© 2021 Iowa Public Radio
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations
Political News

Iowa Libertarians To Lose Major Party Status

Michael Leland/IPR file
Unofficial results show Libertarian gubernatorial candidate Jake Porter with 1.6 percent of the vote in Tuesday's election, short of the 2 percent needed to maintain major party status.

Just two years after gaining major party status for the first time, Iowa Libertarians have lost that status after failing to win at least 2 percent of the vote in Tuesday’s gubernatorial race.

Libertarian candidate Jake Porter received 1.6 percent of the vote.  He was polling at more than 6 percent a few weeks ago.

“And it just dropped down at the very end as people saw the race tightening between [Fred] Hubbell and [Kim] Reynolds,” he said.

Porter says Libertarians in the state will organize more at the local level with the goal of re-gaining major party status in the 2020 presidential election.

“We’re going to use this time to rebuild to build a lot of county organizations to build a lot of infrastructure,” he said. “That way we can get the party status back in 2020 which I expect we will.”

Libertarians gained major party status after Gary Johnson won 3.8 percent of the Iowa vote in the 2016 presidential election. 

The Iowa secretary of state’s office reported about 13,000 voters were registered as Libertarians as of November 1.  That’s up from about 9,700 last May. Last summer in a speech at the State Fair, Porter said he’d hoped to grow the party’s voter rolls to 20,000. 

Libertarians ran in about three dozen races in Iowa on Tuesday, including all six statewide races and the four congressional contests.