After a hard-fought battle in Illinois, Libertarian statewide races were unsuccessful in meeting the 5 percent threshold needed to obtain major-party status in the state.
The closest to receiving 5 percent in the election was treasurer candidate Mike Leheney, who received 3.5 percent. Candidate for governor Kash Jackson received 2.4 percent of the votes, comptroller candidate Claire Ball received 3.1 percent, secretary of state candidate Steve Dutner received 2.5 percent, and attorney general candidate Bubba Harsy received 2.5 percent.
In local results, McLean County had several Libertarians running for office: McLean County Board District 1 candidate Michael Suess received 19.4 percent; District 2 candidate Paul Michael Enerson received 4.8 percent; District 3 candidate Christopher Howick received 38.9 percent; District 4 candidate Alexandra Engle received 5.6 percent; District 8 candidate Steve Suess, who received an endorsement from the McLean County Chamber of Commerce, received 5.5 percent; District 9 candidate Sol Roberts-Lieb received 4.6 percent; and District 10 candidate Kevin Woodard received 24.5 percent. McLean County treasurer candidate Lex Green received 26.1 percent, giving McLean County established-party status through 2022. Candidate Ian Peak ran for Jefferson County Board District 6 and received 20 percent of the vote.
While the campaign team members, volunteers, and candidates felt disappointment at the results, the Libertarian candidates accomplished many things in this election cycle that had previously never been done in Illinois. Kash Jackson was invited to participate in the NBC debate in September. He also received endorsements from Gov. Gary Johnson, Republican Illinois state Rep. Allen Skillicorn, and the Lake County, Ill., chapter of Black Lives Matter. Steve Dutner was the first Libertarian candidate to receive an endorsement from a major news publication, the State Journal-Register in Springfield. Even though statewide access was not achieved, LP Illinois gained access in two more counties, Kankakee and Perry, because Mike Leheney and Bubba Harsy received more than 5 percent of the votes in those counties.
Campaign manager Brian Lambrecht assured supporters that those gains would be used to Libertarian advantage in the future. “Despite not getting statewide ballot access in Illinois, a state with some of the harshest ballot access laws in the nation, we have secured ballot access, so far, in 25 of Illinois’ 102 counties,” Lambrecht said. “We plan to use that fully in 2020.”