I’ve not had many good things to say about my home state of Virginia, the least of which was its politicians banning the term "sea level rise" and "climate change." Its politics are so royally messed up that last year’s gubernatorial race was between a crony corporatist and a regressive Bible thumper. (Who won? Does it matter?! Either way, we lost!)
If there’s one good thing to say about my home state, it’s that the Libertarian Party is slowly, but surely, growing there. Just recently, eleven Libertarian candidates made the deadline for this year’s midterm election ballot, and they outnumber the Democratic candidates:
Eleven Libertarian candidates for the House of Representatives from Virginia and the party’s U.S. Senate candidate all turned in the minimum number of signatures to qualify for the November ballot before the deadline on Tuesday, June 10.With so many Libertarians on this year's ballot, there’s a good chance that one of them could potentially win a House seat. Sure, that hope is grossly optimistic, but not completely unfounded.
These candidates would constitute what’s called a “full slate” contesting the state’s congressional seats.
Every House candidate submitted more than the minimum number of 1,000 signatures. Senate candidate Robert Sarvis turned in “between 15,000 and 17,000,” he told me. Statewide candidates must submit a total number of 10,000 signatures that includes 400 signatures from each of the 11 House districts.
Three of the LP candidates — Will Hammer in the Sixth Congressional District, Jeffrey Carson in the Eighth Congressional District, and Bill Redpath in the Tenth District — have already been informed by the State Board of Elections that they have qualified for the ballot. Hammer is running against incumbent Bob Goodlatte (R-Roanoke), chairman of the House Judiciary Committee. Carson and Redpath are running for open seats made vacant by the retirements of, respectively, Jim Moran (D-VA8) and Frank Wolf (R-VA10).
It will take a few days for the SBE and local electoral boards to review the signatures and other paperwork before certifying the ballot status of the remaining eight House candidates and Sarvis.
According to election-law expert Richard Winger, the last time a party other than Republicans or Democrats ran a full slate of congressional candidates in Virginia was 1916, when the Socialist Party did it. If the LPVA succeeds in fielding all eleven House candidates, it will have more nominees on the ballot than the Democratic Party of Virginia this year.
During last year’s gubernatorial race, the Libertarian candidate, Robert Sarvis, managed to pull 6.6 percent of the vote with more than 142 thousand votes, or as Reason explains, “five times the vote total Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson won last November.”
Of course, Sarvis ended up losing, but if he managed to gain that much support in the last election, surely there’s enough support this year to send at least one of these Congressional candidates to Washington. We can only hope.