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Oklahoma Libertarian Party celebrates monumental night

M. Tim Blake / Red Dirt Report
Brett Powell, state coordinator for Liberal Radical Caucus, and David Steward, delegate to National Convention, at Johnson watch party.
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MIDWEST CITY, Okla. – Winning the election may have been a long shot, but onlookers could’ve been fooled. Tuesday night was a monumental victory for the Oklahoma Libertarian Party.

Enthusiasm soared among the crowd at the Gary Johnson/Bill Weld Presidential Watch Party at S&B Burger Joint. A sense of hope, which for many was hard-pressed to find in this election, filled the air as eager voters talked and shouted about incoming race results.

Seventeen Libertarian candidates were on the ballots for Oklahoma this year. Each candidate gained more than 2.5 percent of their race total. It may seem like a low count to most, but it’s enough to get Libertarians pumped.

In order for Libertarian candidates to retain a spot on the next election ballot, they had to gain at least 2.5 percent of the vote. To gain national recognition as a minor party they had to receive at least five percent of the national vote. 

“It’s a great night to be a Libertarian,” said Craig Dawkins, Midwest City resident.

In the 2000 election, Harry Browne was the Libertarian presidential nominee. Less than 10,000 of Oklahomans cast their vote for Browne. More than 80,000 Oklahomans voted for Gary Johnson to be president.

“That’s a major thing because we have been in the forest for so many years,” Dawkins said. “It helps when you have a political party with the same mechanisms that the other parties have.”

Jenny Lorrah, Oklahoma State Field Director, said the victorious night was due to a “real honest grassroots” effort.

“We had no funding, we had nothing,” Lorrah said. “This was all boots to the ground and social media that got us to this.”

Lorrah said the next step for Oklahoman Libertarians is to grow and unite their party and then focus on the 2018 governor election. With legit party recognition and access to the ballot, finding a candidate will be the next challenge.

David Stewart, delegate to the Libertarian National Convention, said the party has everything they need to move forward.

“We build on what we’ve learned,” Stewart said. “Now we know what to do.”

The Libertarian Party was founded in 1971. After years of struggling to gain enough support to maintain its status, recent legislation paved the way for the Libertarian Party to gain recognition.

State Sen. Kyle Loveless sponsored legislation to help ensure Libertarian access to the ballot by lowering the percentage of votes from ten percent to 2.5 percent.

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E.I. Hillin

Elizabeth Ivy Hillin, 30, grew up in Lindsay, Okla., where the dirt is definitely red. Hillin...

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Red Dirt Report was launched July 4, 2007 as an independent news website covering all manner of news, culture, entertainment and lifestyle stories that affect and interest Oklahoma readers and readers outside of our state. Our mission is to educate, promote civic engagement and discourse on public policy, government and politics. Our experienced journalists provided balanced in-depth coverage of news stories that affect Oklahomans. Our opinion/editorial stories come from a wide range of political view points. We carry out our mission by reporting, writing, and posting news and information. read more

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