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Libertarians could play spoilers in statewide races
Third party fields full slate of candidates in Georgia races for 1st time
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Election 2010
For the first time, every statewide race in Georgia includes a Libertarian on the ballot

Governor
Democrat: Roy Barnes
Republican: Nathan Deal
Libertarian: John Monds

Lieutenant Governor
Republican: Casey Cagle (I)
Libertarian: Dan Barber
Democrat: Carol Porter

Secretary of State
Libertarian: David Chastain
Republican: Brian Kemp (I)
Democrat: Georganna Sinkfield

Attorney General
Democrat: Ken Hodges
Republican: Sam Olens
Libertarian: Don Smart

Superintendent of Schools
Republican: John Barge
Democrat: Joe Martin
Libertarian: Kira Griffiths Willis

Insurance Commissioner
Libertarian: Shane Bruce
Republican: Ralph Hudgens
Democrat: Mary Squires

Labor Commissioner
Republican: Mark Butler
Democrat: Darryl Hicks
Libertarian: Will Costa

Agriculture Commissioner
Republican: Gary Black
Libertarian: Kevin Cherry
Democrat: J.B. Powell

Public Service Commission, District 2
Republican: Tim Echols
Democrat: Keith Moffett
Libertarian: Jim Sendelbach

U.S. Congress

U.S. Senator
Libertarian: Chuck Donovan
Republican: Johnny Isakson (I)
Democrat: Mike Thurmond

Though all the election talk has centered on the battle of Republicans vs. Democrats, 2010 is a big year for the Libertarian Party of Georgia.

For the first time in its history, the party has a candidate on the ballot in each of the statewide races, said Brett Bittner, the operations director for the Libertarian Party of Georgia.

"We've seen tremendous growth in the party in the last two years especially as people have been more disenchanted with the two established parties," Bittner said. "We're already seeing records waiting to be set for the Libertarian Party of Georgia."

The Libertarian Party believes in small government, low taxes and personal freedom. Libertarians tend to be fiscally conservative and liberal when it comes to social issues.

Bittner said the party is hoping to pull support from a rainbow of political persuasions.

"You hear a lot of experts say that we typically pull from Republican voters," Bittner said. "However we're seeing a broad spectrum of support from Republicans, Democrats and especially independents."

Bittner said traditionally Republican voters who are participating in the tea party movement are also considering voting for libertarian candidates.

"Our gubernatorial candidate John Monds and senatorial candidate Chuck Donovan have really been embraced by the tea party movement," Bittner said.

Julianne Thompson, state director of the Tea Party Patriots for Georgia, said though some people are supporting Libertarian candidates, Republican candidates are favored.

"I think the vast majority of people I am seeing in the tea party movement are supporting Nathan Deal (for governor)," Thompson said. "There are some that are supporting John Monds, but I really don't know anyone in the tea party movement that's supporting (Democrat) Roy Barnes."

The tea party group is more in favor of seeing candidates in established parties incorporate their ideals.

"What we're hoping to do is reform politics as usual," Thompson said. "We look for candidates that are going to be true to their constituency, that are going to be grass roots oriented and first and foremost are in alignment with our shared core values in the tea party movement, which are fiscal responsibility, constitutionally limited government and free markets."

Recent poll figures put Monds garnering about 5 percent of the statewide vote.

"We've seen a lot of stories about Libertarian candidates being spoilers in the races they're running in, but we're in it to win," Bittner said.

The Libertarian Party said the next best thing to a victory in November would be for Monds to win 20 percent of the votes.

"In achieving that milestone he is able to secure ballot access for us throughout the state. We would be able to run for every position that we could field a candidate, from dog catcher to U.S. House," Bittner said. "It would give us the same political party status as the Republicans and Democrats here in the state."

Currently, the Libertarian Party of Georgia is classified by the state as a political body rather than a political party, giving Libertarians ballot access for only statewide races. Members are unable to run in district races such as the Georgia and U.S. House of Representatives and Senate unless they receive signatures from 5 percent of registered voters.

 

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