The Libertarian Party of Iowa became a major party in 2017 since former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson, the Libertarian nominee for President, won over two percent of the total vote in the 2016 presidential election. This change in party status gives Libertarians in Iowa greater ballot access, as well as, the ability to hold a primary.
It doesn’t seem that the party is taking advantage of getting candidates on the ballot for its first primary on June 5th. Only 13 Libertarians qualified for the primary ballot and the party will have only one contested primary. The contested primary will decide who will be the Libertarian nominee for Governor – a contest between Jake Porter and Marco Battaglia who both qualified for the ballot.
Porter is a business consultant from Council Bluffs who ran for Secretary of State in 2010 and 2014. He also briefly served as the executive director of the Libertarian Party of Iowa after it achieved major party status in 2017. Battaglia is a businessman who is a lifelong resident of Des Moines. He previously served as the Polk County Libertarians’ Vice Chair.
Bryan Jack Holder from Council Bluffs is running again in Iowa’s 3rd Congressional District. He received 3.9 percent of the vote total in 2016 competing against Congressman David Young (R-Iowa) and the Democrat nominee Jim Mowrer. Holder has also competed in state legislative races. His most recent campaign was in the special election in Iowa House District 22 to replace State Representative Greg Foristall (R-Macedonia) who passed away.
Charles Aldrich from Clarion will be on the ballot in Iowa’s 4th Congressional District. Aldrich ran in 2016 for U.S. Senate in Iowa against U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley and received 2.7 percent of the vote. He also ran unsuccessfully for U.S. Senate in Minnesota in 2008.
There are only nine candidates running for Iowa House and Iowa Senate in the primary. In 2016, the Libertarian Party of Iowa saw 19 state legislative candidates on the general election ballot. The party can still nominate candidates for the general election by special convention if there was not a candidate in that House or Senate district on the primary ballot.
Here are the Libertarian state legislative candidates for 2018 thus far:
- Eric Cooper of Ames, a psychology professor at Iowa State University, is running in Iowa Senate District 23 to challenge State Senator Herman Quirmbach (D-Ames). He ran for Iowa House District 45 in 2016 receiving 7.9 percent of the vote. In 2014 he received 24.4 percent of the vote and in 2012, 6.04 percent of the vote in that same district. He also ran unsuccessfully for Governor in 2010 receiving 1.28 percent of the vote.
- Carl Krambeck of Clarence is running in Iowa Senate District 37 which is an open seat this cycle due to the retirement of State Senator Robert Dvorsky (D-Coralville).
- Marrianna Collins of Ankeny is seeking the Libertarian nomination in Iowa House District 34 to run against State Representative Bruce Hunter (D-Des Moines).
- Patrick Shaw of Boone seeks the Libertarian nomination to run in a three-way race for the open seat in Iowa House District 47 after State Representative Chip Baltimore (R-Boone) said he would not run for re-election.
- John Evans of Huxley is running for the Libertarian nomination in Iowa House District 49 to run against State Representative Dave Deyoe (R-Nevada) and the Democrat challenger Brenda Brink.
- Lucas Link of Dubuque is running for the Libertarian nomination in Iowa House District 57 to against State Representative Shannon Lundgren (R-Peosta) and whoever wins the contested Democrat primary.
- John George of Marengo is running for the Libertarian nomination in Iowa House District 75 that will see a three-way race for the seat left open after State Representative Dawn Pettengill (R-Mount Auburn) announced her retirement. George ran for Iowa Senate District 38 in 2016 and received 5.9 percent of the vote.
- Nicholas Ryan of Oskaloosa is running to replace State Representative Guy Vander Linden (R-Oskaloosa) who is not running for re-election in Iowa House District 79. He will face Dustin Hite (R-New Sharon) and Samantha Keith (D-University Park) in November.
- David Melchert, Jr. of Grand Mound is running to unseat State Representative Norlin Mommsen (R-DeWitt) in Iowa House District 97. He will also compete against Tim McClimon, the Democrat from DeWitt who has an uncontested primary, in November.