Many watching the libertarian migrations to New Hampshire are probably wondering how the libertarians did here in the Shire, specifically both the Libertarian Party candidates and those libertarians running as Republicans and Democrats for state house and senate.
First, Libertarian candidate for NH governor Max Abramson got a higher vote percentage than every other Libertarian Party candidate for governor across the United States in 2016’s election. He did better than Gary Johnson did in NH, in fact. Beyond the feather in his cap, the 4.3% of the vote he received is significant because it qualifies the Libertarian Party of New Hampshire for equal ballot access with the Republicans and Democrats for the first time in 20 years! That means Libertarian candidates no longer have to worry about petitioning to gain ballot access – a costly and time-consuming process. Now we can pay the same affordable filing fees ($2 for state rep) that the Rs and Ds pay.
Why has it been twenty years since we’ve had this status? In 1990, the LP gained official party recognition for the first time. They held it until 1997 when the state legislature (specifically a group of Republicans) decided to raise the vote threshold from 3% to 4%, disqualifying the LP from official party status. Their candidates for governor since that time were unable to reach the new, raised bar.Until now. Riding on a national wave of frustration with the big parties, Libertarian candidate for governor Max Abramson managed to score 4.3%, (30,959 votes). This despite being excluded from the debates and also after making headlines for being a peaceful felon for defending his property with a gun.
The news couldn’t come at a better time for the LP of NH, which for many years has been languishing under a do-nothing chairman. That chair was replaced at a special convention called just weeks beforehand, where Free Keene blogger Darryl W Perry was unanimously elected chairman by those attending the convention. In addition, principled former Arkansas LP chair Rodger Paxton was elected vice-chair along with former independent candidate for governor Jilletta Jarvis taking the secretary position – much-needed new blood was transfused into the NH Libertarian Party, just in time for this epic win by Abramson. The gates are now open for libertarians to storm the ballots in 2018 with candidates statewide.
The second big win last night was the election of libertarians running as Republicans and Democrats statewide, despite active and expensive campaigns by haters to out them as “Free Staters”. As they did in 2014, the big-government lobbying group “Granite State Progress” published a well-researched list of the state rep and senate candidates they believed to be “Free Staters”, aka libertarians running as Rs and Ds. Of their list of 39 such candidates in 2014, 15 were elected. This time, in 2016 they identified 32 candidates as “Free Staters”. Of those 32, there were 15 winners!That alone would be good news – that we won an even higher percentage of the identified-as-free-staters races than 2014, with many incumbents holding on to their seats, including multi-term state rep Carol McGuire who dominated her re-election with 62% of the vote. Keith Ammon, an incumbent who was targeted by an expensive full-color direct mail hitpiece flyer that was sent to homes in his district, won. Multiple others took first place in their races, as Keith did. However, the good news doesn’t end with just those fifteen. According to posts on Facebook, there are at least several other “Free Stater” candidates who won that Granite State Progress was unable to identify.
Not only that, but the New Hampshire Liberty Alliance’s endorsed candidates did very well, with 66 of their 101 endorsements for NH state house winning their races last night and four of their seven NH senate endorsees winning theirs. (My source for comparing names with wins/losses is the AP’s election results.)
Once again, New Hampshire has proven that it’s the premiere destination for libertarians who are willing to move to work for more liberty. Libertarians in other states are not having close to the level of success we have and continue to build on year-after-year. As thousands more liberty activists are expected to arrive over the next several years thanks to the Free State Project and Shire Society, you really need to ask yourself when are you planning to move?