansas Prosper), it’s clear which candidate stands closer to Curtis Coleman supporters: Frank Gilbert.

We will gladly welcome Coleman supporters to both the Gilbert campaign and the Libertarian Party of Arkansas.

—Tyler Harrison, At-Large Member, LPAR Executive Committee

Gilbert for Governor News Release – AR TV Biased?

For Immediate Release: May 28, 2014

Contact:  Frank Gilbert

501 317-5087 or Toll Free 855 662-8551

arkliberty@gmail.com

Libertarian candidate for Governor, Frank Gilbert, has accused several Arkansas television stations of bias and failure to serve the public interest.

KATV in Little Rock, KAIT in Jonesboro and KHBS/KHOG in Northwest Arkansas have announced that they will air a debate between the Republican and Democrat candidates for governor. The debate will be held on the campus of the University of Arkansas at Little Rock on October 7th.

Gilbert denounced the stations for failing to include new party candidates in the debate.

“The decision to ignore and therefore silence half the candidates in this race is inexplicable,” Gilbert said. “The stations have chosen to ignore their mandate to work in the public interest. They have also ignored the majority of Arkansans who believe we need a third political party,” he continued.

Gilbert did not exclude the possibility of legal action, but concluded, “These broadcasters need to rethink their decision. Just because the old parties will be buying more advertising, is no reason to ignore other candidates.”

Gilbert and Green Party candidate Josh Drake will be on voters’ ballots in November, but not in this debate unless something changes.

Reforming the Electoral System Now

In Plato’s treatise, “The Republic,” several different practical forms of government are discussed, including a criticism of democracy. During Plato’s lifetime, the Greek city-state of Athens had already practiced a direct-democracy style of government for many generations, and Plato had some very unflattering opinions concerning democratic politics. In summary, Plato theorized that only those individuals who are motivated by influence and control would seek power in a democratic society and that most citizens would relinquish their decision-making authority to a political class of demagogues. Similarly, Socrates also professed the sentiment that a democracy based on lawlessness is dangerous. In the dialogue, “Gorgias,” Socrates theorizes that everyone participating in the political process can suffer greatly if the society agrees to commit heinous acts such an unjustified military action against another nation for the sake of resources. Plato and Socrates agreed that the ideal ruler of a government is a philosopher concerned with the welfare of all the nation’s citizens and the pursuit of wisdom rather than wealth and power.

In the American experiment of government with a constitutional republic and democratic elections, it is crucial that those individuals seeking elected office are endowed with the wisdom to serve and help rather than the desire to rule and control. Otherwise, this experiment with democratic government is doomed to failure, as history has demonstrated in the classical republics of Greece and Rome. While many are unaware, all American citizens are potentially very politically influential. This heavy influence occurs because the decisions made by our leaders can directly affect the whole world. This moral imperative creates a responsibility to select leaders that will make thoughtful and wise judgments. Therefore, narcissistic, egotistical, and self-promoting leaders are the most dangerous enemies to a democratic form of government. They represent the ruin of a free society.

As Americans, it is our duty to be engaged in some form of leadership, even if it is simply staying informed about international events and domestic policies. To otherwise disregard this sacred duty is a perilous act of negligence. However, what is most discouraging is that ordinary Americans, outside of the political aristocracy, are no longer allowed to participate in the electoral system. In the United States, the elections only allow for two political parties to participate, which creates a basic duopoly on power and access to the government. While a majority of voting Americans may actually like the current two party system, it is not a legal or justified political arrangement, because it eliminates minority representation. This is the kind of democracy that Plato warned us about, and this is how a democracy turns into tyranny for those individuals who seek to speak the truth instead of what is politically advantageous.

As an American, it is no longer my right to run for public office unless I have the blessings of the plutocratic mafia that currently controls the two major political parties. Thus, to say that our elections in America are free would be an outright lie or a misunderstanding of the democratic process. Currently, only the well-vetted insider is allowed to even run as a political candidate, and no outside voices of dissent are allowed to seriously participate. This current system is allowed to exist through unconstitutional ballot access laws and by auxiliary devious means of bureaucratic control. These have the effect of banning and discouraging other political parties from engaging in elections. If this outrageous trend is allowed to continue, our democratic system of elections is doomed to only produce tyrannical and narcissistic leadership and to serve the interests of a powerful elite against the will of the people.

In my opinion, Americans should demand that this electoral system be reformed immediately, to allow all political parties and citizens to participate, regardless of economic or ideological disposition. Otherwise, the distant warnings of the past regarding the evils of democratic tyranny will haunt the United States, and the citizens of this country will be enslaved in governance by oligarchy.

—Jacob Holloway, LPAR candidate for Secretary of State

Campaign Season is here!

I’d like to encourage all Libertarian Party of Arkansas members to be active campaigners for the many Libertarian candidates we have on the ballot in Arkansas this year. It took a lot of hard work and money to achieve ballot status for our candidates, and we need to make sure that effort was for a good reason.

You can find our list of Libertarian candidates at the LPAR web site. Pick out at least one campaign (or more) that you can commit to work for. There are many ways that you can help—from telling your friends, to door-to-door campaigning, to making a financial donation, to arranging events for the candidate, to attending events with the candidate, and much more.

Our candidate for Governor, Frank Gilbert, will provide the LPAR with continued ballot status if he receives at least 3% of the vote in November. That would save us a lot of time, effort, and money. It’s up to us to do what we can to make that happen. So let’s GET INVOLVED!

—Kathleen Wikstrom, LPAR Vice-Chair

We Are Libertarians

We Are Libertarians

We are not “Republican-light.” We are not “Democratic-light.” We are Libertarians.

It is tiresome to continually be asked why we would want to run a Libertarian candidate against a “good Republican” or “a good libertarian leaning Republican.” Would this same person ask that of the Democratic Party? Would this same person expect the Democratic Party to not run someone against a “good moderate Republican?” Of course not. So why do they ask us? As Mark Axinn, LPNY chair said, we could just as easily ask “why are they running against so many good Libertarians?”

I believe Republicans and conservatives do this because they have a fundamental misunderstanding of what it means to be a Libertarian. They believe we share some sort of camaraderie with them but can offer no proof of what makes them think this way. They throw around words like “Republican-libertarian,” and “conservative libertarian,” and “constitutional libertarian” like these word salads have some sort of meaning. They do not.

A libertarian is someone who believes in the non-aggression principle, plain and simple. Simply put, the non-aggression principle states that no man may initiate force or fraud against another person or his property. This is also called “classically liberal” in many circles and fits just as well as the word libertarian. The political party that upholds these libertarian principles is conveniently named The Libertarian Party. Republicans and Democrats have no such moral compass. This is evident in the sort of legislation both parties have brought us. However, since I am talking about the Republicans today, let’s see what they have done to this state and country recently.

  • Republicans have brought us, in the last legislative session in Arkansas alone, a bill that steals $125 million from the taxpayer’s pockets to give to a for-profit steel mill.
  • The Republicans also passed legislation in the last session making it more difficult for the Libertarian Party to get on the ballot, restricting our freedom of speech and freedom of choice.
  • The Republicans also passed legislation increasing an already ridiculous burden for the citizens of Arkansas to bring ballot initiatives to the people to vote on.
  • The Republicans also brought us a bill to be voted on that will double their term limits.
  • The Republicans have also brought us a bill making it much more difficult and expensive for a person to get certain body modifications to their own body. And this was all just in the last session alone!
  • Now, in the current fiscal session, the Arkansas Republicans are trying to ram the private option funding through the House any way they can! The private option is the largest expansion of Medicaid in Arkansas history and was passed initially last session in our Republican-controlled legislature! And one of the biggest supporters of getting this passed in this fiscal session? Nate Bell, the supposed “libertarian Republican!”

And you wonder why these word salads like “libertarian Republican” have no meaning.

Federally, things are just as bad, if not worse. Republicans brought us the PATRIOT Act, Homeland Security, TSA, Medicaid Part D, multiple stimulus packages to prop up private companies, multiple wars to massively increase the military budget, pork, etc. I could keep going, but you get the point. All of these programs stole money from our pockets and stole freedom from our lives.

These are supposedly the “fiscally conservative” Republicans. And yet you wonder why Libertarians candidates run against “good Republicans.”

As independent reporter Steve Brawner said in the Times Record today, “”Libertarians are the party of less government — really less government…That sounds like Republican rhetoric, but Libertarians are a lot more serious about it, and the party’s less government philosophy lands it to the left of many Arkansas Democrats on social issues.” Mr. Brawner gets it. Why don’t the Republicans get it?

This is the reason the Libertarian Party is the third largest and fastest growing party in Arkansas, because we get it. We get that the people of this great country and great state are fed up with the false choices they are being given at the ballot box. We get that people are finally saying, “ENOUGH!” The Libertarian Party is giving these voters real choice, a real difference from the eerily similar Republican and Democrat parties. People every day are fed up, looking around, and realizing that they too are Libertarians.

R. Lee Wrights, the Vice-Chair of the Libertarian National Committee, said today on his Facebook page, “Libertarians do nothing for America or themselves by joining and supporting our oppressors! WE gain nothing and America loses every time someone falls for this load of elephant droppings. Republicans cannot be trusted. We have learned even the Democrats have more integrity than Republicans. Not by much, mind you, but by a degree. Democrats tell us they are going to take our money and give it to others, then, they get elected and do it. Republicans lie through their teeth and tell us, “Vote for us, we are not like that!” Then, they get elected, take our money, and give it to their friends. Republicans and Democrats are two wings on the same bird of prey.”

I could not have said it better myself. We are no longer content with elephant and donkey droppings. We are no longer content pulling the lever for these people who campaign one way and then legislate another. We are no longer willing to play their games and allow them to run roughshod over us. We are not Republicans. We are not Democrats. WE ARE LIBERTARIANS! And, in Arkansas anyway, we are here to stay and to win.

Rodger Paxton
LPAR Secretary

LPAR 2014 Post-Convention Press Release

The Libertarian Party of Arkansas nominated 26 candidates, the largest number in its history, for the 2014 election ballot at its state convention, held this weekend in Little Rock.

Heading the state Libertarian ticket is Frank Gilbert, running for Governor of Arkansas. Gilbert currently serves as constable of Dekalb Township in Grant County, attending to the rural areas of northwest Grant County. Gilbert also served as mayor of Tull, Arkansas, for eight years, coroner of Grant County for two years, and is a former president of the Bauxite Education Association.

“I am excited by the opportunity, as the Libertarian Party’s nominee for Governor, to carry the message that free men and women have an absolute right to conduct their lives in any way they choose, so long as they don’t infringe on the equal rights of others,” Gilbert said, “as well as our absolute responsibility to bear the result of our actions. The Libertarian Party is the only political entity that has that message for the voters of Arkansas. I believe it will be a refreshing change from the politics-as-usual of the old parties. I intend to campaign vigorously throughout the state.”

If the Libertarian Party candidate for Governor receives at least 3% of the vote, the party will be automatically certified to run candidates in the next election cycle, without having to petition for a spot on the ballot.

Libertarian candidates nominated for other statewide races are Nathan LaFrance, U.S. Senate; Christopher Olson, Lt. Governor; Jacob Holloway, Secretary of State; Brian Leach, Auditor; Chris Hayes, Treasurer; and Elvis D. Presley, Land Commissioner.

Libertarian candidates for US Congressional seats are Brian Willhite, 1st district; Debbie Standiford, 2nd district; Grant Brand, 3rd district; and Ken Hamilton, 4th district.

Candidates for Arkansas House include Wayne Willems, District 15; Marc Rosson, District 20; Greg Deckleman, District 31; Rodger Paxton, District 51; Taylor Watkins, District 80; Eddie Moser, District 95; Michael Kalagias, District 96.

Candidates nominated for other Arkansas races include Valerie Emmons, Pulaski Co. Justice of the Peace, District 2; William Brackeen, Pulaski Co. Justice of the Peace, District 13; Christian Parks, Lonoke Co. Justice of the Peace, Ward District 2; W. Whitfield Hyman, Springdale Constable; Jacob Faught, Gentry Constable; Glen Schwarz, Pulaski Co. Judge; and Shawn Hipskind, Saline County Judge.

The Libertarian Party is the third largest party in Arkansas. The Libertarian Party of Arkansas formally submitted more than 16,000 signatures to the Arkansas Secretary of State’s office last October in order to run candidates on the 2014 ballot.

LPAR in the news – “Third option for voters now on the menu”

A fantastic article by Steve Brawner, and independent journalist in Arkansas.

Third option for voters now on the menu

At the Cotham’s in the City restaurant near the Capitol, two potential candidates for governor are eating lunch at the same long table.

That might be awkward if they were both Democrats or Republicans, or if they were one and the other, and both had a chance to win. Instead, they’re both Libertarians — Frank Gilbert, who was elected a Saline County constable last year, and businessman Shawn Hipskind. A third potential candidate, Glen Schwartz, isn’t at the restaurant.

“In the past, Libertarians probably had to play ‘rock-scissors-paper’ to see who had to run for governor,” Gilbert jokes.

Party chairperson Jessica Paxton and her husband, Rodger, the party’s previous chairman, say their party has some momentum going into 2014. They point to the government shutdown as evidence that Republicans and Democrats can’t be trusted to run the government and that the government can’t be trusted at all.

Party members are under no illusion that one of their own will be elected governor next year, but it was nevertheless a time for celebration. A couple of hours earlier and after months of work, they had submitted 16,441 signatures to the secretary of state’s office in order to qualify for next year’s ballot. They need 10,000 valid ones.

Republicans and Democrats don’t have to do that because their presidential candidates won at least three percent of the vote in 2012. Third parties, who have trouble reaching that threshold, say such rules stack the deck in favor of the established two parties.

“The Republicans and Democrats say that, ‘Oh, we can’t have a cluttered ballot. Oh, we can’t give you too many choices because you’re not smart enough to determine between four people whom you would want to vote for, so we can only give you two,’” Jessica Paxton tells me over a plate of food that’s getting cold while I interview her. “I say, crowd the ballot. You know, if 12 people want to run for governor, let them.”

There was a time when Arkansas Republicans were where the Libertarians are — irrelevant but aspiring. Now they control both houses of the Legislature.

But that situation might be different. Democratic dominance was a holdover from the Civil War, but the two parties’ policies were not so very different. Libertarians are different. They mean it when they say they support smaller government. They typically support major cutbacks in social services and the military. They also usually favor gay marriage, abortion rights and ending the war on drugs.

They will have a convention next spring to nominate candidates. Paxton says she expects the party to compete for many positions and that members are interested in running in all four congressional districts and for the U.S. Senate seat.

That last one might have an impact in a close race. A recent Talk Business/Hendrix College poll found that Democrat Mark Pryor and Republican Tom Cotton are separated by only one point. Jessica Paxton collected 2.6 percent of the vote running for Congress in the 1st District last year.

Interestingly, that poll found that the largest bloc of Arkansas voters aren’t Democrats (31 percent) or Republicans (25 percent) but independents (36 percent). Counting the 8 percent who say they are “other,” 44 percent of Arkansans told a pollster they don’t identify with either of the two major parties.

Still, voters who call themselves independents tend to vote one side or the other. Pollster and analyst Jay Barth, a Hendrix College professor, said 71 percent of independent Arkansans voted for Mitt Romney in 2012. The three third-party presidential candidates only won about 2.5 percent of the vote combined.

Will voters give third party and independent candidates a chance in 2014? They haven’t much in the past.

However, there were many choices on the Cotham’s menu, and diners seemed capable of making their own decisions. Even rock-paper-scissors involves three choices.

Steve Brawner is an independent journalist in Arkansas. His email address is brawnersteve@mac.com. Follow him on Twitter at @stevebrawner.

Read more: The Courier – Your Messenger for the River Valley – Third option for voters now on the menu

LPAR making history – again!

It’s an exciting time for the LPAR and we invite you to celebrate with us!

On October 15th, members of our Executive Committee will be heading to the Capitol to turn in 16,000+ signatures from our ballot access petition drive. We would love to have you join us on the Capitol steps at 10am for a press conference. Immediately following the press conference, you are welcome to continue on to the Secretary of State’s office for a front-row seat to the signature hand-over process.
For those of you who have recently joined us, or for those that need a refresher, here is why this is an incredibly important day:The state requires 10,000 signatures of registered voters here in Arkansas in order to grant us “New Political Party” status. Once we turn in those signatures, the Secretary of State has 30 days to verify that 10,000 of our 16,000 are valid. Upon verification, the LPAR will be a recognized political party in Arkansas and will therefore be able to run candidates in the 2014 elections.

If you can’t join us, but would like to help with our mission of spreading true liberty across Arkansas, click HERE for a list of ways you can get involved.

We look forward to seeing you on the 15th! Email chair@lpar.org if you are interested in running for office, setting up a county affiliate or want more information about upcoming events.

In liberty,

Jessic PaxtonLPAR Chair