Libertarian Party celebrates increased media attention



Gary Johnson, the Libertarian candidate for president, speaks at a campaign event in Los Angeles on Oct. 19. (Marcus Yam/Los Angeles Times/TNS)

By Ashni Gandhi, Staff Writer

The quaint Pizza M restaurant in Downtown Urbana had a festive air, hosting the Champaign County Libertarian group.

This small, yet vibrant group convened in the back — talking politics over maple syrup and bleu cheese wood-charred pizzas.

This Libertarian viewing party was overall disappointed in the outcome of their candidate, Gary Johnson, but are hopeful for the future.

“Five percent of statewide (voters) will make us an established party under state law. Right now we waste a lot of time and money giving a voter a choice on the ballot,” said Chris Maden, chair of the champaign county libertarian group.

Initially, the frustration was evident with each member peering anxiously at the polls. They had already accepted the defeat of the nominee.

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    Despite the tension in the room, Maden focused on the libertarian party and its goals.

    “We got 100 times more media attention, new membership, general interest, donations. The metrics across the board are way up,” Maden said. “The challenge for us is starting tomorrow is how do we keep this momentum going.”

    Other locals commented on the election season and how the unpopularity of the candidates have helped the Libertarian Party gain some ground.

    Channing Brown, Champaign-Urbana area local, talked about his relation to the Libertarian Party. He has voted and remained loyal to the Libertarian Party for 20 years.

    When posed the question of whether supporting the Libertarian party will split the Democratic vote he replied with a definitive “no.”

    “It is sort of interesting in how close it is. Personally, I am more interested in hearing what Gary Johnson’s results are,” said Brown. “There’s people worried on both sides. To some extent, we are taking votes from both parties and places. I am voting for Gary Johnson because I am a libertarian.”

    He further stated his problems with the question of Libertarians splitting the vote.

    “The votes don’t belong to the Democrats and Republicans. The vote belongs to us,” Brown said.

    The Libertarian viewing party was a conglomeration of distaste of the candidates, hope for the future and political issues being addressed.

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