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Could Libertarian Cliff Hyra Affect the Governor’s Race? It Would Help If he Could Raise a Cool Million Dollars? Yes and Even More!

On July 6 at 10 am in downtown Richmond, Libertarian gubernatorial candidate Cliff Hyra,  the Mechanicsville IP lawyer, kicked off his campaign.

I was intrigued by the A. Barton Hinkle article in both the Times-Dispatch and here at Reason.  Hinkle suggests that Hyra could have a huge impact on the race.

Still, Hyra is performing a signal service simply by running. Like Sarvis before him, he is palpably smart, with an undergrad degree in aerospace engineering and a career as an intellectual-property lawyer.

He is straight-laced, which can only do good for the Libertarian Party’s image. And he thinks people are tired of partisan rancor, and therefore might be open to someone who focuses on “ideas, not teams or tribal affiliation.” He is “not an ideologue by an means,” he says. “Incrementalism is sort of my calling card… I don’t worry about privatizing the roads.” If a policy works, then “we should be open to it.”


And focus on respect. “Respect is at the heart of libertarianism,” he said in an interview on Wednesday: Just because you think someone else is wrong doesn’t mean you should impose your will on them. It’s important, Hyra says, to have “respect for people no matter how different they are.”

That’s a message Virginians probably respect in turn. Whether the regard translates into votes, however, could be a different story.

I would say one thing’s for sure:  Hyra needs either a huge issue handed to him and he and only he can exploit OR he needs some serious money.

How much money can be raised?  A surprising amount is possible – Harvard professor Dr. Larry Lessig raised over a million dollars for his long shot issue-oriented but ill-fated campaign for President.

But Hyra is running for governor – not President.  Still there is a potential for promising sums of money:

Dues-paying members for the national party amount to only around 13,000. But in voter registration, Libertarians are the only ballot designation to have grown nationally since October 2014, by 3 percent. From October 2008 to February 2016, national Libertarian registration numbers rose from 240,328 to 411,250.

Let’s say the 13,000 members donated $50.00 each and ten percent of the 411,250 registered Libertarians gave say $25.00 (41,125) the amount donated to Hyra would be well over a million dollars (about $1,675,000 in fact).  That would be a drop in the bucket compared to the $62,000,000 spent for Virginia governor in 2013.  But a million dollars would get noticed.  It might encourage others to give.

If you take just half of the 13,000 members donating $100 (same total) and 25% of the 411,250 registered LPers donated the $25.00, the amount would be over $3 million!

Now let’s consider other factors:  2013 has three big races:  Virginia governor, NJ governor and NYC mayor (there was a hopeful – Michael Sanchez – but not a candidate yet in 2017).  I would also consider the 20th delegate seat in Virginia with Will Hammer an important race based on Hammer’s 23% showing in 2015 and his run for Congress.  But other than special elections, there is no federal races this year.

So, Hyra’s people and the LP leadership should encourage party members and registered Libertarians to give even a small sum to Hyra – and to other candidates such as the LP hopefuls for Governor/LG of NJ – and probably Will Hammer, too.  Anyone in the US can donate directly to a Virginia candidate.  This is not meant to be an endorsement or a solicitation for funds.  I am just making the point:  Hyra needs the money and it can be raised.  Now it is a matter of will:  Will the Libertarians do it.  Where is Trevor Lyman when you need him?!



About Elwood Sanders

Elwood "Sandy" Sanders is a Hanover attorney who is an Appellate Procedure Consultant for Lantagne Legal Printing and has written ten scholarly legal articles. Sandy was also Virginia's first Appellate Defender and also helped bring curling in VA! (None of these titles imply any endorsement of Sanders’ views)

6 Responses to “Could Libertarian Cliff Hyra Affect the Governor’s Race? It Would Help If he Could Raise a Cool Million Dollars? Yes and Even More!”

  1. khan says:

    thanks for nice sharing 🙂

  2. Shah says:

    I am not decide it is good OR bad while Good bless you all Srjca

  3. lawrence wood says:

    Will a possible 7-10 percentage points swing this particular race? Not likely in my opinion. Will it make the losing candidate’s defeat look more crushingly untenable, very likely – YES.

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Tom White Says:

Nothing is more conservative than a republican wanting to get their majority back. And nothing is more liberal than a republican WITH a majority.

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