Happy New Year! Libertarians in North Carolina are more organized and more prepared for success than ever before. This is after the LPNC Executive Committee approved the recommendations of a strategic planning effort outlining key initiatives for the coming three election cycles. The results-oriented plan sharpens and focuses efforts in areas which are vital to strengthening our effectiveness in local, state and federal elections.
This is a first for the LPNC. The 2020 Strategic Plan: NCLiberty2020, defines our vision and mission, and delineates four strategic priorities. It was developed by a working group, headed by Ken Penkowski, LPNC Executive Committee at large member.
The plan addresses the specific objectives and tasks that must be accomplished relative to each of the above strategic priorities to achieve overall success. And, of course, hewing to the plan will provide us with a systematic way of determining what works and what doesn't, and implementing course corrections that are easy to understand and communicate throughout the organization.
Here's a brief report on out other milestones in 2014, and what we can expect for 2015.
Although the growth rate of Libertarians in North Carolina has far exceeded every other political party, including unaffiliated voters, over the last five years—a trend that only shows signs accelerating—our size, in absolute numbers, necessitates that candidates motivate a large portion of our base while earning votes from unaffiliated and establishment party ranks. Libertarian candidate for U.S. Senate, Sean Haugh was able to do just that in 2014.
We're very pleased in 2014 to have continued growth in Libertarian (and unaffiliated) voter registration, while Democrats and Republicans decline. The LPNC hit an all time high, reaching 25,887 voters at year's end.
True, we're still less than 1% of registered voters in the state. What is significant, however, is not the numbers, but the continuing trend. While the combined growth of the Democrats and Republicans creeps inexorably downwards (0.3% per year in the last four years, badly trailing the 1.7% per year growth of the population), the growth of unaffiliated voters (5.6% per year) and registered Libertarians (28% per year), by comparison, skyrockets.
US Senate Campaign
Sean Haugh's U.S. Senate campaign received national and international media coverage. Mr. Haugh garnered the most (109,000) and the highest percentage (4%) of votes by any statewide Libertarian candidate in a midterm election ever. Haugh noted that the Libertarian vote now has become the swing vote, since his totals were greater than the margin of difference between Republican Thom Tillis and incumbent Democrat Sen. Kay Hagan.
Exit polls also indicated he drew votes more from people identifying themselves as “moderate” or “liberal” than those who said they were conservative, putting another nail in the coffin of the Libertarian “spoiler” myth.
Other 2014 Election Results
Down ticket, three Libertarian candidates scored a vote percentage in double digits in two-way races: Shelby Mood (N.C. House 117), Erik Cable (N.C. House 104), and Jeremy Hussey (Randolph County Commissioner District 2).
In the 7th Congressional District, despite attempts by the Republican to avoid debates in the gerrymandered safe seat, Wesley Casteen took part in at least one debate with both his Republican and Democratic opponents. WRAL TV also invited him to participate in their debate, where he appeared with just the Democratic candidate.
We officially organized three new counties and now have affiliate organizations covering the state's major population centers; that's 17 affiliate parties encompassing 21 of NC's 100 counties.
In 2015, we plan to work with county organizers to organize more counties, beginning with a Liberty Lunch & Learn training session for Sanford in January, which we're promoting actively in Chatham, Lee, Harnett, and Moore counties. We're also working with activists in the west to schedule one there, possibly in Franklin, and another in the east, perhaps in Kinston. If you're interested in participating in one of these, or hosting one somewhere else in 2015, now would be a good time to speak up. Contact Brad Hessel.
McKinney Joins Exec Com
Windy McKinney was appointed to fill one of the vacant at-large seats. She ran a very successful (even though she didn't win) race for Haywood County commissioner, garnering nearly 10% of the vote in a five-way race.
While 2015 is off-off-year election year, and all the municipal elections are nonpartisan races, they're still offer an opportunity for the libertarian message to be heard for several reasons.
First, these elections are usually decided by a few hundred voters. Second, based on the information in our database, some of these towns have a core of “libertarian-friendly,” voters, in some case as many as 25 percent of the number of votes needed to win. This provides a base of supporters to start with.
Jason Melehani will serve as acting Political Director in 2015 and will be working on recruiting candidates and campaign mangers for these contests. Training will be provided.
He'll also be encouraging local activists and affiliates to get involved in local government by seeking appointments to municipal boards and advisory councils, things like planning and zoning commissions.
Please contact him at [email protected] for more information.
Looking Forward to 2016 Elections
The 2016 Gubernatorial race is a critical hurdle that Libertarians must clear. Meeting state result minimums in this race maintains official state recognition–and thus ballot access–for the following four years. That is why voter turnout—in a race already heating up as Libertarian Ken Fortenberry of Lincoln County recently announced his campaign—is so important. We potentially may have three candidates for our nomination, which would be another milestone first for the LPNC.
LPNC Annual State Convention
The LPNC Annual State Convention is set for April 10 to 12 in Durham. While 2015 may be a year for “off-off-year elections,” it isn't for the LPNC. We will be electing the entire LPNC Executive Committee (officers and at large members).
The convention will be held at the Hilton Garden Inn in Durham/RTP (the same location as 2014). So mark your calender.
Finally, but not least of all ...
Liberty Needs Your Support
Darkening the oval for Libertarians on election day is something that every liberty-minded voter can do to strengthen a free, peaceful and prosperous North Carolina. Also critical is ensuring that the LPNC has the resources it needs to support candidates and reach voters across a very diverse state. Your monthly donation makes a measurable difference in liberty’s success.
For far too long, liberty has taken a back seat to a statist minority. And North Carolina has suffered because of it. We have the potential. We have the passion. We have the plan to reverse that trend. What we need is your support. Vote, volunteer or donate to the LPNC. Make a difference for liberty in 2015.