Joshua Williams arrived in the courtyard near the Ohio Libertarian Party headquarters early Saturday night to speak to attendees and get some signatures.
The 33-year-old plans to run as a libertarian for Columbus City Council next year. He has already cast his general election, including a vote for Jo Jorgensen, the party’s presidential candidate.
Jorgensen has an uphill battle in an election where Republican President Donald Trump and his Democratic challenger, former Vice President Joe Biden, receive the most attention. However, Williams said it is important for libertarians to support their candidates and ensure third party access to future ballot papers.
“I’m for people, that’s why,” he said. “I don’t care about the Democrats or Republicans, I don’t want to be bound by what the government wants. I want to be bound by what people want. “
Williams was one of around 100 attendees at a rally with Jorgensen on a day when Ohio was visited by US Senator Kamala Harris, Democratic candidate for vice president, in Cleveland and Trump in Circleville.
Libertarians are campaigning in Ohio and elsewhere, spreading their message of less government intervention and more personal choice. Jennifer Flower, Jorgensen’s Ohio campaign manager, said there are 251 libertarians in public office, including nine in Ohio, and that the party is working to elect more.
“There are many topics for libertarians to take part in,” said John Stewart, 12th district libertarian (the race includes reigning Republican Troy Balderson and Democratic challenger Alaina Shearer), who spoke on Saturday. “Pretty much everything they do is wrong, and I think we have better solutions for that.”
Former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson, the libertarian candidate at the top of the ticket in 2016, received about 3% of the vote (nearly 175,000) that was cast in Ohio’s presidential election that year. Trump won the state with 2.8 million votes (about 52%) to Hillary Clinton’s nearly 2.4 million (about 44%). No other candidate came close to Johnson’s total.
Two third-party presidential candidates in the Ohio general election are on the agenda this year: Howie Hawkins, a Green Party representative, and Jorgensen, a lifelong libertarian who ran for a South Carolina congressional seat in 1992 and ran for party’s vice presidential nomination in 1996.
During the last race, Jorgensen said people were not so attuned to the party’s message against government excesses and runaway spending. However, this year’s coronavirus pandemic and its aftermath have brought these issues to the surface.
“Now it’s just about, hey, we’re over here,” she said. “We are the ones who think you should have your own choice.”
Jorgensen spoke for about an hour Saturday night, offering libertarian positions on reducing government regulations, taxes, spending and bureaucracy, as well as answering audience questions.
“I’m the only one who thinks you know better how to make decisions about your family,” she said. “They know how to spend money better than any bureaucrat or politician in Washington.”
Among other things, Jorgensen said she would bring home U.S. troops currently serving outside the country and establish a neutral U.S. position on foreign conflicts.
“Donald Trump promised that, but he didn’t,” she said. “And sadly, Joe Biden is a war hawk, just like Hillary Clinton … We’re the only anti-war party out there, unfortunately.”
Jorgensen said it would cut healthcare costs by reducing government and insurance company involvement and by increasing price competition.
“If I could get a message across to every American voter, we wouldn’t have a market-based health system, and we haven’t had for nearly 100 years,” she said. “If we had a free market, we wouldn’t have the problems we have now.”
On police matters, Jorgensen said law enforcement should be controlled on the ground, free from the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration and other federal regulations.
“Why should we have a one-size-fits-all Washington version or not?” She said. “We have to leave it to the locals to do what is best for them. What we did in intervening, namely distributing tanks, grenade launchers and tear gas, only made the problems worse … “
And Jorgensen said it would block any new spending agency that included new debts or deficits.
“As your president, my veto pen will need a lot of extra ink,” she said.