The closest win for the Libertarian Party of Washington in 2015 came out of the small city of Moses Lake, located in central Washington with a population of around 20,000 people.
Don Myers grew up in Moses Lake until leaving after high school. After being gone for 7 years, he returned to find his hometown in crisis mode:
“This is my home town. I left to go to school and explore different areas of Washington. I came back after 7 years, excited to be back. But my town was different; gang activity was high. Theft and aggressive violence in the area skyrocketed. I started digging into the political scene and found our city was in a big financial crisis-- shutting down a lot of the recreation programs. The citizens started to get angry with city government, so I offered to help straighten things out.”
Even though he had a full time position working construction and part time job as a personal trainer, he decided that he needed to run for City Council and needed to run on a Libertarian platform. Myers was introduced to Libertarianism through Ron Paul’s Presidential run and when Ron Paul did not get the nomination, Myers found Gary Johnson and the Libertarian Party. Even with his more than full time work schedule, he dedicated over 20 hours a week to his campaign and even when he was working, he wore a campaign t-shirt and had his personal vehicle painted with his campaign logo. Successfully running for office takes time and effort but the extra energy needed is only temporary.
Myers knew that defeating his well known, well liked, and well financed incumbent opponent Jason Avila was not going to be easy. Not only was he up against an incumbent, but he had to make it through Washington’s “Top Two” primary since it was a 3-way race.
Myers definitely had an uphill battle in front of him. However, he understood the importance of building relationships and offering common sense, liberty–based solutions to the problems plaguing the city (theReason Saves Cleveland Series featuring Drew Carey is a great example of those solutions). Myers invested most of his campaigning time to meeting leaders in the community and attending as many public events as possible.
Going into the August 4th primary, Myers really didn’t know what to expect. Fortunately he finished in 2ndplace! Only 33 votes behind the incumbent in first place. This guaranteed his spot in the general election in November.
Fast forward to General election night, Myers closed out the night only 5 votes behind with more absentee ballots needing to be counted. We would all have to wait another 24 hours for an update.
With the final vote count in, Myers ended up pulling ahead of Avila by 16 votes, securing the City Council position and a win for the LPWA and liberty in Moses Lake.
With his recent win, Don said, “I’m going to use my new position to help Moses Lake. I will cut spending where it is not needed, help develop a good volunteer base for the city (police/fire/parks and rec) and repeal unnecessary ordinances that require permits and licenses. I’m going to make our city as business friendly as possible. I’m also going to use this position to promote the Libertarian Party and Libertarian solutions, and help other candidates get elected in Washington State.”
I asked Don what his best advice would be to other Libertarians looking to get elected and he had a great response, “My best advice would be to stop looking for issues to argue about or how we are different. We need to find common ground and things we can agree on. Connect with people and they will listen and respect you. That doesn’t mean you have to agree with everything they believe, but don’t dwell on the differences.”
Don has shown great Libertarian Leadership by stepping up and running for office. We had a total of 17 races for the LPWA in 2015. Each and every candidate deserves applause and recognition for their work to advance the cause of liberty. Even though Don won on his first try, that is not usually the case.
It took Libertarian Susan Marie Weber four tries to get elected to the Palm Desert City Council in California. The key is to just go for it! Run for office or take action to help a Libertarian candidate already running near you.
If you appreciate the hard work we are doing in Washington State, please consider joining with a sponsorship, large or small. We are currently ramping up our 2016 campaigns and set to have a record year, but only if we have the resources necessary. You don’t even need to live in Washington to support us! Please join here.
C. Michael Pickens
C. Michael Pickens is the CMO and Co-Founder of CannaSales, Inc., former Northern Vice-Chairman of the LPCA and Chairman of the LPWA, and author of the book, "Libertarian Leadership."