By David Thornton
Since the founding of the Libertarian Party in 1972, no Libertarian candidate has ever won a major election. Some Libertarians, such as Ron Paul, have achieved greater success by becoming Republicans to take advantage of the GOP’s larger base and organization. This probably explains Austin Petersen’s announcement that he intends to run for the US Senate in Missouri as a Republican.
Republican congresswoman Ann Wagner had been expected to run against incumbent Democrat Claire McCaskill in 2018. Wager announcedÂ over the weekend that she planned to focus on her family and home district.
Petersen announced his run in an op-ed for the Kansas City StarÂ on Independence Day. He is a native of Peculiar, Missouri who was runner up to Gary Johnson for the 2016 Libertarian nomination for president.
As a libertarian Republican, Petersen would be a thorn in the side of party leaders if he wins. His announcement criticizes the new Republican establishment as well as liberals like McCaskill. “Since President Donald Trump’s unexpected victory last November and Republicans’ triumphant return to congressional majority, Washington has returned to business as usual,” Petersen said. “After running on repeated promises of minimizing government and ending federal micromanagement of American lives, Republicans have shown themselves unable to pass any substantive reforms.”
At this point, Petersen is the only declared candidate for the Republican nomination.