OSKALOOSA – The lack of attention from the media and the public eye didn’t stop the Libertarian Party of Iowa from holding their first-ever Libertarian Presidential Caucus.
With only one caucus-goer present, aside from three county party officials, they all convened on the third floor of the Oskaloosa Library Feb. 8 to elect county officers and select their preferred presidential candidate. Currently there are 20 Libertarians in the running for President of the United States. Receiving two votes, Future of Freedom Foundation Founder Jacob Hornberger was chosen as the preferred candidate in Mahaska County, followed by Lincoln Chaffee and write-in Marco Battaglia with one vote each.
Having almost half the votes from the 22 counties that participated, official results from the Libertarian Party of Iowa show Hornberger was the clear and obvious winner for the state as well with 134 votes.
Hornberger had a total of 134 votes, leaving the other 19 candidates far behind. U.S. Senator Lincoln Chaffee came in 2nd with 36 votes (12.77%), 1996 Libertarian Vice Presidential Nominee Jo Jorgensen with 18 votes (6.38%), followed closely behind Veterans Against the Iraq War Founder Adam Kokesh with 17 votes (6.03%) and software engineer and entrepreneur Daniel Behrman with 14 votes (4.96%).
While the caucus turnout was extremely low, Mahaska County resident Ralph Beck, a member of the Libertarian Party since 1993, said he is excited to finally be able to attend a caucus for his political party.
“I have been waiting for this for a long time,” he said. “It feels great, I think it’s wonderful that we have finally got enough recognition and got ourselves together enough. I think the Libertarian message really needs to get out.”
That message being “less government and more freedom”, he said. Mahaska County Libertarian Party Chair Brandon Molyneux said the party is still a young party in the state that is still trying to get the message out. During the caucus, Molyneux vocalized his support for Jacob Hornberger as he feels Hornberger is the person to carry the parties message forward.
“He is definitely a principle libertarian and would be able to carry our message on a national level,” he said. “You don’t hear a lot of candidates from any party mention the words, ‘liberty or freedom’. For me, it goes back to principles. The principles of liberty and I think he’s the best person to carry that message.”
The party’s caucus began with the group electing and nominating county officers. Molyneux will remain chair in Mahaska Co., Abigail Van Voltenburg will remain co-chair, and the Secretary will remain Charles Lucas.
Molyneux said he chose to be a Libertarian because Democrats and Republicans didn’t represent the things that were most important to him well. Although he would have preferred a bigger voter turnout Saturday, Molyneux said he is happy with the turnout that they received as the party is still new and establishing it’s presence here.
“I’m happy with the turnout; of course, I’d like it to be bigger,” Molyneux said. “I’d love to have a full room but we are a young party here, some counties don’t even have an affiliate. We’re a very young party in the grand scheme of things, so I think we’re off to a good start.”
The Iowa Libertarian Party obtained its official political party status in Iowa in 2017, the party was established in Mahaska County in 2018.