Posted by: sweeneyblog | March 9, 2014

Buys and Overstreet Draw Potential Libertarian Challengers

This year, Reps. Vincent Buys and Jason Overstreet could be fending off challenges from Libertarians as well as traditional Democratic opponents. With the conservative leanings of the 42nd legislative district, the entrance of these young libertarian candidates could lead to a very interesting race.

Nicholas Kunkel

Nicholas Kunkel

Nicholas Kunkel, a fisheries biologist for the Lummi Nation, is considering a run against Rep. Jason Overstreet. I was first alerted to his run when he placed a Craigslist ad looking for volunteers and interns. Kunkel lives in north Bellingham and is a member of the Lake Whatcom Watershed Advisory Board and the Noxious Weed Control Board.

He might have a difficult path, considering Overstreet’s close relationship with the libertarian movement. Last year, the Libertarians endorsed Republican incumbent Jason Overstreet and Democratic candidate Matt Krogh for the 42nd.

Allen Springstead, Bellingham resident and Nooksack Masonic Lodge member, is running against Buys. He has already declared, filed with the PDC and is speaking at the Cascade Liberty Summit in May as a candidate against Buys. In 2012, he wrote a letter supporting the Gateway Pacific Terminal project to the Northern Light.

Allan Springstead

Allan Springstead

The question is, will they be competitive? In the past four years, a number of hard right candidates have picked up significant support from Whatcom County. In 2012, the county Republicans sent several Santorum delegates to the state level, and Rob McKenna’s opponent on the right, Shahram Hadian, received a warm welcome when he visited our corner of the state.

To get some perspective, I spoke to Michael Pickens, executive director for the Libertarian Party of Washington State. He believes both Buys and Overstreet could be in trouble. “Both Overstreet and Buys are definitely vulnerable to a Libertarian challenger. With both of them receiving the majority of campaign contributions from special interests, we need Representatives who represent the people, not corporate and special interests.”

Pickens also addressed the conservative credentials of the incumbents. “Overstreet and Buys may be libertarian leaning but they are not Libertarians. Overstreet is a social conservative and Buys is an establishment Republican.” Click on their names to see my overview of the bills sponsored by Jason Overstreet and Vincent Buys in 2014.

Currently, Buys has raised $13,291 for his reelection effort, $11,350 of that from corporate political action committees, including $500 each from Pacific International Terminals, Walmart and Johnson & Johnson. Overstreet has raised $6,150, the entire amount from corporate political action committees, including $500 donations from Walmart and Pacific International Terminals.

As with many libertarian crusaders, both Springstead and Kunkel are under 30. As a movement, young conservatives almost universally trend libertarian adding a generational dimension to the struggles between libertarians and establishment Republicans. Pickens remains undeterred, “As an organization, the Libertarian Party of Washington is poised to put up serious challenges to both Republicans and Democrats all across the state!”

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Responses

  1. If the Dems are smart, they will field no candidates for these seats this year. Then many Dems and some R’s will vote for the Libertarians, adding up to 50%.

  2. Very nicely done, Riley. You are a treasure.

  3. Oh happy day! It’s time to send those two worthless tea partiers packing. The tea party is one of the worst things to happen to this country since 9-11.

  4. Jason Overstreet or Jason O as he is known in the Capitol Hill area of Seattle has been butchin’ up his image lately with the manly man faction by growing up and coming out of political puberty by bearding a beard. Way to go Jason O! You look fabulous!!!

  5. In Springstead’s 2012 LTE (thanks for the link Riley) he wrote:
    “It concerns me to hear local well-to-do residents shrug off the much-needed jobs that the Gateway Pacific Terminal would produce. At a time when our country and more specifically our county needs more employment, those who already have theirs so easily oppose a project that causes them minor inconveniences.”

    First of all there are plenty of local residents opposed to GPT who are not, “well-to-do” as Springstead (in his LTE) tries to paint residents who are opposed to GPT and who do not think the small number of jobs generated by the coal terminal are worth the environmental damage it will cause.

    Springstead also says that GPT would only cause residents “minor inconveniences.” Has he ever actually researched the reasonably foreseeable adverse impacts that a 48 million to coal terminal will cause?

    Also, on Springstead’s Facebook page he posted this on Feb. 20, 2014:
    “I support Farm Freedom. I support allowing farmers to sell their products on their own farms to willing customers without government interference.”

    I can only imagine the pollution and contamination to our county’s water, land, and air, if Springstead were to become a Legislator and he have an opportunity to try to legislate in favor of “no government interference,” as he says should be the case for farmers.
    Of course Overstreet is not any better that’s for sure.

    The terms “liberty” and “freedom” that Overstreet and Springstead frequently profess do not mean that companies, Ag industry and farmers, and individual property owners are free, and at liberty, to contaminate and pollute our water, land, and air, ignoring regulations in place to protect our environment. Springstead and Overstreet want to lessen environmental regulations when in fact we need stricter regulations and proper enforcement of those regulations.

    It’s not surprising that Springstead’s Elect Allan Springstead 42nd District State Representative Facebook page profile photo is a “Don’t Tread On Anyone” Gadsen Flag.

    • I support enforcing property rights, to enable property-owners to recover from environmental harms to their lands by others. More generally, I support strict and strong liability rules and other market-based mechanisms for regulating broader environmental harms like water and air pollution, so that economic actors are forced to take into account those harms when making business decisions.

    • While I can’t speak for Allan specifically, I can say that in my experience working with natural resource management groups and agencies that our means of regulating through such agencies as EPA and Dept of Ecology are flawed and overarching on property rights.

      Hopefully we can make a more just system by referring environmental mitigation to the court system. The problem with allowing regulatory agencies the ability to levy a fine against offenders is that many times the fine is an arbitrary amount that may not reflect the environmental, economic, and/or social damage caused by the offense.

      Take for instance: SSA’s terminal construction results in a spill of chemicals that damages the Cherry Point and Strait of Georgia ecosystems in such a way that tribal and non-tribal fishermen can no longer make a living, you and I can no longer recreationally crab and get together with our families to share in nature’s bounty, and the employees of SSA can no longer work to support their families. Does a one-time EPA fine and temporary Ecology stop-work order do justice to all of those affected?
      The answer is absolutely not.

      Questions of environmental impact and justice would more appropriately be handled in the judicial system where constitutional law and precedent make for adequate handling of difficult circumstances.

  6. Do you have a problem with the First Amendment Prog?

    • Easy, Wayne – no personal attacks. I just nuked two of your comments because they were directly attacking people who are coming here to talk. Let’s keep it focused on issues, not individuals.

  7. I was recently looking onto starting a recall petition for Buys, because of his vote on the “gut WA’s Medical Marijaua system” (Overstreet voted against it. I haven’t yet seen how Sen. Ericksen voted on it, yesterday), but I wasn’t able to drum up enough support by people willing to gather signatures for it. It would be good to see him unseated by a libertarian candidate.

  8. Riley,

    Could the Libertarian’s gain enough votes to allow a Democrat to be elected? What percent of the vote did Buy’s win by in the last election?

    Tom

    • There can only be two candidates on the general ballot.

    • The top two system prevents any sort of spoiler effect. So it is possible that a Libertarian may edge out the Democratic candidate in the primary . . . and then face the Republican in the general.

      Alternately, it is possible (but not likely) that the Libertarian draws enough votes from the Republican that the Democrat and Libertarian face each other in the general. We will see!

  9. […] ads coming back into vogue. The question remains, who put up these signs? Is this the work of the local libertarian Nick Kunkel who is taking a run against Rep. Jason Overstreet or perhaps someone who was tired of […]

  10. […] should be noted that there will be a Democrat in this race, and Nick Kunkel has already declared as the Libertarian. In other words, Seth Fleetwood and Doug Ericksen may just be the least interesting thing going on […]


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