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While Democrats had no chance of snatching Miller’s followers, they did have a wide-open opportunity to send them to Libertarian. It would have taken only 8 percent of Miller’s supporters to tilt election in favor of Democrat Joe Kernan. But Democrats did nothing. Snore.
The Republicans, meanwhile, did plenty.
For starters, a here-to-fore unknown PAC dumped a ton of cold cash into a direct mail campaign. The target was Joe Kernan. The benefactor was Libertarian challenger. The result? Kernan lost votes. Those were votes Republicans would never have captured. Nice play.
What’s more, Republicans kept close tabs on their Libertarian opponent. Stuffing his Web site with e-mail addresses, GOP received Libertarian’s weekly updates. Any appeal to Miller supporters was noted and challenged. The risk of losing Miller votes was a chance they would not take. Another nice play.
The Democrats, meanwhile, were sound asleep. One Miller supporter went so far as to personally appeal to Democrats for support. A win by Daniels, he knew, would keep Miller from running in next election. The election returns proved Republicans right and Democrats to be snoozing.
Another case in point was defeat of Democratic Congressman Baron Hill by Republican Mike Sodrel. The margin of victory was less than 2,000 votes. The Libertarian challenged garnered 4,698 votes. Had Democrats offered Libertarian candidate even a modest amount of support, election would have likely tilted toward Democrat.
The groggy-eyed Democrats, meanwhile, are outside looking in, clueless as to what happened. But who knows? Maybe between now and 2006 they’ll wake up.
Kenn Gividen Chair of the Libertarian Party of Bartholomew County (Columbus), coordinator of the Writers' Bureau and 2004 gubernatorial candidate.