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Libertarians say they won’t run candidates if ‘liberty minded’ Republican is on Colorado ballot

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Sara Wilson

(Colorado Newsline) The Libertarian Party of Colorado said it will not run candidates in future competitive races that have “strong liberty minded” Republican candidates, the two parties announced Tuesday.

“We are calling upon the Republican Party to take our goals and objectives into serious consideration and run strong liberty minded, anti-establishment candidates going forward. If the Republican party runs candidates who support individual liberties, we will not run competing candidates in those races,” Libertarian chairperson Hannah Goodman wrote in a letter to the Colorado GOP, adding that the party reserves the right to run candidates if there isn’t a “strong Liberty” option.

Goodman did not offer a definition of what such a candidate specifically supports.

In some races, a right-leaning, third-party candidate could act as a spoiler, winning a higher vote share than the margin of victory and affecting which major party candidate wins.

“The Libertarian Party of Colorado is a third party. But we are the third biggest political party in the country. And while our candidates do not win the majority of elections in which we participate, our candidates have an impact on the outcome of these elections,” Goodman wrote.

Republicans point to the victory of Democratic Rep. Yadira Caraveo over Republican State Sen. Barbara Kirkmeyer for Colorado’s new 8th Congressional District last year. Caraveo got 48.4% of the vote, while Kirkmeyer received 47.7% of the vote. A Libertarian candidate, Richard Ward, walked away with 3.9% of the vote, leading some to argue that Kirkmeyer could have won if he wasn’t running.

It’s not certain, however, that all of Ward’s voters would have turned out for Kirkmeyer if he wasn’t on the ballot. The Libertarian emphasis on smaller government, however, does align with historical Republican values.

Goodman and her vice chair, Eliseo Gonzalez, wrote that the state’s “uniparty rule” under Democrats creates a lack of checks and balances on the government.

Democrats swept Colorado’s elections in 2022, winning every statewide office, five of the eight congressional district seats, and increasing their majority in the General Assembly.

The Colorado GOP, which is chaired by former state Rep. Dave Williams, tweeted that “if (we) run more limited-government & pro-liberty nominees (the Libertarians) won’t run spoiler candidates. Together we can break the stranglehold of Democrats’ one-party rule over Colorado.” Williams did not reply to a request for comment.

“The Libertarians will only stand down if we recruit and nominate candidates who are more pro-freedom than not. They are not looking for the perfect candidate but they are making clear that our Party needs more nominees who will fight for limited-government in Denver and Washington D.C.,” Williams wrote in an email to supporters.

There are about 40,000 active, registered Libertarians in Colorado, making up about 1% of the active voter population, according to May data from the secretary of state’s office.

Colorado Governor Jared Polis, a Democrat, mocked the tentative agreement between Libertarians and Republicans from his personal Twitter account.

“And if you run more pro-liberty candidates who support a woman’s right to choose, the freedom to marry who you love, reducing the income tax, private property rights to build housing on your own land, and legal Cannabis and Psilocybin small businesses then… maybe you can start calling your nominees Democrats,” he wrote.

Colorado Democratic Party Chairman Shad Murib wrote in a text that spoiler candidates are not the roadblock to Republican victory.

“The Colorado Republican Party’s problem is not Libertarians spoiling elections for them – their problem is that their platform is opposed by the vast majority of Colorado voters. If their path to victory is to embrace folks who are even more extreme than then, I’d remind them that two wrongs don’t make a right,” he wrote.

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