Libertarian gubernatorial candidate Adrian Wyllie finished far behind Gov. Rick Scott and former Gov. Charlie Crist in Floridas general election but he insisted his team did something extraordinary in the campaign.
By noon on Wednesday, the state Division of Elections noted Wyllie pulled in 222,660 votes, just less than 4 percent of the total votes cast. Some polls in October showed Wyllie polling in the high single digits but he was pleased with his showing.
I want to thank the 220,000-plus Floridians who took a stand with me and cast their vote for liberty in this election, Wyllie noted late on Tuesday. And, I want to give my heartfelt thanks to the 3,000-plus dedicated campaign volunteers who achieved so much with so few resources. I am honored and humbled by your support.
Though we didn't achieve our goal of victory, we accomplished something extraordinary, Wyllie added. We received more votes than any third-party candidate in Florida history, and we have laid the foundation that will eventually end the corruption of the two-party system.
This is just the beginning of the Libertarian Party of Florida movement, Wyllie insisted.
Wyllie is correct about his claim for winning the most third-party votes in recent Florida history. Ross Perot exceeded Wyllies take in Florida back in the 1992 and 1996 presidential races though both times he was an independent on the ballot, even as he championed the Reform Partys cause in 1996. When he ran for the U.S. Senate in the 2010 general election, Crist had no party affiliation.
But there have been more successful third-party candidates in the Sunshine State. Prohibition Party candidate Sidney Catts beat Democrat William Knott in the 1916 gubernatorial race but he only had 39,546 votes. Back in the 1968 presidential election, Gov. George Wallace, D-Ala., took more than 628,000 votes in Florida. However Wyllie far outpaced some prominent independent and third-party presidential candidates in Florida including former U.S. Rep. John Anderson, R-Ill., Ralph Nader and Pat Buchanan.
Wyllie far outpaced recent Libertarian candidates in Florida. Alex Snitker took just less than 0.5 percent in the 2010 Senate contest while former Gov. Gary Johnson, R-N.M., took 1 percent in the 2012 presidential race. Former U.S. Rep. Bob Barr, R-Ga., barely took 17,200 votes in Florida as the Libertarian presidential candidate in 2008.
Tallahassee attorney Bill Wohlsifer was the Libertarian nominee in the attorney general race. He took 168,757 as of noon, just less than 3 percent of the total vote.
Businessman Glenn Burket ran for governor with no party affiliation and took more than 41,200 votes, good for 0.7 percent. Economist Farid Khavri garnered more than 20,000 votes, 0.3 percent, for his gubernatorial bid which had no party affiliation.
Reach Kevin Derby at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter: @KevinDerbySSN