WASHINGTON – After losing a court battle to have his name put on the November ballot in Maryland, Libertarian Robert Creager is doing little to win election to Congress.
There won’t be campaign buttons. There won’t be balloon- filled rallies. And there won’t be sign-waving from street corners.
The Burtonsville resident is running as a write-in candidate for the 8th District seat but is not be campaigning.
“No, I’m not really doing anything,” Creager said in an interview this week. “It’s just an opportunity for local Libertarians to vote for somebody.”
Creager spent a morning in federal court last month, fighting to simplify that opportunity and appear on the general election ballot with the Democrats and Republicans. He filed a federal lawsuit against the State Administrative Board of Election Laws, claiming Maryland’s requirement that third-party candidates collect signatures to get on the ballot was “burdensome, financially extravagant and onerous.”
He lost the case.
There are 455 Libertarians among Montgomery County’s 429,049 registered voters, according to Aug. 31 figures from the state election board. That means that Creager’s strategy – counting on votes from his own party – targets 0.1 percent of the electorate.
With opposition from Rep. Constance A. Morella, R-Bethesda, who is seeking her sixth term, Democratic candidate Don Mooers and Natural Law Party candidate Barbara Robson, Creager admitted his chances of victory are slim.
“Write-in candidates are not taken very seriously,” he said.
Creager knows from experience.
In 1988, the 47-year-old hardware engineer worked a polling place for Maryland senatorial candidate Imad Ahmad, a Libertarian who ran as a write-in candidate. “I worked all day and he got nine votes,” Creager said, chuckling. “One was mine and one was my wife’s.”
Write-in candidates must file a certificate of candidacy by Oct. 30 for the Nov. 5 election.
Lists of those candidates appear in all polling places. Voters in Montgomery County must physically print the name of the candidate and hole-punch the ballot to cast a vote for a write-in prospect.
Jim Burton, executive director of the Maryland Republican Party, questioned Creager’s lack of effort. “It seems ironic that after all this quote-unquote work, he’s not doing anything,” Burton said. “Who’s going to vote for you if they don’t know who you are?” -30-