Former Republican Governor of Massachusetts Bill Weld has endorsed Libertarian Kevin McCormick for Governor of Arizona.
The announcement comes as McCormick is on the campaign trail, driving home his message of fiscal responsibility, the need for better teacher pay, preservation of gun owner’s rights and the need to scrap cumbersome and expensive marijuana laws.
According to Weld, the former 2016 Libertarian Party Vice Presidential candidate, McCormick’s efforts to work across the aisle make him a stand out, “I’m endorsing Kevin McCormick for Governor of Arizona because Kevin knows how to look beyond the party line and create solutions. Arizona taxpayers, educators, and people who need medical care are hurting. It’s time for a commonsense candidate who isn’t beholden to the broken two-party system.”
The tech entrepreneur says that although he is running as a Libertarian in a solidly red state, which is no stranger to keeping third party candidates out of the game, he is primed for the battle.
“I am honored to receive this important endorsement.” McCormick said, stating, “Real change is needed. Arizona like the rest of the country is experiencing a stalemate as Republicans and Democrats fight to be right. As a third-party candidate, my dedication is to the people of Arizona and practical solutions that benefit all.”
McCormick is using the Clean Elections Program, a ballot initiative passed 20 years ago aimed at helping political outsiders run for office – which is expensive.
Weld says that means something. “Kevin has a real plan to move Arizona in a more prosperous direction for everyone, and his early successes with the Clean Elections program point to a real three-way race happening right now. I encourage all Arizona voters to take a very close look at his campaign.”
I spoke with McCormick about his campaign several months ago, he detailed his interesting use of Arizona’s funding program. Which limits how much he and his supporters can donate to his campaign.
“The Clean Elections Commission is funded through donations and a 10% surcharge on civil and criminal fines,” he said, pointing out the uphill battle to secure workable funding for an outsider. “If I gain $5 donations from 4,000 residents of the state of Arizona, the Clean Elections Commission gives $840,000 to my campaign to run in the primaries, and another 1.1 million to run the general election campaign.”
But standing in the way of getting the big bucks to run in the general election is the battle for ballot access courtesy of HB 2608. This 2015 Arizona law raised the number of signatures required to petition for a place on the state ballot. It went from one-half of one percent of a party’s voters to one-fourth of a percent. The Republicans and Democrats maintain 1.2 million and 1.1 million registered voters, respectively, in Arizona, so the requirement didn’t create a roadblock for them. But for the Libertarians, and independent, the formula took a pre-2015 requirement of around 134 names on a petition and shot it up to more than 3,000 because the state’s 1.25 million independent voters were included in the required pool. The judge said it wasn’t “unconstitutionally burdensome.”
In addition to the burdens outsider candidates face, in the state’s primary election on August 28th voters must abide by a ‘hybrid primary’ which effectively shuts out voters registered with a party who have decided to cross party lines; voters unaffiliated with a party may vote in whichever party’s primary they like, however, voters registered with a party must vote only in that party’s ballot. It deterred a change by making putting extra steps in the way.
For a Libertarian or an independent candidate, Arizona is going to be a tough state to crack this election cycle. It is a what is known as a ‘trifecta’ state, which means Republican party holds the governor’s mansion, as well as the majority in both the state house and senate. It is also a ‘triplex’ in that governor, the attorney general, and secretary of state are all Republicans.