Voters registering in the Libertarian Party of Nebraska climbed from 6,905 on Jan. 1 to 7,862 on July 1, according to the secretary of state’s data. That is a 13.9 percent increase.
Michael Knebel, First Congressional District coordinator, says State Senator Laura Ebke’s decision to switch from Republican and dissatisfaction with both major parties are some factors for the growth.
“These two parties, what they’re bringing is the worst polarization since reconstruction,” Knebel tells Nebraska Radio Network, “so there’s a large group of Nebraskans who identify somewhere in the middle who are looking for a party that’s fiscally responsible, one that’s socially tolerant or socially accepting.”
Douglas County has the highest number of Libertarians at 2,641. Lancaster and Sarpy counties have the next highest number with 1,436 and 940, respectively.
“We’re about to cross over the threshold of 8,000 registered Libertarians,” Knebel says, “which is a big number when you consider, that in 2010, we just got ballot access again.”
Voters looking at presidential candidate Gary Johnson is another positive for the party.
Knebel says he is not surprised, considering Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton have high unfavorable ratings.
“The factors show the message that we’re bringing and the people we’re attracting are what Nebraskans are looking for,” he says, “essentially, a government that’s going to keep out of your wallet and keep out of your bedrooms as much as possible.”