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Libertarian Party Resets, Picks Evans over Abernathey for Governor

Kurt Evans debates CJ Abernathey at the Libertarian Party of South Dakota Convention 2.0, Pierre, SD, 2018.06.09. Screen cap from CJ Abernathey's FB video stream.
Kurt Evans debates CJ Abernathey at the Libertarian Party of South Dakota Convention 2.0, Pierre, SD, 2018.06.09. Screen cap from CJ Abernathey’s FB video stream.

The Libertarian Party of South Dakota saved its reputation yesterday, nominating Kurt Evans and Richard Shelatz as their Governor/Lieutenant Governor ticket. The LPSD thought it had nominated CJ Abernathey for Governor at its April 14 convention in Sioux Falls, but that vote was not legitimate, since Abernathey won only a plurality, not a majority, of delegates voting at that event. The Libertarians thus had to hold a second convention and revote for Governor.

Evans, who threw his hat back in the Libertarian ring just three weeks ago, evidently made a good impression on the delegates who came to the Fort Pierre Pizza Ranch yesterday afternoon.  Abernathey got lots of positive comments from his followers on his video stream of his debate with Evans, but not enough of those followers registered Libertarian and made the trip to Pierre to vote on the actual nomination. Evans won 10–6.

In response to his convention loss, Abernathey initially posted his congratulations to Evans but at the same time blasted Evans as “the least qualified candidate” and criticized Evans for not addressing any of Abernathey’s conspiracy hobbyhorses. (Kurt, the rest of us thank you.) Abernathey attributed his own loss to his beard and his promise to burn a flag to protest an unfavorable child custody/support decision. An hour later, he posted a video of himself buying a new handgun “to make me feel better about what just happened.”

Abernathey then went home and shaved off his beard, saying, “I’m going to lose all my credibility because my beard’s gone.”

CJ Abernathey, FB post, 2018.06.09.
CJ Abernathey, FB post, 2018.06.09.

No, CJ, if you had any credibility to start with, you lost it when you betrayed whatever fealty you may have previously expressed to Libertarian principles and endorsed Republican nominee Kristi Noem:

CJ Abernathey, FB post, 2018.06.09.
CJ Abernathey, FB post, 2018.06.09.

But go ahead, CJ, endorse Kristi as loudly as you want. Come to her rallies and burn your flag for the cameras. Kurt and Billie will appreciate it.

Humble nominee Evans has yet to issue any statements on social media, though he did retweet this happy note from fellow Libertarian Daryl Root:

It may be better to say too little than to say too much, but Kurt! You’re a gubernatorial nominee now! Crank up the PR machine!

The Democratic convention will pick Billie Sutton’s running mate this coming Friday in Sioux Falls. The Republican convention will pick Kristi Noem’s running mate the following weekend in Pierre. The Constitution Party will convene July 14 in Sioux Falls to see if anyone wants to run for Governor under their banner.

25 Comments

  1. jerry 2018-06-10

    Congratulations Mr. Evans, you vanquished your opponent so much that he molted.

  2. John 2018-06-10

    How many times has Kurt Evans run for office and which ones? Has he ever won?

  3. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2018-06-10

    Evans appeared on the ballot for auditor in 2014 and U.S. Senate in 2002. He lost both times. (Kurt! Any ballot appearances I’m missing?)

  4. Kurt Evans 2018-06-10

    Any ballot appearances I’m missing?

    I ran for the U.S. House in 1996, but you’re easily forgiven for forgetting that one. :-)

  5. mike from iowa 2018-06-10

    Don’t know much about Kurt Evans, but Abernathey sounds like a perfect fit in Drumpf’s White House somewhere.

  6. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2018-06-10

    1996! Not only was I not blogging yet (early tech was there, but weblog was coined in Dec. 1997, and blog wasn’t broken free as a standalone term until 1999), but I was also in Canada studying Russian and Polish.

    If I’m reading the news correctly, Kurt ran as an independent in 1996, then as a Libertarian in 2002 and 2014.

  7. grudznick 2018-06-10

    Had Mr. Abernathy promoted me as his undercard more prominently, he wouldn’t have had to pay off the shave-bet into which he entered. Plus, it was good that Pizza Ranch there in Pierre didn’t throw everybody out for the carrying of guns, but it probably is a Ranch with guns carried in often.

    Look at it this way, CJ: you just dropped 3 pounds and 10 years with your shaving; I just gained 3 pounds and 10 years thinking about the gravy taters you could have assimilated during this meeting.

  8. Lori Stacey 2018-06-10

    Cory,

    Terry LaFleur is still in the running. We are still anticipating one or two additional candidates to jump into the Gubernatorial race for the CP in the next 2-3 weeks.

    We are also hoping a superb possible candidate for US House will make a decision soon. It will be the first time in SD history that a CP Congressional candidate will be on the general election ballot! Stay tuned and reserve your seat!

  9. Roger Cornelius 2018-06-10

    When was the last time the Libertarian, Constitutional, or any other fringe party have a serious impact on a South Dakota political campaign?

  10. Rorschach 2018-06-10

    Will Abernathey return to the party from whence he recently came – Republican?

    Will Sen. Stace Nelson come out of the closet and join the party that most closely aligns with his political philosophy – Constitution – to make a congressional run against that socialist-sympathizing ultra-liberal Democrat Dusty Johnson?

    Will Grudz form the gravy taters party, nominate himself, and make a run for Lt. Governor all by himself and win – leaving us governorless – by promising unlimited gravy taters for all?

    We live in interesting times.

  11. Kurt Evans 2018-06-10

    Roger Cornelius asks:

    When was the last time the Libertarian, Constitutional, or any other fringe party have a serious impact on a South Dakota political campaign?

    I’d say any impact an alternative party has on a political campaign is serious, but assuming you wouldn’t agree, we could consider John Thune’s opinion regarding the 2002 U.S. Senate campaign. Human Events has quoted him as saying there’s “no doubt” that I spoiled the race.

    John Gizzi wrote:

    Did Evans spoil the race for Republican Thune in favor of Democrat Johnson, I asked?

    “No doubt about it,” Thune shot back without hesitation.

    http://humanevents.com/2012/11/26/did-libertarian-party-cost-gop-9-races/

    McGill University professor Jacob Levy would apparently disagree:

    The remaining 3,000 probably wouldn’t have voted for Thune in any event; and on net Evans helped Thune (first, by swinging his way those voters who could be swung; second, by keeping 3,000 of the other voters from voting for Johnson).

    … For the Republican commentariat to keep criticizing him for costing their guy the race is deeply unfair.

    http://jacobtlevy.blogspot.com/2002/11/rachel-dicarlo-at-weekly-standards.html

    So Thune says I spoiled the race, and Levy says I narrowed Tim Johnson’s margin of victory. Either way it would be difficult to argue that the Libertarian Party didn’t have a serious impact on the campaign.

  12. Roger Cornelius 2018-06-10

    Thanks Kurt,
    Please understand I’m not being snarky, just trying to get a clearer understanding.
    Let me put it another way, when was the last time a Libertarian, Constitution, or fringe party member ever been to and state office, governor, AG, or, SOS?
    Has a member of anyone of these parties held federal elected positions?

  13. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2018-06-10

    Roger, the only alt-party Governor in South Dakota’s history was Populist Andrew E. Lee, elected 1896. Populists John Edward Kelley and Freeman T. Knowles also won seats in the U.S. House that year. James H. Kyle won a U.S. Senate seat in 1890 as an independent, then won re-election as a Populist in 1896. Populists LaFollette, Kirkpatrick, and Tompkins also swept the PUC races in 1896. But that’s all. According to the 2017 Blue Book, no non-Republican, non-Democratic candidates have won election to any statewide office in South Dakota.

  14. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2018-06-10

    Lori, I sincerely hope the Constitution Party can put forward serious, viable nominees for Governor and U.S. House who can work together and draw voters to your party. Give us solid four-way races for Governor and U.S. House, get your ticket-headers to work as hard as Pressler and Howie did in 2014, and you and the Libertarians can pull 20% of the vote… nearly all of which will come from conservative voters, thus improving Democrats’ chances of winning significantly.

  15. Roger Cornelius 2018-06-10

    Thanks, Cory
    That’s a long dry spell for any party.
    Now for the next question, why do you think these fringe parties hang in there when there is virtually no chance of them winning, or even making an respectable showing?

  16. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2018-06-10

    Perhaps, Roger, for the same reason I keep blogging? (That’s a loaded question….)

  17. Kurt Evans 2018-06-10

    Roger Cornelius writes:

    Let me put it another way, when was the last time a Libertarian, Constitution, or fringe party member ever been to and state office, governor, AG, or, SOS?
    Has a member of anyone of these parties held federal elected positions?

    Cory’s comment above covered South Dakota. There may be more encouragement for alternative parties in results from other states.

    Constitution Party nominee Tom Tancredo received 36.4 percent of the vote for governor in Colorado in 2010, placing second behind Democrat John Hickenlooper and ahead of Republican Dan Maes.

    Libertarian Party nominee Joe Miller received 29.1 percent of the vote for U.S. Senate in Alaska in 2016, placing second behind Republican Lisa Murkowski and ahead of independent candidate Margaret Stock and Democrat Ray Metcalfe.

    I believe the only member of these alternative parties to hold a federal elected position is U.S. Senator Bob Smith of New Hampshire, who joined the Constitution Party briefly in 1999. (At that time it was still called the U.S. Taxpayers’ Party.)

  18. Roger Cornelius 2018-06-10

    Cory,
    I meant it to be a loaded question and what a perfect answer.
    It is like me voting for Democrats for all these years, it’s like waiting for your lottery numbers to hit – one of these days.

  19. Kurt Evans 2018-06-10

    Cory had written:

    Roger, the only alt-party Governor in South Dakota’s history was Populist Andrew E. Lee, elected 1996.

    I’m pretty sure Cory meant 1896 there. :-)

  20. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2018-06-10

    Yup! Sorry! I’ll edit that above! (But imagine, Kurt if that Populist wave had waited 100 years.)

  21. Kurt Evans 2018-06-10

    But imagine, Kurt if that Populist wave had waited 100 years.

    Yeah, Bob Mercer actually mentioned the 100th anniversary of the 1896 Populist wave in a front-page Rapid City Journal article about the 1996 House race.

  22. Lori Stacey 2018-06-10

    A couple of the statutes that we finally got declared unconstitutional through our federal lawsuit were on the books for much longer than most of us have been alive!!!

    My point is that the “dry spell” of successful alternative party candidates undoubtedly had a lot of help to crush “the wave” by very deliberative actions by both major parties passing these unconstitutional statutes designed to accomplish just that.

    12-5-21 has been on the books since 1917 and 12-5-1 that has had only very minor changes to it through the years, was originally passed in 1939.

    Let’s see if we can now bring back a new wave! It will take some time for even our loyal members to realize what our parties have recently accomplished. Many have sadly been beaten down by the old system for a very long time.

  23. Debbo 2018-06-11

    It would be nice if the rejiggering that will hopefully ensue following the trump debacle and GOP implosion would include more political parties. 4-5 might be nice. If they could get a few seats in Congress and state houses to force the larger parties to require their votes, we might have better, actually functional government.

  24. Lori Stacey 2018-06-11

    Cory,

    Lol! The Dems in North Carolina helped the CP in our final push to get on the ballot there for the first time ever.

    They offered to circulate our party petition at their caucuses and we graciously accepted their help. The last 300+ signatures came from the Dems! It is the R’s that we have major problems with across the country.

  25. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2018-06-11

    That’s the thing, Lori: we Democrats care about democracy. We want everyone to participate, even people who choose to form opposing parties.

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