Libertarian Party of Texas Goes Candidate Crazy

Texas LP logoWith a record-breaking 187 candidates having already filed their papers with the Texas Secretary of State’s Office before the January 12th deadline, the Libertarian Party of Texas may have touched on a third party political strategy untried outside of Florida: flood the ballots with candidates:

That surpasses the previous record of 110 candidates in 2002 and doesn’t include Libertarians who have filed for county-level offices.

Libertarian candidates have filed to run in 30 of the state’s 32 congressional districts, eleven of the 16 state Senate districts and 97 of the 150 Texas House districts. Libertarians also have filed to run for all statewide elected offices except presiding judge of the Court of Criminal Appeals.

The strategy may pay off for Libertarians, who could benefit from the publicity generated by Independent mavericks like gubernatorial candidate Kinky Friedman, who’s campaign has ignited a backlash against corruption and big money of both Republicans and Democrats.

Update by Stephen Gordon: DailyKos is bragging that the Democrats “fielded candidates in 31 of 32 [Texas] House districts.” I’m not sure what our final count will be, but it is possible that we will tie or beat them — despite the significantly greater level of resources within the Democratic Party.

Update by Stephen VanDyke: There seems to be at least one publicized overlapping of candidates due to some weirdness over who holds the chairman reins in Beaumont county, TX:

Beaumont residents Dean Tucker and Allen Lee both claim the title of Libertarian Party chairman. Party members chose Lee for the post at the March 2004 county convention. Tucker said the county party’s executive committee declared the post vacant in June after Lee missed two consecutive meetings. It then appointed Tucker. The state party recognizes Tucker as chairman.

Helen Sue Sherbaf, 59, of Beaumont filed with Tucker to run for county judge. Samuel Jackson, 67, of Port Arthur filed with Lee.

Pat Dixon, chairman of the state party, said by telephone he was unsure how the party would resolve the filing issue or what rights Jackson might have to be considered a Libertarian candidate. Jackson said Wednesday he intends to remain as a candidate.

Personally, I think this is not all that bad of a problem to be running into (two candidates for one race), but there seems to be a bit of a scandal over the chair issue that needs to be sorted out very quickly.

  1. It will be interesting to see how this turns out — especially with the redestricting case going to the USSC.

  2. Looking over the list of candidates, I see several races will be contested for the LP Texas nomination. Does Texas allow minor parties to determine their nominees their own way?

    A recent Colorado law requires minor parties to follow major party rules i.e. primary elections in August, with ballot access by minimum 30% on the first convention vote or petitioning onto the ballot. We had our first primary in 2004 for Colorado State Senate District 17. I would have been part of the first statewide LP primary (for University of Colorado Regent At Large) but the other candidate I had nominated in absentia confirmed his intention not to run.

    In 2000, the LP of Colorado ran more candidates for state and federal level offices than the Democrat party did. We got some publicity and respect for that but didn’t win any state-level races. Interest has declined since then, but overall recent candidates seem more dedicated (fewer lineholders). Stay tuned for 2006.

  3. Regarding the U.S. Rep races; Texas will have up to 30 candidates. The recruiting team tried to get a few more refilings accomplished and fill all 32 spots, but ran out of time. (Next time we want 4 full time paid and/or volunteer staffers available during the critical filing month. If we manage that, then look for 300 or more candidates in 2008.)

    The actual party nominees are chosen at party conventions. If we show enough strength (5% in the gubernatorial race) we can elect to have a primary instead of conventions, but we would also have to put up considerable cash in order to do that. At another level of strength (20% in the gubernatorial race) we are required to hold primaries.

  4. I should also mention that Texas has lots of contested races all over the ballot. The U.S. Senate race has 3 candidates and one State House race has 5 candidates! Hopefully contested races will earn us more media coverage and attract more convention delegates, but past experience suggests that this is not a given. I am guessing that it will take some true pre-convention political activity by our candidates to make that happen.

  5. Oh one more thing. The 25 county level races have been added to the candiate count and it now tops 210.

  6. A maximum number of active campaigns should be any state affiliates objective. Bravo, Texas!

    It will be interesting to see how ‘the flood’ is received by Texas media, especially if these are merely paper candidates. Indiana tried the same thing several years ago, and the media called us on it. In response, we raised the bar on expectations for activity. Our candidate numbers dropped some, but the media respect level grew.