DALLAS — After several Republicans tried to kick several Libertarians off the November ballot, there is no hiding the bad blood between the two parties.
The chair of the Libertarian Party of Texas claims Republicans started targeting them once their brand started growing and more voters began recognizing the party.
“So, once that happened, the Republicans specifically started trying to figure out how to eliminate us in whatever way they can,” Whitney Bilyeu said on Y’all-itics.
Back in August, Republican officials and even some elected candidates, including Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick and eight members of Congress, asked the Texas Supreme Court to remove nearly two dozen Libertarian candidates from the ballot.
The Republicans argued that the Libertarians didn’t meet eligibility requirements, specifically failing to pay filing fees.
The chair of the Libertarian Party of Texas, however, says Republicans are just scared.
“This time they went after 23 candidates. Looking at the list right now, the vast majority, if not all of them, are in two way races, which means if we were to be kicked off in that particular race, the Republican would be running against no-one, which has happened for far too long in far too many races in Texas,” Bilyeu told us.
Listen to the full episode of this week's Y'all-itics here:
The Texas Supreme Court refused to remove the Libertarian candidates, ruling that the Republicans waited too long to challenge in the first place.
This isn’t the first time the Texas GOP tried to remove Libertarians from the ballot. They did the same, and lost, in 2020, when the Texas Supreme Court ruled they waited until after the deadline to challenge a candidate’s eligibility. The thinking is that Libertarians steal votes from Republicans. Democrats feel the same way about Green Party candidates.
As for those filing fees, the Libertarian Party is challenging them in federal court. The party argues the fees are a deliberate GOP roadblock for third-party candidates. State law requires the fees and the amount depends on the office.
Libertarian candidate Kevin Hale, who’s running for the 5th Congressional District in Texas, says he paid the fee, but with a catch.
“I wanted to make sure that I was a thorn in the side of my incumbent, so I paid the filing fee, but I paid it in one dollar bills,” Hale told us. “I delivered $3,125 in one-dollar bills to the Secretary of State.”
Hale says it took them an hour and 10 minutes to count the bills.
To hear our entire conversation with Hale and Bilyeu, including why these Libertarians are happy to accept “protest votes” and why they’d be happy if their presence helps a Democrat win, listen to our latest episode of Y’all-itics.