Matt Dobra, an associate professor of economics at Methodist University in Fayetteville, is a member of the Fayetteville Observer’s Community Advisory Board. He lives in Wake County and attends our weekly Meetups.
He recently wrote an op-ed for the newspaper on Raleigh’s bid for a new Amazon headquarters. Matt writes:
“Last week, the pageantry of the Amazon HQ2 location search culminated with the announcement of not one, but two, future locations: Arlington, Virginia, and Long Island City, New York.” he wrote. “Raleigh, once considered to be one of the most appealing of the shortlisted contestants, came up short in its bid.”
“Perhaps this is for the better.”
“There may have been a blue wave in Wake County, but it was sprinkled with gold specs,” said David Ulmer, Wake Libertarian Party chair.
“The old parties always accuse Libertarians of being 'spoilers' or 'stealing their votes.’ These are lies, but in two state House and one state Senate races we'll take pride in that false accusation.”
Ulmer noted that in House 36 and 37 and Senate 18, Libertarians made the difference between the establishment party candidates.
“Both old parties spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on their polarizing campaigns,” Ulmer said. “While Democrats claim they oppose ‘money in politics,’ they put massive amounts in the effort to unseat Rep. Nelson Dollar in House 36.”
“We spent much less, and focused on positive, issue-oriented campaigns,” Ulmer said, “and Robyn Pegram got much more ‘bang for the buck.’”
Wake Libertarians fielded a record 14 candidates for the county’s 16 legislative seats.
“We hope to do even better in 2020, and we will continue to talk to voters about real concerns in our community,” Ulmer said. “We believe the days of the two-party control over elections are over.”
Libertarians are shaking up the two-party paradigm. Everyone in Wake will be able to vote for at least three Libertarian candidates. Across the state, early voting has topped one million, 25% of the electorate, and may set a new all-time record.
And for the first time in anyone’s memory, two groups who usually lock-step support one of the establishment parties – no matter how high Libertarians score in their candidate questionnaires – broke their patterns.
Libertarian candidates earned a recommendation from Grass Roots NC, the state’s only no-compromise gun rights advocacy group. GRNC usually recommends Republicans, regardless of the Libertarian candidates rating, because “Libertarians can’t win.” But they broke out of that rut this year. Not only did they recommend Libertarian candidates, but in two cases did so over the incumbent Republican who they labeled "anti-gun."
In Wake's NC House 35, GRNC recommended Libertarian Michael Nelson over Republican Chris Malone. David Perry, in New Hanover’s NC House 19, also achieved that distinction over Republican Ted Davis. Brian Lewis (NC Senate 15), and Brian Irving (NC Senate 16) also got the GRNC nod in Wake.
Unfortunately, GRNC fell back into its old pattern in NC House 49. Although they acknowledged Libertarian Jonathon Horst scored higher (by five points) than the Republican David Robertson, the still endorsed Robertson because – wait for it – he’s the candidate “most likely to beat” the “anti-gun” incumbent Democrat Cynthia Hall. We’ll see.
On the other side, NORML, the leading marijuana legalization advocacy group, gave several Libertarian across the state A ratings. Included are Brian Irving (NC Senate 16), Cap Hayes (NC House 34), Michael Nelson (NC House 35), Robyn Pegram (NC House 36), Martin Matuszewski (NC House 39), David Ulmer (NC House 40), Jonathan Horst (NC House 49), and both Wake Congressional candidates, Barbara Howe (CD 4) and Jeff Mateum (CD 2).
Bruce Basson (NC Senate 17) and Travis Groo (NC House 11) each got a B+ and Brad Hessel (NC Senate 18) got a B. Although not an endorsement, this is another example of a group that traditionally supports one of the establishment parties giving fair treatment to Libertarians.