Reason: Meet the Highest-Polling Libertarian Gubernatorial Candidate in the Country

By Brian Doherty
Posted at on October, 30 2020

Donald Rainwater, the Libertarian Party’s (L.P.) candidate for governor of Indiana, has racked up some unprecedented polling numbers for a Libertarian in a race in which both major parties are running candidates. The 57-year-old Navy veteran and information technology professional hit as high as 24 percent in a Change Research poll back in September.

While that very high result was an outlier, Rainwater has in the past week polled at 14 percent (in a Ragnar Research Partners poll) and 15 percent (in a Cygnal poll). Previous Libertarian candidates for governor in Indiana earned 3.2 percent of the final vote in 2016, and 4 percent in 2012.

The secret to this unusually high polling for the L.P.’s candidate seems to be voter backlash to incumbent Republican Gov. Eric Holcomb’s reaction to COVID-19, seen by Rainwater and many voters, according to local media reports, as unduly authoritarian. Rainwater said in a phone interview yesterday that, “during the pandemic year [Holcomb] has been able to declare an emergency and then he has ruled by executive order without bringing the General Assembly into the conversation.”

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