Breakthrough?

Libertarians win one

Being a Libertarian on Election Night meant gathering in a Laguna Hills sports bar to watch results of elections you knew your party had no chance of winning. "We're cheering for third place," said Doug Scribner, local party chairman and candidate for the Costa Mesa Sanitary District. So when an encouraging result came in, say, from the 31st Congressional District, in which Michael McGuire was pulling in 8 percent, a big cheer went up. "Look!" said Harriet Goren, Libertarian candidate for the Moulton-Niguel Water District, Division 5. "Eight percent in the 31st District. Where's the 31st District?" Being a Libertarian on Election Night also meant you couldn't turn around in the Laguna Hills sports bar without spilling a Liber tarian candidate's beer. That's because Libertarians ran 305 candidates statewide—50 in Orange County—in what they dubbed "Operation Break through." They ran them in water districts, library districts, school districts and city councils. They ran David Nolan, who spent 12 grand, in Chris Cox's 47th. They ran Goren. Her campaign strategy? "We didn't really have one," she said. In the 39th Congressional District, they ran Keith Gann, who showed up at the party in sweats (having just come from rugby practice) and who said he enjoyed the process and would run again, but was glad it was over because rugby season was starting. They ran in every race in which they could place a warm body—which is more than you can say for Missouri Democrats—because one gets the impression that Libertarians believe the time has come for them to stop thinking and start winning. "I love this party, but it's full of thinkers and talkers," said David Myers, president of the Orange County Hemp Council and one of the few noncandidates in the room. "We need doers." Scribner nodded. "It's true. We're a bunch of brainy geeks," he said. "A lot of us want to take that next step." Without a big name at the top of the ticket to lend credibility—Libertarian presidential candidate Harry Browne was almost anonymous—Libertarians figured they would contest as many local races as possible, believing that if a party member could slip in here or there . . . "Then they start to build some name recognition," said Richard Newhouse, a candidate in the 68th Assembly District. "When you build name recognition, you're building credibility. That's important for us. We have to get people to believe we can win. We know people like our ideas. It's just a matter of making people believe we can win." Libertarian ideas come down to one, really: kill government. Apparently, it's an idea with wheels. Candidates said the biggest frustration was how many people told them they liked their ideas —and then drop the inevitable, "You know, I'd vote for you if I thought you could win." Of course, the Libertarians did win at least once: Geoffery Braun was elected to the Placentia Library Dis trict. He ran unopposed. "Hey," said brainy geek thinker Scribner. "A win's a win." Steve Lowery

 
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