Both sample and absentee ballots have been available in New Hampshire for a few weeks now, so I assume I'm not the only one to notice something that in a close race could prove absolutely vital for Republicans.
If you have a ballot nearby, check it out
If not, I'm sure you'll take my word for it (or click on the link to Manchester sample ballots). For the first time in many election cycles, Libertarians have chosen not to file candidates for office in New Hampshire, and no Independent candidates have filed enough petition signatures to get on the ballot.
Our ballots in fact have four columns, one for all Republicans, one for all Democrats, and then two other columns, but at least in my district (Manchester, Ward 8), no names appear in the two other columns.
In a blowout election, this won't matter, but in a close election, it could matter a great deal, considering that Libertarian candidates are generally believed to take more votes away from Republicans than Democrats, perhaps by as much as a four to one margin. Here's just one citation to prove the contention.
www.dailykos.com/.../-Libertarians-provided-the-margin-for-...Nov 15, 2012 - It's hard to imagine the Libertarians helping Republicans in IN-Gov, CO-06, IN-02, ... However, it's not inconceivable that the Green hurt Dems in MI-01, ... would have needed to go to the GOP candidate to change the outcome:.
I've looked at the most recent off year election (2010).
In that race, John Barbiarz, the Libertarian candidate for governor, took 2.2 percent of the vote (not enough to influence the election since John Lynch beat John Stephen by about eight percent).
With Kelly Ayotte beating Paul Hodes by more than 100,000 votes for United States Senate (273,218-167,545), the 9194 votes for Independent Chris Booth and the 4753 for Libertarian Ken Blevins were far from decisive.
Nor were the 7966 votes for Libertarian Philip Hodson in the first Congressional District race since Frank Guinta defeated Carol Shea Porter by about 26,000 votes (121,655-95,503).
However, look at the race in the second c.d. Charlie Bass beat ann McLane Kuster by only 3550 votes (108,619-105,060), and the two other candidates on the ballot received nearly 11,000 votes (6197 for Independent Tim vanBlommesteyn and 4796 for Libertarian Howard Wilson).
In other words, those third (or fourth) party votes could have made the difference. Most likely, in this case, the Bass margin would have been greater against Kuster.
We could go through other years, but I'm sure you'll take my word for it. Libertarian/Independent candidates generally have drawn in the two to three percent range.
With only Democrats and Republicans on the 2014 New Hampshire ballot, score it another advantage for Republicans in a year they are not likely to need any extra help.
Don't think I'm making this up. The media has reported three incidents nationwide in which Libertarian candiates will likely hurt, perhaps fatally so, Republicans.
In Florida, Libertarian gubernatorial candidate Adrian Wyllie could likely caputre enough votes to give the win to Democrat Charlie "I Need A Fan Up My Pants" Crist over incumbent Republican Scott.
In Gerogia, Libertarian Amanda Swafford just might take enough votes to prevent either major party candidate (Nunn or Perdue) from reaching the 50 percent threshhold to avoid a runoff required by state law (the runoff, if you can believe it, wouldn't be until January 6, 2015, three days after the new Congress is sworn in).
In North Carolina, Libertarian Sean "The Pizza Guy" Haugh could well siphon off enough conservative votes to provide inucmbent Democrat Kay Hagan with a slim margin of victory over Republican Thom Tillis who has closed a four point gap to just one point in recent days. Haugh is not likely to get the seven to eight percent he's registering in polls--third party candidates generally fade on election day--but any votes not cast for Tillis could be pivotal.
Republicans won't have that problem in New Hamsphire. Apparently, Libertarians have "wised up" and learend that their presense on the ballot does far more harm than goood for the principles for which they stand.