It was a good night for the Libertarian Party of Delaware from several perspectives.
Number one item is that we had the largest Libertarian vote totals statewide in the history of the party. We had six candidates receive over 3,600 votes, including three over 5,000 votes, and one who nearly reached 8,000.
Our General Assembly candidates collected 5,604 votes across the state.
Our lowest percentage was actually Gary Johnson's record-breaking 0.9% for president. Every Libertarian candidate who ran for office inside the state collected at least 1% of the vote, and sometimes significantly higher: 6.5%, 7.4%, 7.6%, 8.1%, 10.8%.
Here are the totals and the percentages:
President: Gary Johnson 3,882 (0.9%)
US House: Scott Gesty 4,096 (1.1%)
Governor: Jesse McVay 3,668 (1.0%)
Lt. Gov.: Margie McKeown 5,206 (1.3%)
Insurance Comm.: David Eisenhour 7,838 (2.1%)
State Senate 1: Brian Lintz 555 (3.1%)
State Senate 4: Marcia DaVinci Groff 410 (1.7%)
State Senate 6: Wendy Jones 286 (1.2%)
State Senate 7: James Christina 1,139 (7.6%)
State Senate 12: Brad Thomas 310 (1.4%)
State Senate 21: John Potter 187 (1.1%)
State Rep 7: Bob Wilson 188 (1.8%)
State Rep 11: Margie McKeown 154 (1.8%)
State Rep 14: Margaret Melson 925 (10.1%)
State Rep 15: Amy Merlino 555 (6.5%)
State Rep 16: John Machurek 277 (3.5%)
State Rep 30: Gordon Smith 520 (8.1%)
State Rep 35: Ronnie Fitzgerald 467 (7.4%)
Kent Clerk of the Peace: Mary Pat McVay 5,313 (10.8%)
5th Levy Court: Andrew Cronk 247 (2.3%)
Sussex Clerk of the Peace: David Eisenhour 2,452 (2.8%)
Sussex Council District 2: Ronnie Fitzgerald 331 (2.5%)
I will do some more breakdown on exactly what this all means later, but here are three important takeaways:
1. We have reached a fairly solid base of about 5,000 voters who will pull the switch to vote for a Libertarian some of the time if not all of the time. In a number of these races the Libertarian was the only opposition candidate, so it must be admitted that some of these votes were against the incumbents rather than for the challengers. That happens everywhere.
2. On the other hand, it is a fairly safe bet that votes for President, US House, Governor, and Lt. Governor were votes for Libertarians (or, possibly, votes for any third-party candidate). That means that we have a voter base of about 3,500 voters who are intentionally voting Libertarian when they have the opportunity to do so. This is small, but it appears to be a fairly firm number, a foundation.
3. We need to highlight the fact that of the seventeen individuals listed above (here I am not counting Gary Johnson), seven were women (41%). The stereotype of Libertarians is as being overwhelmingly male. Our party is not that imbalanced, and we need to highlight that fact, as well as recruit more women as candidates.
If I am correct about the voter base, given that there are fewer than 1,000 registered Libertarians, we have about 2,500 people to find and sign up. These folks are already voting with us; we need them registered with us.
I do not want to understate the challenge facing the LPD. Even the worst loser Republicans (is that redundant?) generally got at least 30 times as many votes as we did.
But. . .
The Delaware GOP is tanking. Tea Partiers are openly discussing secession from their party. Their candidates are now considered successful if they reach the pinnacle of 40% of the vote and lose semi-competitively in statewide races. Republican registrations are down, fundraising is down, and we need to start kicking them while they are down . . . unless they want to stop playing the "we are a major party and we will help the Democrats disenfranchise you" game.
3,500 is a small base. But if we can recruit 10% of that number to be active volunteers, and get half of those folks to commit to modest donations to support our candidates, guess what?
Unlike the Republicans, we have nowhere to go but up.