When Pennsylvanians vote next month they won't have just Barack Obama and Mitt Romney or Bob Casey and Tom Smith to choose between.
Libertarians beat back a challenge from the state Republican party, which means their candidate for president and statewide offices will remain an option on the November ballot.
The Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court ruled late Wednesday that Libertarians had obtained the 20,601 valid signatures required for ballot access. State Republicans had argued that many of the signatures were faulty because addresses did not match the statewide voter registry.
"The rotten Republicans in their 800-dollar suits used every trick in their playbook to try to short-circuit the democratic process and defeat us," said Tom Stevens, the chair of the Pennsylvania Libertarians, in a statement. "With little money and an army of dedicated volunteers, we stood up to the superior resources of the Republican Party, never once considering capitulation, even though we faced the possibility of a significant assessment of costs, sanctions and attorneys fees if we lost."
The Morning Call has written about both former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson, the Libertarian's presidential candidate whose name will now appear on at least 48 state ballots, and Rayburn Smith, a retired postal worker, running for the U.S. Senate. Johnson visited West Chester in mid-September as the first stop on his college campus campaign van tour. (Read that story here and the piece on Smith here).
While Libertarians are unlikely to receive more than a few percent of the vote, if the presidential and Senate races in Pennsylvania tighten as some polls suggest they are, shaving off a few percent could make a difference.
Because Libertarians focus on limited government, they tend to siphon votes away from Republicans. Their icon, Texas Congressman Ron Paul, ran as a Republican in the presidential primary as did Johnson initially. State Republicans were worried about losing votes for Romney if Pennsylvania suddenly becomes in play.
In addition to Johnson and Smith, the Libertarians are also running attorney general candidate Marakay Rogers, auditor general candidate Betsy Summers, and treasurer candidate Patricia Fryman.Copyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times