Go to HHH home page.
Smart Politics
 


Sarvis Notches 3rd Best Libertarian Gubernatorial Mark in US History

Bookmark and Share

The Virginian has the best showing in a gubernatorial race for a Libertarian in 11 years and easily records the third best showing in party history

robertsarvis10.jpgAlthough he fell short of the highly-prized 10 percent mark - which would have given his party a ballot line in Virginia elections through 2021 - Libertarian gubernatorial nominee Robert Sarvis accomplished something only two of the more than 200 previous candidates from his party have achieved over the last four-plus decades.

Sarvis won 6.5 percent of the vote Tuesday in a competitive contest won by Democratic nominee Terry McAuliffe over Republican Ken Cuccinelli.

That marks the third best ever performance by a Libertarian in a gubernatorial election since the founding of the party in the early 1970s.

(Note: Excluded are write-in candidates or candidates appearing on the ballot as an independent who may have received a Libertarian endorsement (e.g. Ed Clark's independent bid in California's 1978 race where he won 5.5 percent of the vote)).

A total of 208 candidates have appeared on the gubernatorial general election ballot as Libertarians over the decades through the 2013 cycle, and only two won a larger percentage of the vote than Sarvis.

The best ever showing by a Libertarian gubernatorial candidate came in Alaska in 1982 with nominee Dick Randolph.

Randolph was a former Republican State Representative in the early 1970s who became the first Libertarian elected to state government in the country, winning two additional terms as a Libertarian in the Alaska House in 1978 and 1980.

In 1982, Randolph was the Libertarian nominee for governor and won 14.9 percent behind Democratic winner Bill Sheffield and Republican Tom Fink.

Wisconsin's Ed Thompson (brother of former four-term GOP governor and then Secretary of Health and Human Services Tommy Thompson) owns the silver medal with the 10.5 percent he won in 2002 as Republican incumbent Scott McCallum fell to Democrat Jim Doyle by just 3.7 points.

Prior to Sarvis, the only other Libertarian to reach 5 percent in a race for governor was Arizona's Sam Steiger in 1982.

Steiger was a former five-term Republican U.S. Representative and the GOP 1976 U.S. Senate nominee (losing to Dennis DeConcini) and received 5.1 percent of the gubernatorial vote in 1982 in a race won by Democratic incumbent Bruce Babbitt.

Interestingly, Democrats were victorious in each of these four races in which Libertarians captured at least five percent of the vote.

Overall, 20 Libertarians have reached three percent of the vote in races for governor since the 1970s.

Top 20 Libertarian Gubernatorial Performances in U.S. History

Rank
Year
State
Candidate
Percent
1
1982
Alaska
Dick Randolph
14.9
2
2002
Wisconsin
Ed Thompson
10.5
3
2013
Virginia
Robert Sarvis
6.5
4
1982
Arizona
Sam Steiger
5.1
5
1990
New Hampshire
Miriam Luce
4.9
6
1997
New Jersey
Murray Sabrin
4.7
7
2002
Oregon
Tom Cox
4.6
8
1994
New Hampshire
Steven Winter
4.4
9
1992
North Carolina
Scott McLaughlin
4.1
9
1994
South Dakota
Nathan Barton
4.1
11
2010
Georgia
John Monds
4.0
11
2012
Indiana
Rupert Boneham
4.0
11
1992
New Hampshire
Miriam Luce
4.0
14
1998
Wyoming
Dave Dawson
3.9
15
2012
Montana
Ronald Vandevender
3.8
15
2006
Georgia
Garrett Hays
3.8
17
1998
Georgia
Jack Cashin
3.4
18
1984
Montana
Larry Dodge
3.3
18
1990
Texas
Jeff Daiell
3.3
20
1994
Arizona
John Buttrick
3.1
Table compiled by Smart Politics.

Follow Smart Politics on Twitter.

Previous post: Eight is Enough?
Next post: Virginia's 'National Naysayer' Streak Ends While New Jersey's Continues

Leave a comment


Remains of the Data

Which States Have the Longest and Shortest Election Day Voting Hours?

Residents in some North Dakota towns have less than half as many hours to cast their ballots as those in New York State.

Political Crumbs

No 100-Year Curse for Roberts

Defeating his Tea Party primary challenger Milton Wolf with just 48.1 percent of the vote, Pat Roberts narrowly escaped becoming the first elected U.S. Senator from Kansas to lose a renomination bid in 100 years. The last - and so far only - elected U.S. Senator to lose a Kansas primary was one-term Republican Joseph Bristow in 1914. Bristow was defeated by former U.S. Senator Charles Curtis who went on to win three terms before becoming Herbert Hoover's running mate in 1928. Only one other U.S. Senator from the Sunflower State has lost a primary since the passage of the 17th Amendment: Sheila Frahm in 1996. Frahm was appointed to fill Bob Dole's seat earlier that year and finished 13.2 points behind Sam Brownback in the three-candidate primary field. Overall, incumbent senators from Kansas have won 29 times against two defeats in the direct vote era. (Curtis also lost a primary in 1912 to Walter Stubbs, one year before the nation moved to direct elections).


The Second Time Around

Former Republican Congressman Bob Beauprez became the seventh major party or second place gubernatorial candidate in Colorado to get a second chance at the office when he narrowly won his party's nomination last month. Two of the previous six candidates were successful. Democrat Alva Adams lost his first gubernatorial bid to Benjamin Eaton in 1884, but was victorious two years later against William Meyer. Democrat Charles Johnson placed third in 1894 behind Republican Albert McIntyre and Populist incumbent Governor David Waite but returned as the Fusion (Democrat/Populist) nominee in 1898 and defeated GOPer Henry Wolcott. Gubernatorial candidates who received a second chance but lost both general elections include Democrat Thomas Patterson (1888, 1914), Progressive Edward Costigan (1912, 1914), Republican Donald Brotzman (1954, 1956), and Republican David Strickland (1978, 1986).


more POLITICAL CRUMBS

Humphrey School Sites
CSPG
Humphrey New Media Hub

Issues />

<div id=
Abortion
Afghanistan
Budget and taxes
Campaign finances
Crime and punishment
Economy and jobs
Education
Energy
Environment
Foreign affairs
Gender
Health
Housing
Ideology
Immigration
Iraq
Media
Military
Partisanship
Race and ethnicity
Reapportionment
Redistricting
Religion
Sexuality
Sports
Terrorism
Third parties
Transportation
Voting