In the race for governor, Scott Helker, the Libertarian candidate, is glad he’s coming in above the Mickey Mouse vote. A telephone survey conducted by Magellan Strategies LLC that took place …
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The state Libertarian party website: www.lpcolorado.org/
In the race for governor, Scott Helker, the Libertarian candidate, is glad he’s coming in above the Mickey Mouse vote.
A telephone survey conducted by Magellan Strategies LLC that took place between Oct. 8-10 placed Helker at pulling 4 percent of the vote. A Mickey Mouse vote — which is when voters write-in Mickey Mouse rather than selecting any of the other candidates on the ballot — generally accounts for about 2 percent of the vote on Election Day, Helker said.
“The reality is that I’m not going to win,” Helker, 62, of Golden said. “But this is great name recognition.”
By name recognition, Helker doesn’t mean his own name. The whole goal of him running is to get the Libertarian message out there and contribute to the party’s branding, he said.
“There was nobody running for governor in the Libertarian party,” Helker said. “Someone had to do it. People need to know who we are.”
And following his campaign, the Libertarian party will be able to learn from what went well and what went wrong, Helker said.
Helker has lived in Golden for about 20 years. With a professional background as an attorney, his focus was mostly criminal law, but would take on any case except personal injury, Helker said. He earned his law degree from the University of Denver in the 1980s, and his career history includes working in the district attorney’s office in Durango and as a public defender in San Jose County in California.
He is no longer an active attorney, but remains involved in real estate investment.
Helker met his wife Lisa in California. The two have been married for 26 years, and they’ve raised a 14-year-old daughter who attends Golden High School.
Helker joined the Libertarian Party about eight years ago.
“The interesting thing about Libertarians,” Helker said, “is that overall, Libertarians are proud to be Libertarians.”
The party’s message is “limited government and fiscal responsibility,” Helker said.
“Libertarians believe the answer to America’s political problems is a fundamental commitment to freedom and voluntary interactions between individuals: a free-market economy and the abundance and prosperity it brings; a dedication to civil liberties and personal freedom; and a foreign policy of non-intervention, peace and free trade,” the Libertarian Party of Colorado’ website states. “Libertarians agree to work towards consistently reducing the government to produce minimum government and maximum freedom.”
If Helker were to be elected as governor, his No. 1 priority, he said, would be to “work on the common ground, rather than that which divides us.”
“There’s got to be something that unifies us,” he said.
Some of the top issues that Helker would take on as governor include the opioid crisis, water, housing and exemptions for the bankruptcy laws concerning student loans.
During campaigning, he learned that Colorado’s rural communities have a big concern with roads, Helker said. He added their concern is not about congestion, as it is in the cities, but about getting their rural roads paved.
If elected, Helker would offer alternatives to the government solutions to these — and other — issues, he said. The government is limited on what it can do “because of what government is,” Helker said.
“By thinking outside of the government box,” he said, “you can find a huge wave of alternative ideas.”
For example, Helker said, a solution to “potentially double the current water volumes in the Colorado River basins and refill our slowly depleting aquifers” may be to reintroduce more beavers.
Another example involves homelessness. Helker’s solution is to bring in more tiny houses. Probably a couple hundred tiny homes could fit on a 20-acre plot of land, Helker said. If given the option to move into a tiny home, it could potentially provide a person facing homelessness an opportunity to start out with cheap rent or perhaps even become a homeowner.
Helker can be considered an educational candidate, said Wayne Harlos, chair of the Libertarian Party of Colorado.
“He has worked very hard to get the Libertarian word out,” Harlos said.
In Delta, Colorado, Harlos said, Helker spent three days, from “sun up to sun down” campaigning during the town’s Applefest on Oct. 4-7. About 100 people followed up, requesting information so they could learn more about the Libertarian party, Harlos said.
“Those are people who wouldn’t have had that curiosity if it weren’t for Scott’s efforts,” he said.
Campaigning has been “a really nice journey,” Helker said.
“You get to meet a lot of nice people,” he added. “It makes you proud to be a part of this state.”
Even though he’s not a Libertarian, Helker’s friend Ron MacLachlan of Denver said he believes Helker would do a “fair and just job” as governor.
Helker has the ability to truly listen to people, which makes him approachable and reliable, MacLachlan said.
“He’s not a life-long politician who has lobbyists dictating where he goes, looking for the next photo op,” MacLachlan said, adding Helker’s campaign has been largely a grassroots effort. “His willingness to get out there … speaks volumes to his character.”
This is the first time for Helker to run for any elected office, he said. And following his run for governor, he doesn’t have any immediate plans to run for another office.
“But,” Helker said, “you never know.”
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