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"Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!" - Patrick Henry

More Unofficial Returns

While we did not win our ultimate goals- election to office- in the recent general elections, the Libertarian Party can show that our base has grown significantly here in Hamilton County. Let us compare the countywide numbers with the same cycles from elections past:

2010 US Senate Results
Rebecca Sink-Burris
5380 votes, 6.66%

2004 US Senate Results
Al Barger
970 votes, 1%

(In 2006, there was no Democratic candidate for US Senate. Libertarian Steve Osborn got 4,226 votes, 8%, in a two-way race with Republican Dick Lugar.)

2010 Indiana Secretary of State Results
Mike Wherry
5,880 votes, 7.35%

2006 Indiana Secretary of State Results
Mike Kole
1,775 votes, 3%

2010 Indiana Auditor Results
Eric Knipe
3,360 votes, 4.31%

2002 Indiana Auditor Results
Bruce Parisi
1,535 votes, 4%

(The Libertarian Party did not field a candidate for Indiana Auditor in 2006.)

2010 US House, District 5 Results
Chard Reid
7,584 votes, 9.45%

2006 US House, District 5 Results
Shari Conover Sharlow
2,393 votes, 4%

Links to Hamilton County election results: 2010, 2006, 2004, 2002.

It has always been the experience of the Libertarian Party throughout Indiana that the candidates at the top of the ticket, for federal offices like President or US Senate, tended to get the lowest returns, with numbers improving further downticket in local races. So, the numbers pulled by Chard Reid and Rebecca Sink-Burris are positively encouraging.

Both Reid and Sink-Burris earned some broad name recognition, Reid having been endorsed by the Indianapolis Star, and Sink-Burris performing well in three televised debates. This clearly translated into votes for each.

These are huge gains that suggest to me that our base has grown significantly, and that the voters are increasingly comfortable with casting votes for offices perceived to be the most important. This is a source of great pride for me as County Chair!

The Secretary of State race is also very interesting to compare, as Mike Wherry more than doubled up my 2006 results, the Democrats stayed flat, while the Republicans took a hit.

2010 R: 67.03%
2006 R: 71%

2010 D: 25.62%
2006 D: 26%

No doubt the voter registration issues dogging Republican Charlie White were a factor here. Interesting, though, that White's status as Republican County Chair did not help overcome losing support to Wherry. But also, I suspect the fact of the Secretary of State race as the ballot status race for the Libertarian Party was also a factor.

In other races where we had candidates, Libertarians also fared well.

2010 County Council Dist 3 Results
Joe Tucker
2,761 votes, 17.08%

2002 County Council Dist 3 Results
Terry Baker
830 votes, 8%

There was no Libertarian in this race in 2006, and in 2002, Baker ran in a three-way race, so there isn't an apples-to-apples comparison available here. We can compare to a different district though. In 2002, in District 2, Gregg Puls ran in a two-way race for County Council and got 1,079 votes and 11%. It could be that the Noblesville area is more inclined to vote Libertarian than the Fishers area was at that time. It could simply reflect the party's growth, or more likely, some of both.

2010 County Council Dist 2 Results
Mike Kole
1,643 votes, 6.88%

2002 County Council Dist 2 Results
Greg Puls
1,079 votes, 11%

As with District 3, there was no Libertarian candidate in 2006, and there isn't an apples-to-apples comparison, because 2002 was a two-way, and 2010 was a three way race. I take stock in the increase in number of votes, especially considering there was a Democrat taking roughly 25%. No doubt in 2002, some Democratic voters cast votes for Puls lacking a candidate of their own to vote for. What I noticed right away, though, was that my 2010 vote total of 1,643 votes represents just three of the County's nine townships, my 2006 vote totals of 1,775 for the Secretary of State were taken from the entire County. That's pretty remarkable.

2010 Indiana House Dist 36 Results
Greg Noland
29 votes, 4.01%

2008 Indiana House Dist 36 Results
Greg Noland
36 votes, 3.41%

This is a nice one to compare, as we had the same candidate running against the same incumbent Democrat. While the Dem lost 10 points, we went up by more than half a point. This district is primarily in Madison County, but it does extend into White River and part of Jackson Townships.

2010 Indiana House Dist 87 Returns
Joe Hauptmann
1,638 votes, 16.76%

2008 Indiana House Dist 87 Returns
Pamela Hickman (Democrat)
4,991 votes, 31,19%

There isn't an apples-to-apples comparison for this race for 2002-2010, but this one is interesting. In 2008, there was no Libertarian candidate, and Republican Cindy Noe ran a two-way race with Democrat Pamela Hickman. Against the same candidate in 2010, Libertarian Joe Hauptmann got more than half the percentage of the Democrat, who was boosted by a national pendulum swing to the Democrats in 2008.

In Summary: Our numbers are going up despite our candidates not having huge advertising budgets. We do a fantastic job of taking advantage of earned media. The base of the Libertarian Party in Hamilton County is growing at all levels, but most significantly at the top of ticket, where voter confidence was previously very scarce. The key now is to translate more votes into more candidates for future ballots, and more volunteers to walk neighborhoods and work phone banks and polling places. We may be getting near to Malcolm Gladwell's tipping point, where we start electing officials to office in Hamilton County!

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posted by Mike Kole @ 9:05 PM,


At 11/12/2010 11:37 AM, Blogger FishersDemo said...

Mike, not to throw icewater on your encouragement, but it is more complex. As a progressive, I voted for two libertarians myself, including Chard Reid. Reid got my vote despite large disagreements on policy, because he was the only candidate with a brain.

In the other case, a local race, there was no Democratic candidate, and I was NOT going to vote for the Republican.

For me as a Hamilton County Democrat, I vote Libertarian as my protest vote against Republican dominance of everything. And I suspect that I am not alone.

At 11/15/2010 2:11 PM, Blogger Mike Kole said...

Sure, more complex than the average blog post. But agree with your case for voting for Reid. The same opposite dynamic certainly occurred with the Secretary of State race, where usually reliable Republican voters decided they wouldn't vote for the Republican and couldn't vote for the Democrat- so we sucked up that vote.

Of course, we'll take 'em for any reason a voter chooses to identify. :-)


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