EXCLUSIVE: Libertarian Candidate Tells Her Story About Her Midterm Run.
When I first decided to run for office, my only intention was to be a Libertarian choice on the ballot for our district, TX21. I had been a member of our local Comal County Libertarian Party ever since the last Presidential election, and it was a small party at the time. I was worried we wouldn’t have a candidate on the ballot this November 6 if I didn’t act quick and submit my application to run.
It took me all day, to get to Austin and get it submitted by the 5pm deadline. Many obstacles occurred during that day which made me wonder why I was bothering with the traffic and hassle.
As it turns out, I wasn’t the only one who had stepped up. But, after a couple of debates, I was nominated by the Libertarian members who were at our local convention.
Of course, I thought I would start by reaching out to the local news and radio stations and let them know of my nomination. “Surely they would want to hear from me”, I thought. I couldn’t have been MORE wrong. I never heard back from a single one of them.
How can this be? How is it possible these people don’t care about me, freedom, or liberty?
As my other opponents were enjoying plenty of media attention throughout the primaries, I was ignored. Soon, my Republican and Democrat opponents were chosen and I thought, “FINALLY. The media would start paying attention to me.”
Wrong again. As the months passed by, my opponents were raking in big bucks in donations to their campaigns. Soon enough, this was becoming a benchmark for other candidates to prove their worthiness.
I realized early on there was no way I could possibly raise enough money to compete with these big spenders. They were money raising and spending experts. I was a thrifty and cautious spender, yet creative at the same time. I came up with the idea I would be different than my opponents. I would make it my mission to prove that any candidate did not need to spend ANY money at all to run for office and that I could show that anyone could do it without the help of anyone.
I started out by going to clubs at night just talking to people and finding out what people really cared about in this area. I would try many things, like bringing my dog out with me when I talked to people, but instead, he started getting all the attention. I would put hand painted signs on my Jeep out in the parking lots where many people would see it. I went to protests in the San Antonio and Austin areas.
From there, I started experimenting and did my first Facebook Live lunchtime chat interview and hundreds of people were watching it. I was starting to realize the power of the internet which led to my next favorite idea: my own media site.
Libertariantimes.com has become a multi media platform with a growing viewership. I would use this site to promote myself and other Libertarian candidates that weren’t getting any other attention either.
I started going out to events to get pictures of other Libertarian candidates and put them on my Twitter site which I then shared on my campaign site, which then would get retweeted from there. I looked for tweets with many comments on major sports tweets or music events and put my tweets with pictures on those. Some of these tweets were retweeted by major news organizations and others reaching tens of thousands of views.
I even went to the debate my opponents held without me as a Libertarian Times reporter and posted pictures of myself in the back row of the debate which I posted everywhere I could.
The point I’m trying to make here is that YOU can run for office. You don’t need any money at all. You don’t need special interest PAC money to promote you, you don’t need any donations at all to get the word out about you. You only need some unique ideas and a desire for change. I believe that money in politics is causing many elected politicians to bend to the will of the PACs that donated to them. If elected, I will listen to nobody except the voters.
This has taken on a life of its own, the Libertarian Times will continue long after the election, and into the next Presidential Election. No matter what the outcome on November 6th, I’ve had the best time of my life and learned so much about myself. I learned the most important thing about campaigning is to be kind, respectful and courteous to all. It doesn’t matter what our differences are because, in the end, I can be proud of what I accomplished with no regrets at all.
Lee Santos is the Libertarian nominee for Congressional District 21 of Texas.