On Thursday, two days after the primary, Chris Rockhold was literally picking up the remnants of his campaign.
“I’m out picking up the signs,” said Rockhold, who ran as a Libertarian for state representative from the 17th District, Position 2.
Symbolically, however, Rockhold’s campaign was anything but shattered. Competing in a three-person race that included incumbent Paul Harris, Rockhold received 10 percent of the vote.
That might not sound like much, especially for a candidate who is articulate and is well-versed on the issues and had spent much time campaigning. But the fact that Rockhold and his party leaders were viewing the effort as a success points out the difficult task facing third-party candidates.
“Republicans and Democrats, they get automatic votes,” said C. Michael Pickens, chairman of the state’s Libertarian Party. “That’s just the name of the game.” Which doesn’t make a lot of sense. Polls show that both Republicans and Democrats are about as popular as Ebola these days, but when the pen hits the paper people reflexively vote for what they know.