Some Georgia Libertarians with a bully pulpit are savaging Republican Governor nominee Nathan Deal and helping his Democrat opponent, Roy Barnes, in the process. In their minds, it’s for the greater good — a chance to legitimize and make official the Libertarian party in the state while punishing Deal for beating their favored Republican candidate in the run-off.
Currently in the state of Georgia, a Libertarian candidate needs to collect the signatures of 1% of registered voters (approx 60,000 people) in order to be on the ballot. They aren’t allowed official qualification or participation in primaries.
Many Libertarians see this election as a great opportunity to legitimize their party. According to Georgia state law, once a candidate running on a third party platform garners 20% of the vote in a general election, they earn party status. Simply put: if the Libertarian candidate loses, and he will lose, but takes 20% of the vote, the Libertarian party would be on all state ballots going forward in perpetuity, they would get to qualify and run in primaries and forever split the conservative vote in the state of Georgia.
The Libertarian candidate is currently polling in the low single digits. If the Libertarians rally and get their candidate even 10% of the vote, it could force a runoff between Deal and Barnes. While a general election runoff may be entertaining for some Libertarians, that scenario has not historically worked out well for the Democrats; they have never won a runoff in a statewide race.
In fairness, many of the self-proclaimed Libertarians pushing this agenda and willingly cross-posting the left’s ginned up criticism and lampooning of Deal weren’t born when Ross Perot’s candidacy gave us Bill Clinton. Forgive them. They know not what they do.
Those of us with the maturity and the mileage know what a fool’s errand this is. In the hopes of reaching them with reason, (indulge me) I want to point just a few of the national implications of this race, as well as many other critical governor’s races this year, and specifically why we must have Nathan Deal as the next Governor of Georgia.
Redistricting: You don’t have to live in the Peach State to be affected by this race’s outcome; Georgia is one of 8 most important gubernatorial races in country due to redistricting. Whoever becomes governor of Georgia, as well as Florida, Texas, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, New York and Wisconsin, will get to redraw their state’s Congressional districts.
We already know how Barnes would redraw those lines, he had a shot at redistricting in 2003 when he was a one-term Georgia governor. (That’s right. Georgians only wanted one term of Roy and voted in Sonny Perdue, the first Republican Governor since reconstruction, yet Barnes and the DGA would have us suffer him again.)
In 2003, then-Governor Barnes so unfairly favored the Democrats in his redistricting proposal that the Bush Department of Justice threw out his map and re-drew it.
Georgia is going to pick up one house seat in 2011. We don’t want that decision, or any other state’s redistricting decision, left in the hands of an Obama ally like Barnes.
Impact on Senate Races: There is a nearly 80% correlation between picking up a Senate seat and winning the governorship. Republican Senator Johnny Isakson is up for re-election this year in Georgia and is polling strong, but this correlation holds true in other states.
2012 Implications: We want as few Obama allies as governors during the last two years of President Obama’s administration as more unwanted legislation is forced upon us. We want Democratic governors even less during Obama’s re-election campaign.
It’s for these reasons and more that Hugh Hewitt listed Deal’s as one of the Top 20 Campaigns In Which To Invest Time and Money Between Now and November. Learn more about Nathan Deal here.