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Montana politics, elections and legislative news

Libertarian Mark Wicks: Spoiler Charges Don't Add Up

Mark Wicks was the Libertarian candidate for Montana's U.S. House seat in the 2017 special election.
Courtesy Mark Wicks

The Libertarian in yesterday’s special congressional election says he’s getting accused of being a spoiler candidate.

Mark Wicks posted on Facebook today that some people upset about Republican Greg Gianforte’s election to the U.S House of Representatives are taking out their frustrations on him:

“That is true. I had some pretty nasty messages when I got home last night.”

Wicks, who ranches north of Inverness near the Canadian border, says there’s no way he sapped enough votes away from Democrat Rob Quist to help clear Gianforte’s path to Congress:

“You can add my votes together and Quist’s votes together and they still don’t add up to enough to beat Gianforte. Simple math – it doesn’t lie.”

He’s right, but it would have been close. According to the Montana Secretary of State’s office, if you add Wicks vote-total to Democrat Rob Quist’s, Quist would have fallen fewer than 1,500 votes short of winning.

But as Wicks points out, even if he wasn’t in the race:

“Quist wouldn’t have taken all my votes. I didn’t take them all from the Democrat. I would say, you know, probably a third, but not all of them.”

Wicks says he was honored to represent the Libertarian party during the special congressional election. He, however, reserves sharp words for the press – Montana Public Radio included – for giving his campaign what he believes to be short shrift:

"You can add my votes together and Quist's votes together and they still don't add up to enough to beat Gianforte. Simple math, it doesn't lie." -Mark Wicks

“Media’s not doing their job. They’re not objective. They’ve taken sides and that’s not right. There needs to be some soul-searching, I think, in the media outlets.”

Wicks is optimistic about the future of the Libertarian movement:

“I think we’ve got a brighter future than the Democrats if they keep putting up the candidates that they keep putting up. The Republicans aren’t doing so well putting up good candidates. I think I could have beat either one of the candidates if I had a “D” or an “R” behind my name. I don’t think it would have been hard.” 

Wicks says the tenor and substance of Montana’s special Congressional election was – in his words -  “horrible” and “ugly." He thinks Montanans were sick and tired of the all negative ads and don’t ever want to see a campaign like it again.

Libertarian Mark Wicks says he has to catch up on a lot of farm work that lapsed over the last three months.
He’s even thinking about writing a book on the campaign that ended with yesterday’s election of Greg Gianforte to the U.S. House.

Edward O’Brien first landed at Montana Public Radio three decades ago as a news intern while attending the UM School of Journalism. He covers a wide range of stories from around the state.  
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