Libertarian elected to city commission

On November 7, 1995, Libertarian Party of Georgia member Bruce Van Buren won election to the Avondale Estates City Commission, placing first in a field of five candidates vying for two open seats in a nonpartisan race.

Avondale Estates is a "planned community." It has the second highest median income of any Georgia city.

According to campaign manager Ron Crickenberger:

... much was made of Bruces party affiliation by the other candidates, including 11th hour hit pieces describing all the LP positions people usually talk about when one of our candidates has them running scared.

... The campaign spent about $2,200.00 to win 428 votes. Turnout was high at over 55%. We put five pieces of literature into every household.

  1. A pre-walk card that we mailed out in batches just large enough to be covered by each weeks walk. The card simply had Bruce's picture with a short note saying "I'm coming by to talk to you about city issues." It serves as a great time saver for the candidate, and commits him to a certain number of doors per week.

  2. A standard candidate issue card. Bruce knocked on every door in the 1,177 home city to hand deliver this card and chat with everyone who was home.

  3. An issue letter. The one issue in the campaign, other than Bruces party affiliation, was restoring the main Tudor Village Building. One candidate had proposed for the city to buy the building. We polled the electorate with the question "would you be more likely to vote for a candidate who wanted the city to buy the Tudor Village with tax increases, or one who wanted the city to more aggressively pursue private investors?" Our guys position was a ten-to-one favorite, so the letter quite naturally stressed this heavily.

  4. A "good guy" postcard designed to hit the Saturday before the election. We also reinforced the message about our position on the Tudor Village.

  5. A last minute endorsement letter signed by 35 members of the community. We put this out when we found out about the hit pieces charging Bruce with wanting vending machines filled with drugs, guns and prostitutes in the elementary school. We found out about the hit pieces on Sunday afternoon, got signatures of prominent people for a couple of hours, put the piece together till 1:00AM, got it printed at Kinkos and distributed to every home in the city by 5:00PM Monday.

We also made at least two dialings to every household in the city, and identified over two hundred Van Buren supporters for a Monday night GOTV effort.

Source: November 9, 1995, post to LPUS by Ron Crickenberger.