Chris Spangle is executive director of the Libertarian Party of Indiana.
Since the closing of the polls on November 4, 2008 there has been a rush to find out exactly what a Libertarian is and why a third party may be the only viable option left for responsible government. The word is said more often now than two years ago. The failures of both Republicans and Democrats to keep their promises in the last 30 years have led to a growth of the Libertarian Party base in Indiana by Hoosiers unwilling to reform broken parties that refuse to mend. (Don’t be fooled into thinking we are all "R’s" in "L" clothing. Half of our current statewide leadership are former Democrats. It’s my vote anyways.)
We took to aggressively build our grassroots organizations. In the last year and a half, over 30 county parties began or renewed their efforts to regularly organize their county parties by outreach events and candidacies in 2010. We’ll add four more this month. We also revamped our web site at www.lpin.org and online properties to spread our message to a younger, and more receptive, audience. In fundraising, we’re close to doubling our efforts from one year ago.
Most importantly, it’s difficult to ask people to vote Libertarian if you don’t run candidates. In 2008, the party ran less than 30 federal and state level candidates combined. We anticipate that number to more than double and possibly triple. We’ll have quality candidates in all 10 federal races. For the first time ever, we had a contested federal Senate race at our version of the primary — a nominating convention. We will have anywhere from 25 to 50 candidates in the state legislative races. We nominated over 20 state legislative candidates this past weekend, and have more ballot vacancies to appoint. A complete slate of candidates is close to completion in Marion and Lake County alone.
The most important race for 2010 is the Secretary of State race. Our candidate is Greenfield resident Mike Wherry. We’ve achieved two percent in every Secretary of State’s race since 1994 to achieve consistent, automatic ballot access. We’ll need to hit that number again in 2010 to maintain automatic ballot access for the next four years. We believe now more than ever, Hoosiers need that third option. In many state legislative races, we are the second option. (At this moment, almost 38 state legislative races have one candidate.) Ballot access is crucial to the survival of our message. By achieving 10 percent we will have attained major party status, and would hold primaries (we currently have nominating conventions) and “register” Libertarian voters in Indiana. That data would greatly increase our ability to spread the libertarian message.
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