Libertarian Senate candidate sees a third way in Far West Texas

MARFA – The US Senate race in Texas is shaping to be the most expensive Senate race in the nation. As most of the attention is squarely placed on El Paso US Rep. Beto O’Rourke and Sen. Ted Cruz, a lesser-known candidate is finding solace in the independent minded voters of the Far West Texas region.

Neal Dikeman is running on the Libertarian Party ticket in the three-way Senate race, a race that has already amassed $47 million between the Democrat and Republican candidates. Dikeman, who grew up in the Houston area, and who still lives there, travelled through the region to better understand the issues that are important to residents.

Dikeman was voted to be the Libertarian candidate by 70% of the Texas Libertarian Convention delegates. The latest polling, has Dike-man at 2%, which is a long shot considering that Cruz and O’Rourke are polling at 41 and 36 percent, respectively.

“People in the Trans-Pecos are free-thinking,” said Dikeman, who gesticulated while speaking and was dressed in a sky blue polo embroidered shirt with “Dikeman for Senate.” Prior to visiting Marfa, Dikeman had visited Fort Davis and Alpine.

According to Dikeman, his interactions with residents have only confirmed what he already believed prior to making this trip; voters want a different vision than what the two parties offer and they are receptive to third parties.

Libertarian candidate for president Gary Johnson received 3.2% of the vote state-wide in the 2016 election, the percentage of the votes he received in the Far-West Texas region are slightly higher than the state average.

“They [the voters] do not believe the choices meet their views,” said Dikeman. Which is to say that neither party is representative of the views held by the plurality of the population. However, that is not to say Dikeman’s views match with majority opinion. He is merely filling a void and his positions are a blend of Republican and Democratic positions.

Dikeman’s platform is a combination of fiscal conservatism and social tolerance. Dikeman sees himself as an intermediary between the Republican and Democratic

parties, an area that he refers to as, “the middle.”

Although, Libertarians are normally viewed as a right-leaning third party, some of Dikeman stances differ from hard-lined Republicans. He is pro-choice, and believes that marijuana should be decriminalized and regulated. Both of these stances stem from his opposition to government interference into the personal affairs of individuals.

Dikeman’s opinion of the current administration seems to be a mixed bag. He condemns the practice of separating children at the border but does not denounce President Trump’s economic agenda. Dike-man also supported the Republican effort to over-turn the Affordable Care Act but not their execution. And when pressed he did not have a concrete plan to fix the American healthcare system, but he explicitly stated that single-payer was not a viable option.

This week, Dikeman wrote a letter addressed to Rep. O’Rourke, in the letter he challenged the El Paso Congressmen to a debate.

Dikeman intends to visit the Far West Texas region multiple times before the election on Nov. 6.