Libertarians Want Full Candidate Slate in 2018



A special election in February brought some level of disappointment to Libertarians, who had raised a record amount for candidate Alison Foxall only to barely crack  3 percent in the contest. But party leaders saw plenty of silver lining in the race, even the foundation for a broader presence on the ballot this November. “With Sarasota in mind, ideally we would have a candidate for every spot and every seat that’s going to come available,” says Todd Dennison, chairman of the Libertarian Party of Sarasota County.

That’s right. The Libertarians want more than third-party status. They want to be the third party, proving an option for disaffected Democrats and Republicans in positions from the state House down to city and town commissions.

Foxall before the special election ended had filed to run against for House in District 72 but now says she is exploring other potential contests to enter. Libertarians acknowledge when Foxall jumped into the rare special election, they did not anticipate the heavy resources Democrats and Republicans would pour into the region, driving turnout to an astounding 36.1 percent. “When we calculated our win numbers it was based on a much lower turnout,” she says. If there had been, say, a third as many of the 44,267 ballots cast, then the 1,339 votes received by Foxall would have looked far more respectable. Democrat Margaret Good won with 23,081 votes, and Republican James Buchanan took 19,816.

But regardless of the final tally, Foxall says she learned on the campaign trail that plenty of voters have grown tired of the two-party system. “Republicans and Democrats have been very much the status quo across the board,” she says. “The more we run candidates, the more we are relevant.”

Dennison sees particular hope in the many nonpartisan municipal and local races. Three School Board seats are up for election, and North Port, Venice and Longboat Key all will hold elections. That doesn’t count many partisan and nonpartisan boards that will appear on the ballot even though they draw little media attention. “The lower position, the higher the success rate is going to be,” Dennison says.

But the long game will be ensuring the rising group of young voters who don’t have entrenched party loyalties and will consider the Libertarian message in the future. The anti-regulation and anti-restriction mindset, he hopes, will find a fair audience. “Locally our voters are old, so we have this massive clock of voters who are voting for the old parties or because they don’t want the other party to win,” Dennison says. “A lot of that is going away or changing with the younger generations.”

« View The Monday Mar 19, 2018 SRQ Daily Edition
« Back To SRQ Daily Archive

Other Articles in Politics

Jun 13, 2019Jacob Ogles

Cities Revolting Over Redistricting