Libertarian candidate Dwyer receives unusually high percentage of votes

Wednesday, November 3, 2010 | 9:02 p.m. CDT; updated 7:22 a.m. CDT, Thursday, November 4, 2010

COLUMBIA — Christopher Dwyer, Libertarian candidate for Missouri's 9th Congressional District, said he is neither disappointed nor angry about his loss to Republican Blaine Luetkemeyer.

Dwyer received 22 percent of the vote in Tuesday’s election, a rare occurrence for third-party candidates. Even though he thought he would pull in more, Dwyer attributed his high number of votes to the lack of Democratic competition in the campaign. Dwyer said there was no involvement by what he calls a “true” Democrat, or someone who is on the Democratic ballot and believes in the Democrats' principles. 

“I assumed I’d get more of the Democrat vote," Dwyer said. "But I won’t complain at all. I’m thankful and grateful for the 45,000-plus votes.”

The Libertarian Party reported Wednesday that 15 of its candidates for the House received over 5 percent of the vote, but that figure only included races in which the ballot listed both a Republican and a Democrat.

MU political science professor Marvin Overby said the relatively high number of voters who turned out for Dwyer doesn’t signal significant changes in America’s political structure.

“It’s very difficult for a third party to gain traction,” Overby said. “There was no realistic chance of (Dwyer) winning. The vast majority of people voting for him are doing it as a protest against Luetkemeyer.”

Overby said Dwyer’s campaign was an ideological one. Because the Libertarian Party is so small, its members can take an extreme point of view on issues, he said. 

Dwyer said he hasn’t come to a decision as to whether he will run again for elected office.

“It depends where I am at in life and the direction of the government body, whichever that might be,” Dwyer said. “If I could influence the position of the government in a positive way, I’d run again.” 

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