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Southern-fried freedom lovers propel libertarian candidates

Southern-fried freedom lovers propel libertarian candidates

Drawing surprisingly high support, a trio of Libertarian candidates has the potential to disrupt already tight races in the Deep South, where Democrats and Republicans are waging epic battles for Florida governor, Georgia governor, andone of North Carolina’s seats in the U.S. Senate.

In Georgia, nanotechnologist Andrew Hunt is polling at 9 percent in the governor’s race, which is otherwise a dead heat between incumbent Republican Nathan Deal and Democratic state Sen. Jason Carter. In North Carolina, the headlines have focused on the Thom Tillis-Sen. Kay Hagan face-off in November, but quietly amassing 11 percent in the contest is Sean Haugh, the Libertarian candidate running on an anti-war agenda. And in Florida, Adrian Wyllie will be on the November ballot with Gov. Rick Scott and former governor Charlie Crist. Although Wyllie is polling at 4 percent, he’s at 10 percent with Florida’s all-important independent voters and will be on the same November ballot as a proposed constitutional amendment to legalize medical marijuana.

None of the three Libertarians is favored to win his races, but with significant shifts afoot on opposition to federal spending, NSA spying, and restrictions on medical marijuana, and a growing acceptance of gay marriage, the Libertarians are increasingly likely to affect the outcome of their races.

Carla Howell, political director for the Libertarian National Committee, says the current election cycle is revealing the Deep South to be rich territory for Libertarians’ stay-out-of-my-life message, which has really been the South’s attitude toward the federal government all along.

“A number of the Southern states are doing very well,” Howell said. “Better than in the past, if not better than ever.”

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