Coloradans Cast 343,000 Libertarian Votes
by Ari Armstrong
[The following article originally appeared in the December 2000 edition of Colorado Liberty.]
Coloradans cast over 343,000 votes for Libertarian candidates in the 2000 elections, shattering all previous records and establishing the Libertarian Party as the strongest challenger to the two-party system.
"We did an excellent job in Colorado," said State Chair BetteRose Smith. "We broke the 20 percent barrier in a two-way race. We got over 40 percent in two counties for state house (San Miguel County and Pitkin County). We got two endorsements from major papers, the *Denver Post* and the *Colorado Springs Gazette*. Overall, I'm very pleased."
A total of 87 candidates ran for state-wide office, U.S. Congress, state legislature, and county commissioner. The Libertarian Party ran more candidates than the Democrats for legislature.
While no Libertarian won office this year in Colorado, the state continues to host several local public officials from the party, including the nation's only Libertarian Sheriff, Bill Masters of San Miguel County (Telluride).
Smith said, "I've been through eight years of elections with the Libertarian Party, and we do better every time. From just two years ago, our averages in three-way races are up from two percent to about four percent."
Norm Olsen, Campaigns Director and candidate for State House, added, "In this election, our percentages are up significantly over any previous election. We ran more than three times as many candidates as we've ever run before. Now, we need to keep our numbers up and increase the experience of our candidates."
In Congressional District 5, Kerry Kantor pulled 12.3 percent of the vote in a three-way race against a Republican and a Natural Law candidate. In Congressional races against a Republican and Democrat, Libertarians averaged about 6,000 votes, or 2.3 percent of the total. Libertarian candidates ran for all six Colorado Congressional seats, contributing to a record-setting 1.6 million votes nationally for a third-party's Congressional candidates.
Johanna Fallis handily beat all three of her third-party opponents for Secretary of State, coming in behind the Republican and Democrat with 43,429 votes, or 2.7 percent of the total.
Out of the 17 Libertarian candidates for state senate, three earned more than 5 percent of the vote total in three-way races, and three hit double digits in two-way races. In District 26, Steven Lee earned 24.7 percent; in District 12 Patrick Lilly earned 23.5 percent.
Of 57 Libertarian candidates for state house, 26 earned over 5 percent of the vote total. Ralph Estrada picked up 8.6 percent in District 4, Colette Wright won 7.6 percent in District 19, and Shawn Glazer earned 7.1 percent in District 24. In all 18 two-way races, the Libertarian picked up double-digit percentages, with Russ Haddad of District 50 leading the totals with 25.1 percent.
Three of six county commissioner candidates earned double-digits, including Steven D'Ippolito of El Paso with 23.8 percent of the vote.
Public Information Director John Berntson said, "Nationally, the Libertarian Party doubles its numbers every three years; this trend seems to carry over into vote totals. If trends continue, the LP should start regularly winning races sometime in the next ten years. But 2002 would not be too soon."