Here's Ed Cone of the Greensboro News-Record:
An update on Libertarian gubernatorial candidate Mike Munger, described last year in this column as "maybe too sane for high office": North Carolinians put the Libertarian Party on the ballot for November, but Munger still is excluded from the gubernatorial debates. Munger's party has earned the right to compete with the entrenched duopoly in this marketplace of ideas, but the debate sponsors are ignoring their obligation to the public. Beyond the issue of fairness, it would be entertaining to watch Munger take on the professional politicians; he's smart, informed and funny, and he's got nothing to lose.
Last week, Munger took his case directly to the people, buying radio ads in the Triangle, Triad and Charlotte markets (sample line: "I'm not even asking for your vote yet, I just want a fair chance to compete for it.") The idea behind the ads is to boost his poll numbers quickly, as the League of Women Voters says it will include him in its debate if he has support from 5 percent of surveyed voters.
Munger got the money for the ads by holding a focused online fundraiser - a "money bomb," in the parlance of the Ron Paul presidential campaign, although Munger said his modest effort was more like a "money grenade." The goal was just $3,000, and the campaign netted more than $7,000 in donations. That's chump change, of course, compared to the money raised last quarter by Democrat Beverly Perdue ($2.3 million) and Republican Pat McCrory ($1.1 million), but the smart combination of new and old media helps Munger punch above his weight, and may even get him the place he's already earned in the debates.
[And thank you, again, for those Delaware Libertarian readers who helped out in the Money Grenade.]
[h/t to Peter Orvetti at Independent Political Report, who got to this one before I did.]
Let's also note that Freedom Democrats has picked up the same vibe from Chris Cole's unexpected 6% showing the in the NC Senatorial race against Elizabeth Dole and Kay Hagan that I mentioned here last week:
Public Policy Polling, a NC-based polling firm, summarizes the surprising polling numbers of a number of Libertarian candidates in NC.
Now, Elizabeth Dole's own internal polling shows that Libertarian Senate Candidate Chris Cole is pulling in 6%.
That someone like Chris Cole is registering at 6% in a state wide poll, when he really has no business breaking 1%, is fairly demonstrative that Barr and Munger are raising the tide for all Libertarian candidate boats in NC. Outside of Barr, Munger--who chairs the political science department at Duke--may be the most credible libertarian candidate in the country. It also worth mentioning, of course, that BJ Lawson, the GOP candidate in NC's 4th district, is probably the most credible candidate to emerge out of the r3VOLution.
As a NC resident, I can flatly say that the state LP has been hampered by oppressive ballot access laws through the years that the system and the 2-party duopoly are in no hurry to remedy. If either Barr or Munger can get 2% in November, the NC LP will be spared from having to repeat the arduous exercise of re-qualifying for ballot access(in 2010 and 2012), which is just a a drain on time and resources. Instead the NC LP could concentrate on recruiting a stable of capable candidates, a process made much easier when you already have guaranteed ballot access and Party ID registration.
From a libertarian political perspective, North Carolina is going to be an interesting laboratory of sorts to keep an eye on come this fall.
There, PPP notes, Libertarian Insurance Commissioner candidate Mark McMains is running at 9%, and Thomas Hill in NC Congressional District 8 is scoring 7%, to go along with the number's I've already been reporting for Bob Barr, Mike Munger, and Chris Cole.
Is this just a mid-summer fluctuation of the start of something really interesting?
I hope it's the latter, but stay tuned.