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Overby covers margin of victory, signals upward trend for LP

On March 11, a special election was held in Florida's 13th Congressional district to fill the seat that has been vacant since the death of Rep. Bill Young (R) in October.

2014 Libertarian candidate for Florida's 13th Congressional district Lucas Overby.
Lucas Overby

The election was won by Republican David Jolly, who had a slim margin of victory over Democrat Alex Sink. The vote totals with all precincts reporting are 89,099 votes (48.43 percent) for Jolly and 85,642 votes (46.55 percent) for Sink.

But the story neglected by most of the establishment media is the performance of Libertarian Lucas Overby, who finished with 8,893 votes (4.83 percent). This is more than 2.5 times the margin of victory between the Republican and the Democrat in the race, and it is the first time that a Libertarian has ran for the House seat of Florida's 13th Congressional district.

This comes only months after a historic performance by Libertarian Virginia gubernatorial candidate Robert Sarvis, who managed 6.52 percent on Nov. 5. Both performances are well above the normal 2-3 percent achieved by Libertarian candidates running for governor or U.S. Congress seats, and signal a potential upward trend for Libertarian candidates.

While no exit polls are available for the Florida special election, the exit polls from the Virginia election indicate that Sarvis narrowed the margin of victory for Democrat Terry McAuliffe. If a similar effect happened in the Florida special election, then it is possible that David Jolly has Lucas Overby to thank for his victory due to a spoiler effect against the Democrat, which is contrary to conventional wisdom that Libertarian candidates disproportionately hurt Republican candidates. This is quite possible, as Overby's positions on foreign policy and social issues would be palatable to a disaffected Democratic voter.