The GOP brought in the highest profile libertarian Republican in the country to help push just-elected Rep. David Jolly (R-FL) over the finish line, but 27-year truck driver with virtually no funding was still able to take nearly 5 percent in the polls.
Lucas Overby, a Libertarian party candidate, received nearly 9,000 votes in the Florida special election today, more than twice the margin between Jolly and losing Democratic candidate Alex Sink.
Third party candidates have long played a small but significant role in close elections – Democrats have blamed consumer advocate Ralph Nader for taking votes from Al Gore in 2000, for example – but Republicans have had trouble with libertarian candidates in a number of recent races including the Virginia gubernatorial election.
Last week, Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) recorded a robocall funded by American Crossroads touting Jolly as as someone who wants to “ensure you, not the government, are making decisions for you and your family.”
According to his most recent Federal Election Commission filings, Overby had raised just $31,000 – a drop in the bucket compared to the millions spent on Jolly and Sink.