Wisconsin: Libertarian Thompson Gets Ten Percent 11/8/02

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Libertarian Party gubernatorial candidate Ed Thompson, in a campaign that emphasized the failure of the drug war, got 10% of the vote Tuesday, according to unofficial figures. While far from enough to win, Thompson's tally was the best third-party showing in Wisconsin since Robert LaFollette won as the Progressive Party candidate in 1942. And if Thompson stays above 10% in the official tally, the Libertarians will gain a seat on the state's Board of Elections.

"We changed the face of politics in Wisconsin," Thompson said during his concession speech Tuesday night. "We've made the third party viable. And we've put Wisconsin leaders on notice that we are a voice that needs to be heard."

Thompson said that the state's two major parties had received a wake-up call and now they will "know for sure we're watching, my friends." And he promised to stay active in politics -- one way or another. "Right now, I'm going to stay in it. I don't know if it's running, or maybe taking a back seat. Maybe there's a better candidate."

Thompson's lack of support two months ago was critical for his campaign's chances. He needed to reach 6% of the vote in the September primary to qualify for more than $200,000 in state campaign funding, but he fell short. The lack of state money meant Thompson could not afford big media buys; he ended up running only a few radio spots and a Libertarian Party ad on marijuana legalization on Madison cable television. While major party candidates, Democratic winner Scott McCallum and Republican Jim Doyle, spent somewhere between $11 and $14 million on the campaign, Thompson's low-budget crusade gathered only $315,000 -- a third of it in the last three months of the campaign.

Thompson's poor showing in September also kept him out of the first televised gubernatorial debate, and while he did appear in later debates, he lost a prime opportunity to get his message out to Wisconsin voters. While drug policy was not a big issue in the campaign -- except for Thompson -- both McCallum and Doyle espoused doctrinaire drug war stances, and now drug war orthodoxy continues to reign supreme at the governor's mansion.

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Issue #262, 11/8/02 Editorial: More to This Vote Than Meets the Eye | Black Tuesday for Drug Reform | Arizona Steps Back as Decrim Initiative Loses, Anti-Reform Sentencing Initiative Wins | Legal Pot in Nevada? Not This Year | New York: Pataki Victory Swamps Dems, Golisano, Marijuana Reform Party, Libertarians | Ohio "Treatment Not Jail" Initiative Runs Into Drug War Buzzsaw | No Hemp, No New Rights for Defendants in South Dakota | Wisconsin: Libertarian Thompson Gets Ten Percent | DC Voters Overwhelmingly Approve Treatment Not Jail Initiative | Massachusetts Voters Tell Reps to Support Marijuana Decrim | San Francisco Voters Ask City to Look at Growing Its Own | FAMM Victory: Amendment to Cap Federal Guideline Sentences for Low-Level Drug Offenders is Now Law | Colombian Campaign for Drug Legalization | Anti-Prohibitionists Meet Human Rights Advocates and Political Leaders at Albania Congress of Transnational Radical Party | Newsbrief: Nordic Prohibitionists Beginning Counter-Campaign Supporting UN Drug Conventions | Web Scan: Forbes on Hope Taft, Newsday on Tony Papa, New Scientist on Cannabis, Raich v. Ashcroft Lawsuit Docs | Action Alerts: Rave Bill, Medical Marijuana, Higher Education Act Drug Provision, Tulia, Salvia Divinorum | The Reformer's Calendar

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