The Libertarian Party held its state convention this weekend and nominated a slate of candidates in statewide races for governor, lieutenant governor and the U.S. Senate.
Forty-four-year-old Eric Cooper of Ames is the Libertarian Party’s nominee for governor. Cooper says it’s time for a much smaller and vastly more limited government. He says government should be focused only matters that require a “use of force” — protecting people from body and property crimes, enforcing contracts when there’s a dispute and providing “public goods” the free market cannot provide, like roads.
“But very little else does require force,” he says. “And having government perform any activities other than the limited set that require force is foolish because the govenrment’s a monopoly and like all monopolies it has very little incentive to please its customers and very little incentive to be cost effective.”
Cooper, who is an Iowa State University psychology professor, admits he won’t be elected governor. “I am a third-party candidate and as such I don’t have the money to compete with the Republicans and the Democrats,” Cooper says. “My goals are two in this election. Number one: I want to start a real dialogue with my fellow Iowans about the notion of smaller government, a dialogue that I think the major parties have been very reluctant to have.”
Cooper’s second goal is to garner at least two percent of the vote in November so the Libertarian Party can gain “major party status” in Iowa. Cooper’s ultimate goal, though, is to have Libertarian candidates win about 10 percent of the vote in each election. He argues that will force Republicans and Democrats to adopt key Libertarian priorities as their own.
“This has been done in American history. The Populists did in the 1890s. The Socialists did it in (the second decade of the 20th century),” Cooper says. “They got everything they wanted without winning elections and we can do it, too.”
Cooper’s lieutenant governor/runningmate is 30-year-old Nick Weltha of Des Moines, an administrator in the Iowa Judicial Branch. Forty-six-year-old John Heiderscheit of Bettendorf if the party’s nominee for the U.S. Senate. In addition, Libertarian candidates are running for congress in Iowa’s first and second districts which are currently represented by Congressmen Bruce Braley and Dave Loebsack.