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“Libertarian” Novotny Gave $2000 to Republican He Offered to Challenge

In absolutely minor news of personal peevishness, Steve Novotny, who portrayed himself last spring as sufficiently loyal to the Libertarian cause to deserve their nomination for Governor, deserted the ultimate Libertarian nominee and gave $2,000 to Republican gubernatorial candidate Kristi Noem:

Steve Novotny donation to Kristi Noem, Noem SD campaign finance report, Year-End 2018, filed 2019.01.25.
Steve Novotny donation to Kristi Noem, Noem SD campaign finance report, Year-End 2018, filed 2019.01.25.
Steve Novotny
Must’ve hocked his tux to get that cash… Steve Novotny, Noem donor.

Novotny thus joins CJ Abernathey as a “Libertarian” who tried to get that struggling party’s nomination but then supported the Republican nominee instead of sticking around to provide cash and sweat to build your party, if not actively campaign for your nominee.

Libertarians, I love the new alternative-party opportunity to nominate gubernatorial and Legislative candidates at convention as much as you do, but Novotny’s nom-tease and Kristi-snit suggest that new-party-builders need to use that convention nomination process with caution, specifically with more rigorous and preferably public vetting to ensure that we weed out mere noisemakers, fame-seekers, and party-sneakers and make sure that everyone who gets to take the mic at convention is willing to stick around and help build the party, even if the party picks someone else bear the party banner on the ballot.

What might that process look like? I know alternative parties have a hard enough time finding a Pizza Ranch meeting room to hold their convention, but maybe a test of viability, absent a primary, is to ask the candidates to participate in at least three public forums pre-convention, with at least two of them in towns other than the convention site. Combine those events with voter registration drives: invite the candidates to go door-to-door, work the sidewalks downtown, whatever, but hand them a packet of registration forms and party flyers, give them two hours, and see who comes back with the most new voter registrations. (Bonus points for bringing back registrations in your new party, but sheer volume of new voters, regardless of party, is still a pretty good metric of a candidate’s ability to go door-to-door and get people to engage in the process.)

Libertarians, you’re always had trouble picking winners. But mission #1 for 2020 needs to be picking people who, even if they are losers, will remain loyal losers who stick around to help after convention, after election, and on through the next elections.


  1. Gideon Oakes 2019-04-06 23:18

    Point taken, but I would offer a reminder that neither Mr. Novotny nor Mr. Abernathy were on the ballot, having each failed to receive a majority vote of members present at convention. I’m actually fairly proud of the candidates we fielded this year. Especially that dashing gentleman from D30. ;-)

  2. Gideon Oakes 2019-04-06 23:20

    Abernathey* … One of these days my autocorrect will get that right.

  3. Adam 2019-04-07 02:49

    If only multiple smaller political parties could gang up on the big Goliath enough to take him down, even just a couple pegs (enough to make all the difference) – but unfortunately the math looks very tough on that.

  4. grudznick 2019-04-07 09:07

    And this is why those who backed grudznick for the Libertarian ticket were correct. My good friend Bob and I would have been true.

  5. grudznick 2019-04-07 09:09

    Thank you for calling me young, Mr. Oakes.

  6. grudznick 2019-04-07 09:11

    Errr…dashing, I mean, young Mr. Oakes. My automatic corrector changed it to another word.

  7. Gideon Oakes 2019-04-07 09:27

    It happens to the borscht of us, my dear Grudz.

  8. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2019-04-07 09:41

    Ultimately, Gideon, the candidates placed on the ballot had the potential to be reasonable voices for the Libertarian Party. Will you be running under their banner again in 2020?

    But the point remains that the Libertarian Party has seen both the 2014 and 2018 conventions sullied by individuals who were more interested in making their own noise than in actively supporting the building of an effective Libertarian Party in South Dakota. How does the Libertarian Party do a better job of getting more people involved who actually want to be involved?

  9. Kurt Evans 2019-04-07 17:28

    The Libertarian Party should require a seven-year loyalty oath from all of its candidates, preferably signed in blood. It could be called the Chained-to-Liberty Pledge, and everyone who signs it could be known as a “Freedom Slave”…

    DISCLAIMER: I’m not serious.

  10. Gideon Oakes 2019-04-07 17:40

    “… conventions sullied by individuals who were more interested in making their own noise …”

    Welllll, ummm, at risk of ticking off certain folks with whom I’m finally getting back on good terms, that is certainly not unique to the LP. But again, your point is taken with all intended positivity.

    Kurt’s point is also poignant. It’s true the LP has historically struggled with an optics problem, at least in part because we are an “anti-organization organization”. Or, perhaps more eloquently, it’s inherently problematic to govern our candidates’ wills and voices while we’re actively campaigning against the governance of wills and voices. The two larger parties have seemingly fewer problems herding their ducks because top-down governance comes more naturally to them than it does to us.

    As to your question about 2020, against some arguably more-savvy political advice regarding political capital and name recognition, my family and I are very much leaning toward sitting out this cycle. But, there’s still plenty of time until no-go.

  11. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2019-04-07 18:30

    But dang, Kurt! That oath ceremony would make for some awesome visuals!

    I share your disdain for loyalty oaths. That’s why we’re not Republicans.

    Underdog parties have to be open to new people. Libertarians can’t require that every statewide candidate have some demonstrable record of public service and party activity; heck, even we Dems lack the bench to field experienced candidates for every office. (And since Republicans have shown us they don’t care about experience any more with Trump and Ravnsborg, I guess we’re clear to run anybody!)

    But the Haber fiasco and the Abernathey and Novotny embarrassments indicate the need for Libertarians to get bigger, tougher, and more discerning. Kudos for the discernment shown in not placing Abernathey or Novotny on the ballot, but that vote was close. The more people Libertarians can sign up, the less likely, I’d like to think, such bad actors will be to disrupt and cast bad PR on the party.

  12. JW 2019-04-07 21:07

    Novotny and Noem have a high strength common glue………… They’re both gun rights extremists.

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