Friday, April 30, 2010

Surveys in Liberty: Jeff Daiell

This is the start in a series of personalized questionnaires with some of the liberty candidates we cover. I decided to contact Mr. Daiell because he has run some of the top Libertarian campaigns in Texas history. He kindly agreed to answer my questions, in bold and italics. Mr. Daiell's answers are in normal text.

Please note, The Libertarian Party state convention will be in Austin from June 11th - June 13th. The Texas LP will choose its statewide nominees at this convention, including its gubernatorial candidate.

the Libertarian Party

Why did you choose to run as a Libertarian rather than as a Republicanor Democrat?

Advocates of Liberty are not welcome in either Beltway Party. Only by applying pressure from the outside -- whether by winning elections or, often, just by drawing a few percent of the total vote away from the two tax-subsidized parties -- will there be any movement toward greater respect for the free market and civil liberties.

There is a heated race for the Libertarian National Committee chair. Do you have any preferences for the position?

I have been focused on Texas issues to this point.

In Texas there is a perception that voting for a Libertarian will hurtthe Republican Party. Is this accurate?

The Libertarian Party draws votes from both Beltway parties. Much depends on the individual race. Were the two tax-subsidized parties to nominate more advocates of Liberty, more candidates respectful of the limits placed on Government by the Federal and State constitutions, Libertarians would not draw as many votes from them as we do --- and we often draw enough to win elections! Indeed, several hundred Libertarians have been elected to public office.

Why should you be the Libertarian nominee for Governor over your competitors?

Every one of the other contenders for the Libertarian nomination would be a vast improvement over either of the nominees of the Beltway parties. But I am the only candidate for the Libertarian nomination who has experience running an active, Statewide, partisan race.

In recent years the Texas LP has experienced remarkable growth. How can Libertarians build on this success?

We have begun hiring full-time staff to ensure that tasks that might not be fulfilled by unpaid volunteers are, in fact, accomplished. Also, if we do well enough in this year's gubernatorial race, we can secure our place on the ballot for a period long enough to allow us to concentrate on winning races at the local level. I am the only Libertarian in Texas to have done that well in a race for Governor (see "Political History" on the Meet Jeff page at

Politicians and Politics

What are your thoughts on your opposition, Republican Governor RickPerry and Democrat Mayor Bill White?

Both represent the failed policies of the past; both are more concerned with the agenda of the special interests than what is best for John and Jane Texas.

Both Bill White and Rick Perry have millions of dollars with which to campaign. How will you compete in the money race?

Because Libertarians represent John Q. Public instead of J. P. Morgan, we cannot match their campaign treasuries. If nominated, I will, while employing TV and radio to the extent possible, also use other media to reach out to Texas voters.

Your Plans

If you could immediately make one change in Austin, what change would it be?

I would like to see a Libertarian Governor, Lieutenant-Governor, and Libertarian majorities in both Houses of the Texas Legislature. In terms of policy, I would like to begin moving away from property taxes.

I am sure this will come up soon for you- how do you feel about the recently passed immigration law in Arizona?

I favor an approach that makes legal immigration easier while transferring social services to the private sector so that taxpayers are not burdened by the influx of individuals from other lands. This would insure that those who seek to come here and support themselves have that opportunity, while those who wish to exploit the public-sector social-welfare network will not be able to. The status quo is not working and must be changed, in ways consistent with the Constitution.

What is your long-term plan to solve Texas budget shortfalls?

I favor more aggressive use of the Texas Sunset Act (see "Issues" page at to reduce the State bureaucracy. I favor transferring social services to the private sector. I want to re-focus law enforcement more exclusively against crimes of violence, theft, and fraud to reduce the damage done to the Texas economy by such criminal acts. I want to repeal any regulations and any statutes that restrict competition in any industry in Texas -- this will lower prices, raise wages, and allow the economic growth we need while reducing the expenditures being made to enforce those anti-competitive rules.

Your softball question: Succinctly, why should you be the next Governor of Texas?

Because the gubernatorial nominees of the two tax-subsidized parties will not enact the reforms (such as the ones cited in previous answers in this survey) needed in Texas, whereas I would work with legislators of all three parties to put those changes into effect.

For Texas and Liberty,

Jeff Daiell

If you are running a viable campaign somewhere in the country, do not hesitate to post here and indicate your interest. I am always looking for opportunities to help voters connect with potential representatives of their interests.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

The International Rule of Law

It is true that government does not rule society; however, government does provide the framework under which society operates. This framework may be succinctly described by the “Rule of Law.” Political philosopher FA Hayek describes this term in The Road to Serfdom as meaning “Government in all its actions is bound by rules fixed and announced beforehand – rules which make it possible to foresee with fair certainty how the authority will use its coercive powers in given circumstances and to plan one’s individual affairs on the basis of this knowledge.” This ideal is present in legal systems all over the world.

The Constitution in the United States clearly serves this role. First, Articles I – III enumerate the powers the federal government may exercise. Second, the Bill of Rights prevents the government’s excessive intrusion upon the autonomy of its citizens. Citizens may then act within their appropriate spheres, understanding to what degree the government may exercise over authority over their private lives. For example, under the 2nd Amendment an individual has the right to bear arms (based upon District of Columbia v Heller), but that individual may also have their property seized by the government under the principle of eminent domain described in the 5th Amendment. The clear delineation of government authority versus individual autonomy allows each of us to effectively exercise our liberty.

Other countries’ legal systems serve a similar role. For example, while the United Kingdom has no written constitution, its system of common law provides for precedent to guide and restrict the authority with which the central government may act. French civil law, based largely upon the Napoleonic Code, operates on the principle of comprehensively gathering all precedents of French law into one accessible, rather than monolithic, entity. Even religious law may serve to guide a populace and create specific spheres of governance. Sharia law, practiced by Islamic nations like Iran and Saudi Arabia, provides for a council of legal scholars, or the ulama, to interpret law and issue declarations based upon consensus and religious documents like the Quran.

We see common trends in each of these legal systems. For example, the reliance of the ulama upon consensus would include consideration of past decisions in a manner much like English common law. Similarly, French codification has been borrowed by the United States on both the statewide and national levels (as in the Federal Code). Despite geographical and cultural differences, countries share the most effective legal innovations to govern and guide their constituencies.

As globalization continues, this process will only intensify. Today, we see a move toward international law, whether it is the recent passage of the Lisbon Treaty in the EU or the International Criminal Court. It remains to be seen how effective these institutions will prove in the long-term; however, they represent an extension of the process of borrowing and adapting legal systems in order to create a more effective framework for governance. The Rule of Law continues to adapt to a changing world.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Indiana Senate and Facebook

Two announcements:

1) I have put up a new poll on the Indiana Senate race. The Republican Party primary there is May 4th, featuring frontrunners Dan Coats, John Hostettler and Marlin Stutzman. In addition, there are two other tea parties, prominent Democrat Representative Brad Ellsworth, and a Libertarian in the race. Vote and let your voice be heard!

2) The Liberty Ticker now has a fan page on Facebook. Please go here to give it some support!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

The Liberty Ticker, 4/22/10

We have a heavy plate for the Liberty Ticker tonight. Some big names, some relatively obscure names, and lots of interesting battles.


Fighting onwards (John Hostettler, R-IN)

His primary is coming up on May 4th. However, former Representative John Hostettler is having a headache he probably doesn't want to have again. His fundraising is anemic, hauling in only $37,000 and having only $10,000 on hand. For the record, one day of statewide advertising in Indiana is ~ $30,000. Hostettler's campaign has launched a money blitz in the hopes of solving this massive problem.

This contrasts with his opponents. Though still weak for a candidate with high-profile connections, former Senator Dan Coats hauled in $379,000, far more than all 3 major candidates. In addition, Coats got the best endorsement you can get in Indiana: Mike Pence.

Meanwhile, the weakest candidate in the race, Marlin Stutzman, secured the endorsement of arch-conservative Jim Demint. This will help the upstart tea partier and state Senator with fundraising, something Hostettler really does not need. Stutzman and Hostettler both have close tea party connections, so if the split the anti-establishment vote Coats could slide into victory (despite having the most baggage). And without that money, Hostettler cannot break past Stutzman and Coats.

Coup and conflict (Rand Paul, R-KEN)

Mixed stories for Rand Paul tonight. On the plus side, Rand is launching an ad buy featuring Sarah Palin before the Kentucky primary (a boon in conservative Kentucky politics). On the negative, Dr. Paul has had a conflict with Kentucky Right to Life over a questionnaire. Apparently, the original copy excluded an answer to one question, but the campaign produced another copy with an answer (although apparently not the one submitted). Still, the Paul campaign maintains it is 100% pro-life.

Civil War (Mike Lee, R-UT)

Normally, Republican Senator Bob Bennett would be sitting high and dry. But Utah has an unusual electoral system that causes most of the primary action to occur in each party's state convention.

Instead, a candidate can win the nomination with 60% of the vote in a 2 way race at the state convention. Suddenly, Bennett must watch out on his right flank. Many Tea Partiers are angry that Bennett voted for TARP. Now, those Tea Partiers appear to be trying to seize control of the Utah GOP. The candidate that the greatest number of these people appear to back is Mike Lee.

Mike Lee is the Utah Attorney General. He polls competitively for the convention and appears to be the frontrunner, but it all depends who makes it to the 1 on 1 with Bennett if he wins the nomination or another Tea Partier, like self-funding businessman Tim Bridgewater. Lee stands out for recent comments on Afghanistan coming out against nation building in that country.

For the record (Bob Smith, R-FL)

The former New Hampshire Senator has officially ended his bid for the Senate in Florida. He did not get the necessary fundraising or press to compete against Tea Party upstart Marco Rubio or incumbent Governor Charlie Crist in the Republican primary. He has abortively run for Senate in Florida in the past.


Missed a frontrunner (Justin Amash, R-MI-03)

My bad. I completely forgot about one of the most viable bids a liberty-lover could find, that of Justin Amash. Justin is currently a state representative. He is also an open Ron Paul supporter and a Tea Party favorite.

Justin helped clear the field in this district when he launched a primary bid against incumbent Republican Vern Ehlers. The incumbent soon retired, breaking this conservative district wide open.

Amash is leading in the fundraising (for both the Republicans and Democrats) and has been campaigning hard. He has raised $116k and has $66k on hand.

Back to '94 (Adam Kokesh, R-NM-03)

Adam Kokesh has signed onto the Tea Party's Contract From America. The document, pushed by groups like Tea Party Patriots and FreedomWorks, is an attempt to repeat the Contract With America from 1994.

High-profile rankings (Jeff Flake and Michelle Bachmann, R-AZ and R-MN-06)

The Club For Growth, the group that is apt to intervene in Republican primaries in favor of fiscally conservative candidates with huge ad buys, has released its ratings for congressmen for the year. Coming in first is Jeff Flake, the anti-earmark crusader. Flake just recently endorsed John McCain in the Arizone Senate race.

Coming in at number 2 for the CfG is the always controversial Michelle Bachmann.


Politics as the game is played (Kristin Davis and Warren Redlich, L-NY)

Wow. Warren Redlich has leaked a large amount of correspondence with conservative New York politico Roger Stone, and there is lots to take in there. Essentially, Stone asked Redlich to jump into the Attorney General race and let Davis get the Libertarian Governor nomination, and in exchange he could work with Paladino to get on the Republican primary ballot and cover petitioning costs. If not, Stone with take Redlich to court over the name Libertarian. I highly suggest skimming through the emails.

Some of the highlights:

1) Stone's association with the Davis campaign appears to be a strategy to emphasize the socially liberal side of libertarianism to take votes from Andrew Cuomo (the Democrat) and get them to Tea Partier Carl Paladino.

2) There is talk of Larry Flynt jumping onto Davis' ticket in some role.

3) Davis WILL NOT be attending the LP Convention in New York. Instead, she will petition to make her own party (which doesn't bode well for Redlich or Davis, having to compete for votes in the general election).

4) Stone mentioned the Republican, Lazio, could be offered a judgeship to clear the way for Paladino. Paladino, for his part, is preparing a massive ad buy for his self-funded campaign.

WHEW. Welcome to New York politics.

Upstart debater (Eric Cooper, L-IA)

Debates can have a powerful impact on elections. For Libertarian Eric Cooper, he must surely be thankful for his performance recently. Cooper apparently dominated a recent gubernatorial debate in an audience filled with conservatives, sparking some press. The article notes that the rhetoric employed focused more on limited government and fiscal conservatism than personal freedom.


More polling (Ron Paul, R-TX)

Somehow Ron Paul always has something to earn a place in the Liberty Ticker. PPP has just released a new poll on the Republican Primary in New Hampshire. Paul runs better than he did in 2008 with a showing of 7% at the moment (in 2008, he pulled in ~4% of the vote).

Also of note, PPP is soon to add Ron Paul to its nationwide polling for president next month, along with Newt Gingrich. Currently, it looks as if Mitt Romney is the frontrunner for the GOP nomination to take on Obama.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Recent Corrections

When you put out lots of material on your blog, you are bound to make a few mistakes. I am no exception, for better or for worse. So here, I will post up the mistakes I know I have made the past few weeks since The Liberty Ticker's inception.

1) This isn't much of an error, but when I mentioned an internal poll on the Republican primary in the Indiana Senate race, I neglected to include Marlin Stutzman. Stutzman is a state Senator who is also running to succeed Evan Bayh with a significant amount of tea party support (he has Jim Demint's endorsement. While I don't support him myself, he is a viable candidate and should have been mentioned. I make it a point to include someone in mentions of polls if they are running competitively, and his 18% was competitive. That isn't to say he will win- I would still say it is a race between Hostettler and Coats; however, he will definitely play a big role in it.

2) More prominently, one 'campaign' I covered was that of Mike Munger. In 2008 he ran with the LP for Governor in North Carolina. I incorrectly wrote that he was running for another office in 2010, but this is not the case. I do think it is likely he will be running again in 2012 for Governor, but as for 2010 expect him to simply lend support.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Legalized Monopoly - Ballot Access Laws in America

Except for the board game of the same name, Americans have generally railed against the power of monopolies. With their ability to maintain predominance over the production and sale of some product, monopolies are seen as having the power to destroy competition and fairness. However, few realize this concept can extend beyond the marketplace and into our government. Incumbent elected officials, in the guise of Republicans and Democrats, have managed to secure a monopoly on our political process. Their access to less stringent ballot restrictions, a friendly bureaucracy, and favorable court decisions has created a situation where independent or minor party candidates have an institutional disadvantage in politics which subverts the concept of democracy in our society.

In many states, minor party and independent candidates face the unique barrier of having to gain ballot access solely by petition. This is the tedious process of contacting one registered voter at a time to sign his or her name on a petition to allow the candidate in question to simply appear on the ballot. Many different restrictions can make this a Herculean task. Sometimes, an excessive number of signatures are required to gain ballot access. This is the case in Georgia, where a 1943 law requires the signatures of 5% of registered voters on a petition in order for minor party and independent candidates to gain ballot access. Since 1943, no minor party or independent candidate has appeared on the ballot in Georgia for the United States House of Representatives. However, there have been plenty of Republicans and Democrats, who are only required to pay a filing fee to appear in the primary election. Other restrictions make the process even more difficult for minor party or independent candidates. Texas is considered a difficult state for minor parties because of the “primary screen-out”. Essentially, the number of signatures is not the problem here; instead, the problem is who can sign. If a registered voter participates in a Republican or Democratic Party primary, he or she is barred from signing a nominating petition for a minor party or independent candidate. This barrier is notable when one considers that the act of signing a petition to place a candidate on the ballot is different than actually voting for said candidate. However, the two political parties in power cannot grasp this nuance.

Beyond the mechanics of the bias in our political system toward the two major parties, there is a substantial bias in implementation of election law. One particularly notable example occurred in Texas in the 2008 presidential election. Only one minor party candidate obtained ballot access here, Libertarian Bob Barr. Besides this candidate, only the two major parties were assumed to appear on the ballot. However, it became apparent after the deadline of August 26th that only Bob Barr had completed all the necessary steps to file for ballot access. With both major parties missing the deadline to certify their candidates, one would think that only Mr. Barr would appear on the ballot for the race in Texas. However, the Secretary of State of Texas stated that because she had already planned to place the Democratic and Republican nominees on the ballot for President of the United States, irrespective of the paperwork filed, they would remain in place in that faculty. This contrasts with the stringent deadlines imposed on the Libertarian Party of Texas when in 2004 it was forced to gain sufficient signatures to remain on the ballot in the short period of 75 days- a major burden for a minor party. Apparently leniency may be granted only to major parties rather than all parties.

A similar bias was found in the 2008 presidential election in Louisiana. After a hurricane struck and the Secretary of State of Louisiana closed his office for a week, Bob Barr missed the deadline to file. One would expect leniency in this matter, given the obstacles put forward by nature. In fact, the congressional primary in Louisiana was postponed for that very reason. However, this leniency was not granted. The only difference in the congressional primary’s delay and Barr’s lack of such a reprieve were the victimized parties. In the former situation, every political party would be injured; however, in the latter only minor party candidates like Barr would be at risk. Once again, a clear bias may be found in implementation of election law.

Both of these instances also present another interesting aspect of the problems with ballot access law. There is a substantial bias in favor of the major political parties in the American court system. It must be noted that in both of the implementation problems cited above, the Libertarians promptly turned to our legal system for recourse. In the Texas case, Bob Barr appealed the decision of the Secretary of State to manipulate the rules for the major parties by filing for injunctive relief; essentially, Barr argued the major parties should be removed from the ballot. This motion was rejected with no explanation by the Texas Supreme Court. A parallel case developed from the situation earlier described in Louisiana. There, Barr sued the state for the lack of leniency in granting ballot access and lost in the case Libertarian Party et al v Dardenne. This appears to be the same principle at work as in Texas, yet no uniform decision process was applied. In fact, the one constant is that both decisions disadvantaged minor parties. Rather than being impartial guardians of the law, the courts act as another agent of the Republican and Democratic Parties.

Critics of my position may claim that no substantial abuse occurs, as minor parties have relatively little support compared to the major parties anyway. This idea is not compelling for two reasons. First, one could argue this is a consequence of the flawed ballot access system we have today. When minor party and independent candidates must pour resources into financing a petitioning campaign, their major party competitors have a distinct advantage with resources to advertise and build a sophisticated campaign structure. Such a situation crippled independent presidential candidate John Anderson in 1980, who was forced to spend half of his campaign coffers on the process of simply getting on the ballot. After initially polling above 25%, Anderson’s lack of resources and inability to effectively advertise may have contributed to his lackluster 7% on election day. We may surmise one possible reason Republicans and Democrats retain such a stranglehold on our political system is that they have the ability to legislate such dominance with restrictive ballot access laws.

Beyond this point, a more fundamental principle is at stake with the mentality I described above. The question is not one of politics but democracy. It is true that one accepted principle of democracy is that the majority is given the power to govern. However, another important aspect of this is that the minority is supposed to be allowed to voice dissent. One must wonder if such dissent may be effectively voiced without alternative candidates to select on our election ballot. Our current conception of ballot access law is antithetical to the concept of democracy. True self-rule is not found in the victors curtailing the options of the electorate. Instead, we find only the silencing of minority parties and independent candidates, who are largely excluded through such coercive measures. In the face of such egregious violations of the rights of the minority, a startling conclusion may be reached: one is free to participate in democracy only if you select the manipulated choices of those in power. Of course, such manipulated democracy is not democratic at all.

Whether one looks at our laws, bureaucracy, or court system, one may find clear bias in our ballot access laws. Just like in the market, all of this points to a monopoly of our political system. Only this monopoly does not curtail competition over some product; instead, it controls the voices of the American people. Only with reform of these laws may our society reclaim true democracy.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Liberty Ticker, 4/16/10

Lots of news, so little time!


On the upswing (Doug Turner, R-NM)

The outsider campaign of Doug Turner continues to pick up steam. First, a poll (a bit dusty from two weeks ago) showed Turner as one of the two top GOP candidates in the general election. Then, Turner reported raising $400,000 in the 1st quarter of the year, although ~ half of this was a loan to his campaign. Still, this sum is competitive with other GOP candidates. Finally, the campaign recently released a new ad in the race that is going to be aired statewide (it helps that his business, DW Turner, is a public relations company). All in all, Turner has competitive momentum on his side.

Turner has been running the outsider's campaign in New Mexico. He chaired both of Gary Johnson's successful runs for Governor on the Republican ticket. Lately, Turner has been launching a crusade against cap and trade.

Libertarian Slugfest (Kristen Davis and Warren Redlich, L-NY)

The most interesting bids in the New York gubernatorial race are not on the Republican side, where recent Democrat Steve Levy is taking on moderate Republican Rick Lazio. Nor is it in Democrat Andrew Cuomo, the overwhelming favorite to win. And it is definitely not in Carl Paladino.

No, the most interesting race is on the Libertarian ticket. Two cultural factions of the LP are at war in New York. First, we have the tea partying, more conservative faction embodied in Guilderland town board member Warren Redlich. On the opposite side is former New York Governor Elliot Spitzer's madam, Kristen Davis. She is running a bit of an unorthodox campaign with some more traditional faces mixed in.

Both are running competitive campaigns. Redlich definitely has more of a traditional base in Libertarian politics (his campaign manager is LP state chair Eric Sundwall); however, Davis has actively advocated for libertarian politics and has been working Libertarian events since the campaign started. Redlich, for his part, stated that he would consider running for another office if Davis wins the nomination.


Defeat (Holly Turner, R-TX-State House)

Holly Turner has lost her bid for state representative to Paul Workman in a runoff. Workman will carry on his bid in the general election in District 47 against Valinda Bolton, the incumbent Democrat. The district is considered a swing district, previously occupied by a Republican before Bolton won a close race in 2006.


Fighting to Lose (Stephen Broden, R-TX-30)
Yes, he has no chance. Still, Pastor Stephen Broden wants to give it one hell of a run. Despite running against popular Democrat Eddie Bernice Johnson in the Democratic North Texas district, Broden is still running to win. He is running a bit of an unconventional campaign, openly pointing out his race (he is African-American) could help him and lavishing praise on Ron Paul (despite those old newsletters). At the very least, a prominent campaign could give Broden good name recognition for another run. Broden recently clinched the Republican nomination in a runoff against Dallas lawyer Sheldon Goldstein.

Competitive But Needing Help (Adam Kokesh, R-NM-03)

The Republican Party decision that Kokesh needed more signatures to get on the ballot appears to have hurt the campaign. Although Kokesh raised 57k in the 1st quarter for his race (a nice sum in such a blue district), he only has 12k on hand. Essentially, the campaign is almost out of money, which isn't good in a contested primary.

Sometimes Patriotism and Politics Don't Mix (RJ Harris-R-OK-04)

Constitutional conservative RJ Harris has hit a roadbump in his bid to primary Republican Rep. Tom Cole. A member of the Oklahoma National Guard, Harris has received orders to deploy to Afghanistan this summer for one year. While it is true a military record is good for a campaign, this is a net negative for RJ. He needs to build name recognition when attempting to take on an incumbent, so being away in a foreign country is not a good way to do it. Nevertheless, one must applaud Harris for the willingness to deploy in the thick of his campaign.


Good Time (Rand Paul, R-KEN)

Rand Paul must be having an amazing time right now. Earlier this week a new Survey USA poll had Paul with a dominating lead over Kentucky Secretary of State Trey Grayson in the Republican primary, despite the latter's negative campaign as of late. (Paul leads 45-30 with 19% undecided) Interestingly, the Democratic race continues to be fluid with moderate Attorney General Jack Conway catching back up to conservative Lieutenant Governor Dan Mongiardo.

Rand Paul's good news kept coming though. Senator Jim Bunning, who currently holds the seat, has endorsed Rand Paul to succeed him (Bunning's rival McConnell backs Grayson in the race). This should help Paul in North Kentucky, Bunning's stronghold.

Finally, it doesn't hurt when Grayson says Sarah Palin is unqualified to be president in a conservative state (You Betcha!)

Heated primary (John Hostettler, R-IN)

Former Representative John Hostettler's campaign has gotten a few encouraging sparks recently. First, an internal poll was leaked showing Hostettler at 26% and former Senator Dan Coats at 29% in the Republican primary. The only problem? We don't know WHICH camp released the data. If it was Coats' camp, expect Hostettler to be doing better. If it was Hostettler, then Coats would be higher. We just don't know and really need a scientific poll!

Also, Representative Ron Paul has endorsed John Hostettler in the Republican primary. This could help Hostettler with his historically anemic funding.


Gaining strength (Ron Paul, R-TX)

No, he hasn't announced yet. But that hasn't stopped him polling competitively with Barack Obama. A recent Rasmussen poll pegs Obama v Paul at 42-41, within the margin of error. No other Republican has polled this well against President Obama. Still, pollster Nate Silver points out the flaws of this survey. Rasmussen has a Republican House effect, inflating Paul's numbers to within 1 rather than the more realistic 10. (An older poll from Public Policy Polling, a bit more credible, verifies this with Paul running behind at 46-38).

Still, we can take some important lessons from the poll. Ron Paul underperforms with the Republican base compared to other fellow GOP'ers. Second, he dominates the independent vote against Obama. Finally, his crossover to Democrats beats Obama's crossover to Republicans.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Postmortem on SRLC

This past Friday and Saturday, the Southern Republican Leadership Conference (SRLC) was held in New Orleans. During that event, a straw poll was open to gauge support for various potential candidates in 2012 for the Republican nomination. A poll by Wilson Research Strategies (who did some initial polling for the Peter Schiff campaign months ago)asked these two questions of credentialed delegates:

If the primary election for president were held today, for whom would you vote? Please check the box by the candidate of your choice.

Newt Gingrich 18%
Mike Huckabee 4%
Gary Johnson 1%
Sarah Palin 18%
Ron Paul 24% (438 votes)
Tim Pawlenty 3%
Mike Pence 3%
Mitt Romney 24% (439 votes)
Rick Santorum 2%

2. Who would be your second choice in the Republican Primary Election for president?

Newt Gingrich 19%
Mike Huckabee 10%
Gary Johnson 6%
Sarah Palin 18%
Ron Paul 5%
Tim Pawlenty 6%
Mike Pence 8%
Mitt Romney 13%
Rick Santorum 7%

I have bolded the two candidates of interest for this blog. First, Ron Paul.

Ron Paul's Campaign for Liberty made an effort to win this event, securing 600 tickets to SRLC that were eventually free to those who wished to attend. A group affiliated with Mitt Romney (who declined to name a fundraising source, which I am sure is close to the multimillionaire) similarly secured 200 tickets and copies of Romney's book for every delegate. Thus, a clash of titans was set.

Notice the close results on the first pick for president between Romeny and Paul, a statistical tie. This essentially serves as a gauge of activist potential- both Romney and Paul have sophisticated organizations to take them into the presidential race.

But more importantly for Paul, check out his weak showing for second picks. In fact, for 2nd place pick, Dr. Paul had the LOWEST support with 5%. What this basically means is that Ron Paul has an independent constituency in the Republican Party- its overlap doesn't extend as far with other Republicans. Looking strategically, Ron Paul needs to have a crowded race with more establishment Republicans splitting votes. Otherwise, a Palin, Gingrich, or Romney when one of them dropped out could consolidate a massive lead over the eccentric Paul. The only hope for a Ron Paul presidential bid is to come out in 2012 with strong showings in Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina. The deeper in the race he gets, the harder time he will have with less opposition. Kinda ironic, huh?

Gary Johnson, the former governor of New Mexico, meanwhile has much more anemic numbers. He pulled 1%, or 3 votes, in the 1st place preferential poll. However, his 2nd place presidential preference poll shows him with 6% support. This probably confirms the obvious: Gary Johnson can compete when he gets the Ron Paul supporters, who more than likely threw Johnson many 2nd place votes.

This also teaches a key lesson though for 2012: Johnson and Paul cannot be both running by the time we get to Iowa. Paul has to have enough support to be competitive later on, and Johnson cannot survive without a base of support that the Paulistas can provide.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Liberty Ticker, 4/9/10

Lots of info to catch up on! There are lots of topics that need to be refreshed, so we'll try to get back up to speed.


Runoff time (Holly Turner, R-TX-STATE HOUSE)

I have been beset by messages urging liberty lovers to support Holly Turner in a runoff with another Republican in Texas House District 47. She has had many prominent endorsements, including Right-to-Life, Mike Huckabee, the Republican Liberty Caucus,and a statewide libertarian organization whose name eludes me at the moment.

The runoff has gotten extremely heated. Turner has criticized Paul Workman, the opponent, for not using E-Verify, a program to allow employers to check citizenship of employees in a federal database (the program is fiercely argued by conservatives, pitting their rejection of illegal immigration against the right to privacy by an intrusive government database). Workman has criticized Turner for not living in Austin very long and not voting for 5 straight elections before 2008. other attacks abound, so I would check them out! The runoff is April 13th.

It's official (Glen Bradley, R-NC-State House)

It is official: In the race for General Assembly Seat 49 in the state of North Carolina, incumbent Lucy Allen is out. The article acknowledges that the seat "could flip", and mentions Bradley by name.

We have a winner(Romaine Quinn, R-Mayor, Rice Lake Wisconsin)

It appears that 19 year old Romaine Quinn has won the title of Mayor of Rice Lake, Wisconsin. He takes political science classes at a nearby university. In addition, he was a city councillor for a full year before winning this new post in a close race, 53% to 47% for the incumbent.

Quinn cites Ron Paul as his political role model. The major issue in the race was sidewalks- the city began taking property from citizens in order to build unwanted sidewalks. After public outcry, the city council refused to step down with the project (excepting for Quinn).


More time never hurt (Mike Munger, L-NC)

It appears that Dr. Mike Munger will give up his chairmanship of the Political Science department at Duke University. He held the post for three terms.

Munger was the 2008 Libertarian Party nominee for US Senate in North Carolina. He took 2.85% of the vote in that election with 121,000 votes. While this does not seem very significant, it is actually quite astounding considering that North Carolina is one of the worst states to attempt to attain ballot access in. An expensive petition that drained party coffers was required to hit the 100,000 needed petitions. In addition, North Carolina has straight ticket voting if you want it, which in my experience hurts independent and third party candidates.

Now, Munger can capitalize on the experience and increased name recognition from his last run (he was the first third party candidate in North Carolina to participate in gubernatorial debates- ever). And his run was good enough to get the LP in North Carolina auto ballot access, meaning he won't have to pay for it. This recent news may give him more time to campaign. Expect a perfect Munger storm.

Too much red (Randy Brogdon, R-OK)

State Senator Randy Brogdon of Oklahoma has a big problem. Oklahoma is so deeply Republican and conservative that he is finding it difficult to use the Tea Party to overtake his opponent, US Representative and former Lieutenant Governor Mary Fallin.

If Brogdon can get past this primary, the election should be a cakewalk. The Democratic incumbent is term-limited out of office, it is a Republican year in 2010 with Tea Parties run amok, and he is a Republican in Oklahoma.

He does have one advantage: it appears his opponent, Fallin, voted for the bailout. In addition, he is an effective legislator, passing the Oklahoma Firearms Freedom Act. Brogdon is also a ballot access reform supporter, an issue near and dear to my heart to maintain procedural integrity in our government.

All in all, Brogdon has launched a credible challenge to Fallin, but he urgently needs to up his support if he is going to win it out in the primary.

(Note: one of the articles linked above also gives press to RJ Harris, a constitutional Republican attempting to primary Republican Tom Cole in the 4th district. He has similar problems as Brogdon.)


Surprise! (Linda Goldthorpe, R-MI-01)

It appears that Bart Stupak, the infamous pro-life pro healthcare reform Democrat, has decided to retire after his term ends. The candidate faced fierce opposition from both the right and the left.

There is a Ron Paul supporting candidate in the race, Linda Goldthorpe. However, she faces substantial opposition in the primary, particularly from Dr. Dan Benishek at the moment. Of course, we must expect the number of candidates, for both Democrats and Republicans, to skyrocket. This could mean bigger names entering the arena, like the Republican House Minority leader in Michigan Kevin Elsenheimer. Expect this race to lean Republican in the general election.


SRLC (Ron Paul and Gary Johnson, R- TX and NM)

The Southern Republican Leadership Conference is going on now in New Orleans. Voting for the presidential straw poll opens tomorrow. This event is only upstaged by the annual CPAC (Conservative Political Action Conference). Many see Paul as having to win the straw poll to prove his upset win at CPAC as legitimate. There are fears from many (particularly Romney Backers) that with his scooping up 600 tickets through the Campaign for Liberty Ron will sweep this poll too. Paul is a speaker at the SRLC.

Also speaking tonight was Gary Johnson, who addressed a group of about 50 people. I wouldn't expect Gary to come close to winning, but an interesting fact is that the ballot will have an option to pick a 2nd pick. This was not available at CPAC, and I bet many Paulistas will take the opportunity to pick Johnson as #2.