All-in-all, 2020 will go down as a good year for the LPNC! Among our electoral accomplishments:
- All-time record for most total votes for our General Assembly candidates
- All-time record for most votes in a statewide race
- Second most votes ever for our Presidential candidate
- All-time high number of registered Libertarians on Election Day
- Record high turnout
The performance of our state legislative candidates was particularly gratifying. While we have run more candidates in previous elections, our eight state Senate and 14 state House candidates collectively breezed to a new all-time high of 80,252 votes. This was due, in part, to the overall record-high turnout in 2020.
But Libertarians clearly had broad appeal to Democrats, Republicans, and unaffiliated voters, who provided an estimated 80 to 90 percent of Libertarian votes. Although none of our candidates “beat the spread” by getting more votes than the difference between their establishment party opponents, Liam Leaver in House 37 came close. Out of more than 70,000 votes cast, he came up just 87 votes short of outpolling the difference between Republican Erin Pare and Democrat Sydney Blatch in what was one of the most competitive legislative races in the state.
U.S. Senate candidate Shannon Bray did beat the spread in his contest, and handily. He almost lapped the 96,000 vote margin-of-victory for incumbent Republican Thom Tillis over Democrat Cal Cunningham. Bray’s 171,571 votes total set a new single-candidate all-time high in a statewide race, outstripping the 167,772 votes Michael Monaco received in his 2018 race for Court of Appeals. Bray’s 3.13 percent of the vote, however, did not come close to challenging Scott McLaughlin’s longstanding statewide race record of 4.05% in the 1992 gubernatorial election.
In our other topline contests, Jo Jorgensen surprised some observers by out-polling Gary Johnson…that is, she garnered more votes than Johnson received in his 2012 run, thus notching the second-highest vote total (48,678) for a Libertarian Presidential candidate ever in North Carolina, and the third-highest percentage at 0.88%. Neither mark was close to Johnson’s all-time best 2016 results: 130,000 votes and 2.74 percent of all votes.
In the gubernatorial contest, Steven DiFiore received 60,000 votes which amounted to 1.1%. Those totals were the lowest since 2004, which was also the last time the LPNC failed to achieve the two percent threshold to qualify to remain on the ballot for the next four years. Fortunately, the most recent tweak of the relevant statute provides another avenue for us to qualify. As our Presidential candidate was on the ballot in at least 35 states (all 50 in fact) we're still good to go.
Finally, according to official NCSBE data, there was an all-time record of 46,363 registered Libertarians in NC on November 3. The party already has notched our best annual growth since 2012 and with a few weeks left to go, we have a chance to set a new all-time record in that regard as well. And while we are still awaiting the final tabulations on turnout, it’s clear it will settle out somewhere around 60 percent which will constitute another all-time high.
So … it’s not too early to be thinking about 2022! Our newly-crowned all-time vote-getting champion, Shannon Bray, has already announced he is running for U.S. Senate again. If you would like to join in the fun and get involved with one of the many campaigns we will be mounting—or even would consider running yourself!—please let us know.