What’s Next for Chase Oliver, the Libertarian Who Forced a Runoff in the Georgia Senate Race?
Chase Oliver is having a moment.
Last week, he scored more than 2 percent of the vote in Georgia’s closely watched Senate race—enough to force a runoff between Sen. Raphael Warnock (D–Ga.) and Trump-backed Republican challenger Herschel Walker because neither candidate received more than 50 percent. That threw Oliver briefly into the national spotlight and made him a target for partisans on both sides who leveled accusations of spoiling the race for their preferred candidate. He got an interview on CNN, a segment on Fox Business’ Kennedy, a neat profile from Vice, and an interview with Rolling Stone. Not bad for a guy who didn’t win.
“This is kind of cool. I wanted to make sure that I made a statement and I think with that result, I did,” Oliver told me when I caught up with him on Monday night at a divey sports bar tucked away behind a fried chicken joint on the northeastern edge of Atlanta. But even as he’s reveling in his spoiler status for the Georgia Senate race, Oliver is already looking ahead to what comes next—for his state, and for the Libertarian Party (L.P.) at large.
“If you look at the amount of positive press that I’ve gotten out of this race, I think that tells you that you need to have Libertarians running top of the ticket,” Oliver says.
Whether it is worth it for the L.P. to run candidates like Oliver in high-profile races where they are unlikely to win—but could play spoiler and hopefully influence other campaigns to compete for libertarian voters—is a major point of contention within the party. At the most recent L.P. convention in May, the party’s leadership positions were seized by a faction that believes the L.P. should be focused more on winning local races. “We have a very specific focus. We focus on city council, sheriff, mayor, judge, school board,” Michael Heise, the founder of the Mises Caucus, told Reason at the L.P. convention in May.
Oliver, who has been openly gay since high school and describes himself as a grown-up punk-rock kid, is not shy about criticizing the L.P.’s rightward lurch under the Mi
Article from Reason.com