Libertarians Running in Some of Georgia's Big Races
Most Georgia voters know the Republican and Democratic candidates for governor and U.S. Senate. But both races also have Libertarian candidates. And some poll watchers say those nominees could affect the outcome.
Republican Gov. Nathan Deal and Democratic challenger state Sen. Jason Carter have taken swipes at each other. But neither has really acknowledged Georgia’s third gubernatorial candidate: Libertarian Andrew Hunt.
That could be because Hunt is only nabbing about 6-7% of the vote, according to a recent InsiderAdvantage poll. But InsiderAdvantage CEO Matt Towery says Hunt’s presence in the race could force Deal and Carter into a runoff. The governor, Towery says, hasn’t polled higher than about 47%. He says Carter has stalled at 43%.
“Neither campaign has run what I would call a ‘stunning’ campaign so far,” Towery says. “So, it’s very much a flip of the coin as to whether these guys can pull themselves up: 1) Deal over 50% or 2) Carter maybe to 47% which would virtually guarantee a runoff.”
But Hunt, who holds a PhD in material science and engineering from Georgia Tech, says polls don’t tell the whole story. He points to former U.S. House Minority Leader Eric Cantor’s loss to Tea Party Candidate David Brat in Virginia’s GOP primary.
“Brat was down 33% in the last poll two weeks before and won by 10% because the unlikely voters actually voted, and that’s my main voting group that I’m trying to reach out to: the unlikely voters,” Hunt says. “So, I feel like my numbers are much higher than any polling ever shows.”
Amanda Swafford agrees. She’s the Libertarian who’s taking on Republican David Perdue and Democrat Michelle Nunn in Georgia’s U.S. Senate race. Swafford says Libertarians have their own unique issues and concerns. They aren’t just would-be Republicans, she says.
“[The] American people and Georgia citizens particularly are just tired of the same old, same old and listening to failed promises from both parties,” Swafford says. “And we’re here to fill that void.”
Towery says Swafford’s poll numbers are about the same as Hunt’s, around 7%. He admits that’s high for a Libertarian, but says if the election were held now, Perdue would probably win without a runoff.
“That is if you held it today, but a lot can change,” Towery says. “Michelle Nunn is going to run a very vigorous campaign. Swafford’s numbers will come down, but maybe not enough to keep these two from going into a runoff as well.”
Towery doubts Hunt or Swafford will win, but says they can definitely impact their respective races.