In This Issue:
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2018 General Election Results
By Greg Stempfle, Political Director
It was a mixed bag for Libertarians on Election Day 2018 in Michigan. While several candidates, from Governor to Township Supervisor, broke Libertarian Party of Michigan (LPM) records, the election results of most down ballot races for State Legislature and Congress were lower than those from the previous three elections. The LPM also did not maintain its status as a party qualified to run candidates in the primary and will return to a "minor" party for the 2020 campaign cycle.
Note: All results are unofficial so I will have to rewrite and expand on this article once the results are certified.
Governor and Primary Party Status
Libertarian candidate for Governor Bill Gelineau came in third place (out of six) with 1.34% (56,756 votes). This is a new Libertarian record breaking that of Mary Buzuma in 2014 with 1.13% (35,723 votes). The modern record for a third party gubernatorial candidate is Independent Citizens Party candidate Robert Tisch with 2.64% (80,288 votes) in 1982. Prior to that, the Socialist Party candidates pulled 2% through 1920.
As the LPM "top of ticket" candidate, the results of this race determines if the party nominates candidates in the primary election under so-called "major party" status or at conventions and caucuses as a minor party. Gelineau came up short of the necessary 207,683 votes needed to maintain our primary party status which is calculated as 5% of all votes cast for all candidates for Secretary of State (MCL 168.532). This number would have equaled 4.91% of the race for Governor. All third parties combined earned just 2.84%.
This threshold of 207,683 votes, the highest ever, will also be used in the 2020 election to determine which parties qualify for the 2022 primary and will be based on how many votes our Presidential candidate receives. In the previous election cycle the threshold was 154,040 votes. Gary Johnson received 172,136 votes (3.59%) in 2016 and qualified the LPM for the 2018 primary. In 2020 our presidential candidate will need to receive about 4.3% of the vote to qualify the LPM for 2022 primary.
Note: There is a different criterion to maintain overall ballot status as a political party. All political parties maintained their ballot status after this election as is explained later in this article.
Other Statewide Offices
Libertarian candidate for Attorney General, Lisa Lane Gioia, came in third place (out of five) with 2.10% (86,521 votes). This is a new Libertarian record breaking that of Daniel Grow in 2010 with 2.00% (62,737). Libertarian candidate for Secretary of State, Greg Stempfle, came in third place (out of four) with 1.96% (81,565 votes). This is a new record for most votes for a Libertarian but not highest percentage. That record is still held by Jamie Lewis in 2014 with 1.98% (61,112 votes).
Both Gioia's and Lewis' returns were the highest for a third party candidate since at least the current 1963 Michigan Constitution. I don't yet have complete election results prior to that year!
The results of the Secretary of State race determine the order of political parties on the 2020 and 2022 ballot (MCL 168.703). That order will be Democratic, Republican, Libertarian, US Taxpayers, and after that I don't know. Three political parties did not run a candidate for Secretary of State and Michigan election law does not address that point specifically.
Eight Libertarians ran for the four public education boards and averaged 1.37% (95,229 votes). The best showing was Bruce Campbell with 1.83% (128,269 votes) for Michigan State Trustee. Campbell received the most votes of any partisan Libertarian candidate in this election. Voters select two candidates in these races so the vote percentage is about half that of other races. The Libertarian nominee for Justice of the Supreme Court, Kerry Morgan, came in fifth place with 358,605 votes (5.76%). This was the highest vote total any candidate nominated by the LPM received in this election, but this office was listed as non-partisan.
The two Libertarian candidates for Congress averaged 1.75% (6,048 votes). Both ran in districts which flipped from Republican to Democratic. In District 8, where Democrat Elissa Slotkin beat incumbent Republican Mike Bishop, Libertarian Brian Ellison came in third place (out of four) with 1.84% (6,302 votes). In District 11, which was won by Democrat Haley Stevens, Libertarian Leonard Schwartz came in third (of four) with 1.65% (5,793 votes). Both winning candidates received over 50% of the vote.
This was the fewest number of Congressional races ever contested by the LPM in a year where it had ballot status. Due to candidates needing to collect 1,000 signatures, many of our members chose to run for races that only required a filing fee. The 1.75% average this year was down from a record of 3.05% (when running 13 candidates) from 2016 and over 2% in 2014 and 2012. However, this was still better than any other year in party history apart from 1994, when Jon Coon ran an aggressive campaign for US Senate and received over 4% of the vote.
The fifteen Libertarian candidates for State Senate averaged 2.59% (2,902 votes) and the fifteen candidates for State House averaged 2.62% (994 votes). The best result for State Senate was Lorence Wenke in District 20 with 4.63% (5,273 votes) and the best result for State House was Anthony Croff in District 39 with 3.58% (1,531 votes).
The 2.59% average for State Senate was down from a record 4.74% in 2014 and in a pattern identical to that of Congress, was higher than any other year except 1994. The 2.62% average for State House is down from a record 4.96% in 2014 and lower than any election since 2006.
County and Township races
Five Libertarians ran for County Commissioner and four for Township office. Robert Clark, who ran for Arcadia Township supervisor came in second in a two-way race with a Republican, earning 47.2% (218 votes), the highest percentage ever for a Libertarian Party candidate in a partisan race in the history of Michigan! The previous partisan record was 36.5% by Brian Wisneski in 1996 when he was elected to a position on the Clinton Township (Lenawee) Board of Trustees. Dana Carver received 30.9% (458 votes) for Cheboygan County Commissioner, District 7, also in a two-way race with a Republican, the third highest partisan percentage ever for a Libertarian.
As expected, all seven political parties maintained their ballot status for 2020. To do this, the top vote earner for each political party must receive more votes than 1% of the votes cast for the winning candidate for Secretary of State (MCL 168.685). The winning candidate for Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson received 2,194,802 votes and 1% of this total is 21,948. Therefore the highest vote getting candidate for each political party must get more votes than this and all seven easily did. Here is the top vote getter for each party.
Democratic (Gretchen Whitmer, Governor, 2,256,700)
Republican (John James, Senator, 1,927,232)
US Taxpayers* (Christine Schwartz, WSU 134,818)
Libertarian (Bruce Campbell, MSU, 128,269)
Working Class (Mary Anne Hering, State Board of Education, 125,171)
Green (Kevin Graves, Regent of the University of Michigan, 71,861)
Natural Law (Marge Sallows, Regent of the University of Michigan, 51,455)
Threshold to maintain ballot status (21,948)
I'll admit our vote totals were lower than I expected. There were three unique situations this year that I anticipated would boost Libertarian vote totals. None lived up to the hype. The first was the lack of a straight ticket option. This was expected to help third party and independent candidates, especially in the down ballot races, but in fact the opposite happened. Our down ballot candidates did worse relative to the higher profile statewide races. The second was having a contested third party gubernatorial primary for the first time which drew unprecedented media attention to us. The third was momentum from our best presidential showing in party history. Unfortunately, this was a wave election and third parties simply got lost in the extreme partisan divide currently infecting our country.
However, our high profile statewide candidates all performed at historic levels and received more press coverage than in the past. While it's a setback to be a minor party again, it will allow us to run a full slate of candidates in 2020. Presidential elections always bring out more voters, activists, and candidates and after a two year stint as a so called major party, the LPM has its best organization structure in place ready to move into the next campaign season.
* The US Taxpayers Party is the Michigan affiliate of the Constitution Party.
Northern Michigan Libertarians Do Well in Local Races
By Donna Gundle-Krieg, 1st Congressional District Representative
Arcadia, MI - A few Libertarians in northern Michigan fared well in the most recent election, considering that the party just recently started establishing affiliates in the area. In particular, Manistee County had two Libertarian candidates who ran respectable two-way races, and a candidate in Cheboygan County also ran a strong race.
Robert Clark, who ran for Arcadia Township Supervisor, came in second in a two-way race with a Republican, earning 47.2% (218 votes). This is the highest percentage ever for a Libertarian Party candidate in the history of Michigan! Clark is a local successful builder and entrepreneur whose family has lived in the area for generations, He attended the fall Libertarian Candidate Forum and told the audience he was "just a regular guy." He was approached by local community leaders who asked him to run, and felt that the Libertarian philosophy was the closest to his own.
Another Manistee County resident, David Holmer, received 26.3% of the vote in a race for Manistee County Commissioner.
I was happy with the turnout, as it was my first campaign. I learned a lot and had the support of many people,
said David, a Veteran and author. David attributes his success to his door-to-door campaign, as he got to know many residents personally and talk to them one-on-one about their concerns.
Holmer is also very involved in his community and was recently named Political Director of the Northwest Michigan Libertarian Party. His goal is to run as many candidates as possible in the next election.
Finally, Dana Carver of Cheboygan County garnered 30.9% in her race for Onaway County Commissioner. Dana is the Vice-Chair of the Straits Area Libertarian Party. Her passion and community involvement "on the front lines" helped lead her to an impressive finish.
People listen when Dana speaks out on issues such as cutting government spending, stopping police brutality, legalizing marijuana, and protecting gun ownership rights.
Marijuana Is Legal! Another Libertarian Party Victory
An editorial by Scotty Boman
Sometimes when you win, you really lose, and sometimes when you lose, you really win, and sometimes when you win or lose, you actually tie, and sometimes when you tie, you actually win or lose. Winning or losing is all one organic mechanism, from which one extracts what one needs. - The character Gloria Clemente in the movie, White Men Can't Jump -
Yes. I know the Libertarian Party of Michigan (LPM) fell short of the two-thirds vote needed for a formal endorsement of Proposal One. That doesn't really matter. What matters is that the Libertarian Party has advocated drug legalization since it was founded in 1971 and Michigan's electorate has legalized one drug in spite of stubborn resistance by both Democratic and Republican party establishments (until now).
We own this. There simply hasn't been any other political party that has steadily held their ground on the drug legalization issue for as long as the Libertarian Party. Sure the US Green Party has been supporting the legalization of the green drug, but they didn't come on the scene until the turn of the century. Marijuana has been a bit of a poster child in the drug legalization debate; it is demonstrably less harmful than many legal drugs (as is also the case with LSD and psilocybin mushrooms), and was more broadly used than other illegal drugs. This made legalization an easy sell, but health concerns were never our primary argument; it has always been a matter of personal choice.
Be Part of the 2019 LP of Michigan Convention
By Bill Hall, Chair
The Libertarian Executive Committee (LEC) met on November 14. With the 2018 general election behind us, one of its primary tasks was to start planning the 2019 Libertarian Party of Michigan (LPM) state convention.
Our Bylaws require us to hold a "regular" state convention between April 1 and July 31 in odd-numbered years, for the purpose of electing state party officers and LEC representatives to 2 year terms, and consider changes to our Bylaws. The consensus of the LEC was that we should target the weekend of April 13 or 27 to hold our 2019 convention, to locate it somewhere in the middle to middle northern part of the Lower Peninsula, and combine it with our annual LibertyFest banquet.
With that in mind, we are seeking volunteers to pitch in and help out. We need a convention chair, and persons to serve on the convention committee to help perform tasks like site selection, setup, registration, convention packet preparation, and programming. We also need a credentials committee chair and committee members to administer delegate selection caucuses for those parts of the state without organized affiliates, process delegate lists submitted by affiliates, and credential delegates as they arrive at the convention.
Volunteers Needed for Policy Manual and Historical Committees
By Bill Hall, Chair
Now that the 2018 general election is behind us, two tasks the Libertarian Executive Committee (LEC) is taking off the table and pursuing are forming a special project committee to prepare an LEC Policy Manual and activating a Libertarian Party of Michigan (LPM) Historical Committee. In past meetings, the LEC discussed and recognized the value each can provide to the LPM.
Often the LEC finds itself considering matters addressed by past LECs, but may not realize it. For example, many years ago a past LEC adopted a policy for how news releases are prepared and distributed, but the only reason the current LEC knew of that policy was because I was also Chair at the time the past LEC approved it. The current LEC has also considered, debated and adopted a number of policies, including policies for legislative committee procedures and financial reporting.
Officers & Staff
General Contact: Libertarian Party of Michigan: PO Box 27065, Lansing, MI 48909; Phone: 888.FREE.NOW.
Judicial Committee Members
: Luke Sciberras, Chair. 248-302-1064, email@example.com
: Chair Alex Cooper, firstname.lastname@example.org. VC Dustin Reamer, 810-522-3136, email@example.com
: James Hudler, (734) 475-9792, firstname.lastname@example.org
: Norman Peterson, (269) 330-2980 email@example.com
: James Weeks II, (810) 422-8769, firstname.lastname@example.org
: Mike Saliba, email@example.com
: Tim Coon, firstname.lastname@example.org
Zach Boyle, 989-255-4521, email@example.com
: Dana Carver, firstname.lastname@example.org
: Donna Gundle-Krieg. email@example.com
: Greg Stempfle, (313) 929-1789, firstname.lastname@example.org
: Jason Brandenburg. email@example.com
: Chair Andy Evans, (231) 625-8403, . firstname.lastname@example.org
: Scotty Boman, (313) 247-2052, email@example.com
: Jake Andrews. (269) 967-4071. firstname.lastname@example.org
Some events are also posted by their hosts at the Meetup.com site. It is recommended that you contact an officer for an affiliate or check the Website (or Facebook page) associated with the meeting host (if they have one) before arriving at a meeting. Some meetings can get canceled, or locations can change with short notice. Contact information connected to most events can be found by expanding the item on the "Agenda view" of the Events page of our website.
December 4, 2018 - Southwest Affiliate Meeting 6:00 PM - 8:00 PM
We will be gathering at Theo and Stacy's Restaurant. 5225 Portage Road, Portage, MI 49002 (exit 78 off of I-94, near the entrance to the Kalamazoo Airport). For more information, please contact Jason Brandenburg at email@example.com.
December 5, 2018 - Huron-Raisin Social Meeting, 7:00 PM - 9:00 PM
Classic Cup Cafe, 4389 Jackson Rd. Ann Arbor, MI 48103
For more information, contact James Hudler at 734-475-9792 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
December 6, 2018 - Livingston County Michigan Libertarians social meeting, 7:00 PM - 9:00 PM
The meetings have two parts:
The other meeting we have every month is the business meeting. At this meeting, usually held at our Secretary's home in Howell, the officers and volunteers discuss affiliate business. The membership is welcome to attend these meetings, which are announced at the prior week's social meeting.
- Meet and greet: Catch up with each other at 7 while we order food and introduce any visitors.
- Guest Speaker / Miscellaneous: If we have something going on that requires discussion before the business meeting, we talk about it. Occasionally, we will have a guest speaker.
Cleary's Pub, 117 E Grand River Ave. Howell, MI 48843
For more information, contact James Weeks II at 810.422.8769 or email email@example.com
December 6, 2018 - Libertarian Party of Wayne County monthly meeting, 7:00 PM - 9:00 PM
Tijuana Mexican Kitchen, 18950 Ford Rd. Detroit, MI 48228
Business and speakers, for the Wayne County affiliate, are normally scheduled from 7:00 PM to 9:30 PM, but people arrive around 6:30 PM to order dinner. For more information, contact Scotty Boman at (313) 247-2052 or email ScottyBoman@hotmail.com
December 9, 2018 - Straits Area Affiliate Meeting, 1:30 PM - 3:00 PM
Big Boy. 861 S Main St. Cheboygan MI. For more information, please contact Andy Evans at firstname.lastname@example.org.
December 11, 2018 - Northwest Michigan affiliate meeting, 5:40 PM - 6:40 PM
Toy Town of Cadillac. 122 S Mitchell St. Cadillac, Michigan 49601.
The Northwest Michigan Libertarians recently became an official affiliate of the Libertarian Party of Michigan, as members selected officers and set a regular meeting schedule. In addition, the group created official bylaws, which were approved by the Executive Committee of the Libertarian Party of Michigan.
The officers will conduct a business meeting every 2nd Tuesday of each month. Please see the Events Page for more information.
Business meetings will focus on the group's goals of electing political candidates and conducting outreach and educational activities. Anyone is welcome!
The monthly meeting will be also be held electronically as well. To join the December 11th meeting online, go to https://zoom.us/j/325424401.
For more information, please contact Donna Gundle-Krieg at email@example.com.
December 12, 2018 - Libertarians of Macomb County Monthly meeting, 7:00 PM - 9:00 PM
Ike's Restaurant, 38550 Van Dyke, Sterling Heights
For more information, contact Mike Saliba at firstname.lastname@example.org
The Libertarian Party of Oakland County has no December meeting
December 16, 2018 - Capital Area Affiliate monthly meeting, 6:00 PM - 9:00 PM
Harper's Restaurant and Brew Pub. 131 Albert Ave. East Lansing, MI 48823.
Contact Luke Sciberras at 248-302-1064 or email CapitalAreaLP@gmail.com to confirm location.
Times and locations may very from month to month.
December 19, 2018 - Jackson-Hillsdale Libertarian Party monthly meeting, 6:00 PM - 8:30 PM
Steve's Ranch Restaurant, 311 W. Louis Glick Hwy. Jackson, MI 49201
For more information contact Norman Peterson (269) 330-2980. JHLP Website: https://www.jhlp.org/
December 23, 2018 - Genesee County, 6:30 PM - 8:30 PM
Jan's Bar and Grill. 7499 Miller Rd. Swartz Creek, MI 48473
For more information, contact Alex Cooper at email@example.com or Dustin Reamer at firstname.lastname@example.org
If you are new to the Michigan Libertarian, you can link to 2016 issues here, http://michiganlp.org/category/newsletters . Older issues are preserved in our historical archives here: http://old.michiganlp.org/resources-2/newsletter.