"Those other guys" speak out

If the Libertarian and Constitutional candidates made a political statement in the forest and no one was around to hear it, would they make a sound? Well, they're trying to figure that one out. Because right now, the Mitchell Daily Republic isn't planning on letting them make a sound at the State Fair. From the article in the Argus Leader:
The Libertarian Party candidate for governor says it's unfair that he and another third-party candidate have been excluded from a public debate at the South Dakota State Fair.

Tom Gerber of Sturgis said Thursday the decision to have only incumbent Republican Gov. Mike Rounds and Democrat challenger Jack Billion on the Freedom Stage for the hourlong debate Sept. 2 is unjust and not in the public interest.

"Is it in the public interest to prevent the voters from hearing from all candidates? I think not,'' Gerber said. "Is it just? I think not.''


"We're big fans of the State Fair - me, personally, and the Daily Republic. We were approached about sponsoring the debate, and we volunteered do to that,'' Hamiel said. "Look, the format is one hour. I guess we thought most voters would want to hear from the major candidates, Jack Billion and Governor Rounds.''

Gerber said that's not good enough.

"To argue that one hour is too short is a sophistry,'' he said. "Apparently they set the time at one hour, knowing they would invite only two candidates.''
Read it all here. Try not to die of shock, third party guys - I agree with the need to let you participate. Yes, I need a mnemonic device to remember your names (Old man with the baby food name, and the "what-you-talking-about" candidate), and you don't have much of a chance. But about 150 years or so ago, they said that about the Republican party.

Here we are, and when one of the newspapers who are great for talking about openness and transparency in government is guilty of the very thing that they'll take a school board or county commission to court over - not providing complete information for voters to make an informed decision - they say that "...the format is one hour. I guess we thought most voters would want to hear from the major candidates."

Would they accept that from a city commission who did their work in private ahead of time? I think not.

There are times I'd rather not see the libertarians on the Ballot. Arguably, in 2002 the libertarian cost Thune the Senate seat, as his vote total was significantly more than the margin of loss.

But you know what? Last time I checked, Gerber was the member of an organized political party who got the required number of signatures on the ballot. So is Willis.

Like it or not, they deserve their day in the sun - the hot September sun - and the voters deserve the chance to make their own decisions. Without the Mitchell Daily Republic pre-filtering it for them.


Anonymous said…
Let them speak,at least they have a full slate of candidates. The Dems are the third party. They either don't have enough people in their party to run for positions or they feel Chris Nelson, Rich Sattgast and Vern Larson are the best person for the job.
Anonymous said…
Anon - your an idiot. The dems are going to pick up seats this year. Legislature and state wide offices. Keep your head in the sand. Its easier to sneak up on you.
Jake Mortenson said…
The Libertarian Party is the largest third party in the country. At a time when many are disgusted by both sides of the aisle, a party promoting economic AND personal freedom might just have a chance.

Sheltering voters from third party policy proposals hurts third party candidates and all voters. The only winners are the two entrenched parties.
scimitar said…
Sibby is worried about free speech in the Leslie Unruh post. Here's your calling Sibby! PP has just given you a free speech cause to champion.

Go get em tiger!
Anonymous said…
So if the Dems are so energized and are going to be so successful, why couldn't they find candidates for Secretary of State, Auditor, or Treasurer? I still haven't heard the Dems explain that.
scimitar said…
Anon 2:19 You haven't been following this blog. There have been several posts on this issue, and I have answered that question several times.

It is a question of funding. The Democratic party doesn't have as much money as the Republican party. Challengers can't raise as much money as incumbents.

Legitimate candidates aren't going to risk their political future challenging incumbents, without adequate funding. Political parties don't want to spend scarce resources financing second-tier candidates against incumbents.

Life is miserable for candidates without funding, so you can't always find someone to give up a year of their life to run.
Anonymous said…
The Democrats aren't fielding candidates because they are trying to spend money efficiently, yet they're willing to give Ron Volesky money? Sounds like Democrat logic...
Anonymous said…
Jake Mortenson:

Yes, the Libertarian Party is the third largest in the nation. But, some perspective on that.

They have barely 200,000 people registered nationwide.

In the 2004 Presidential race, the Libertarian (Badnarik) got 397265. Nader running as a Reform Party or independent candidate (depending on state) got evenr more, 463563.

So yes, nationally the Libertarian party is the 3rd largest, but it is a DISTANT 3rd.

What about in SD you say? Glad you asked.

In 2004, the number of registered Libertarians in SD was only 1091. You read that right, 1091. They are only 0.22% of the "active" registered voters.

In 2002, amid the race for Governor they did no better, coming it at 1148 or 0.24% of "active" registered voters. "Other" by the way 63171 or 13.27% of active registered voters.

Barton/Risty only got 1983 votes, or 0.59% of all voters cast. The best the 2002 Libertarians could do was Bob Newland in his race for Attorney General, and Bob only got 12131 or 3.72% of all votes cast in that race, mostly because Bob is, well, Bob.

Does this mean shutting them out is the right thing? No. Does it mean shutting them out is the wrong thing? Probably, but it can be understood a lot better by looking at the numbers and not just fixating on the fact that they are the 3rd largest party in SD and the US as a whole.

Again, it is true they are the 3rd largest, but by such a distant margain as to make them meaningless.
Anonymous said…
5:08 It's not up to the party if someone runs. It's up to people to put their name on the ballot.

Read the last sentence of scimitar, you idiot. And think about it.
Anonymous said…
Hehehe! A disciple of scimitar called someone else an idiot. That's hilarious.

I'd like to hear from the 3rd and 4th party candidates.

Let them play! Let them play!
Anonymous said…
Is it murphy's law that if you call someone an idiot, you will make a mistake in some shape or form with spelling, homophones, usage and/or grammar? (See 8:53 "your")
Anonymous said…
Hey Anon 8:53 I will bet you they don't pick up Sec of State, Treasurer or Auditor.

The reason the Dems are loosing seats is they don't have any stance on any issue. Whining is not a campaign message.

Also the reason no one in SD wants to give you money is they don't think like you. Most of us citizens of SD want small responsible government, liberals want to tax and spend through the government.

I know how to spend my money better than any government official of any party.
Tom Gerber said…
Comments about the effort of Mr. Willis and myself to be able to debate on State property show that voters of
South Dakota wish to have more choices--choices of ideas as well as of candidates. I have not had a chance to talk this over with Mr. Willis, but when I discuss things with voters, they tell me several things, among which are:
1. Many vote for the man not the party.
2. They have opinions that seem to
be very much in favor of personal
liberty and fiscally conservative actions by government.
3. The governor and other officials should not use government
airplanes or other government resources for their own personal benefit or for the benefit of their political party.

Consider this: Governor Rounds commands the Commissioner of Agriculture who commands the people in charge of the State Fair. Who then can tell the State Fair management that events held on State property at State expense may not favor one or more political parties to the detriment of others.
Such action is both unethical and illegal.

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