Libertarian Republican

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In American politics, a Libertarian Republican is a politician or Republican Party member who has advocated Libertarian policies while typically voting for and being involved with the Republican Party.

Beliefs and size[edit]

The Republican Party has historically been divided into factions. In 2012, the libertarian branch of the party was described as smaller than other branches, including Tea Party voters (the "populist, Pro-limited government Tea Party wing" of the party), pragmatic "Main Street" Republicans, and evangelical Christian conservatives.[1] According to a 2012 New York Times analysis, libertarian Republicans have a variety of motivating issues. On economic and domestic policy, they favor deregulation and tax cuts, repeal of the Affordable Care Act, and protecting gun rights.[1] On social issues, they favor privacy and oppose the USA Patriot Act and oppose the War on Drugs.[1] On foreign and defense policy, libertarian Republicans are non-interventionists.[1] Some libertarians favor abortion rights, while other libertarian Republicans oppose almost all abortions.[1] Two-thirds of libertarian Republicans are males.[1]

In a 2014 Pew Research Center survey on political typology and polarization, 12% of Republicans described themselves as libertarian.[2] In a 2023 New York Times poll of the Republican coalition, 14% of Republicans consider themselves Libertarian conservatives. As of August 2023, 38% support providing additional support to Ukraine, 34% support cutting corporate taxes over raising tariffs, 19% consider themselves very conservative, 45% believe abortion should be mostly or always legal, 51% are against comprehensive immigration reform, 73% say they favor the "protection of individual freedom over traditional values", and 13% want a candidate who would "fight corporations that promote woke left ideology." In the 2024 Republican Party presidential primaries, 43% would vote for Donald Trump and 12% would vote for Ron DeSantis.[3]


The Republican Liberty Caucus, which describes itself as "the oldest continuously operating organization in the Liberty Republican movement with state charters nationwide," was founded in 1991.[4] In the 1990s the group's chairs included Chuck Muth, Roger MacBride, and Congressman Ron Paul; in the 2000s, the group's chairs included Dave Nalle.[4] The group's statement of principles affirms "the principle that individual rights and liberties are unlimited" and calls for free trade; the "privatization of all government assets"; the abolition of many federal agencies; the repeal of most current federal taxes in favor of a single flat income tax or national sales tax; and the phase-out of "compulsory government retirement, disability, and health programs."[5]

The House Liberty Caucus is a congressional caucus formed by Libertarian Representative Justin Amash of Michigan, at the time a Republican. In 2014, the group "consisted of about 30 libertarian-inclined Republicans (and occasional Democratic visitors like Jared Polis)."[6] In February 2019, Politico reported that the House Liberty Caucus had eight members.[7] The list of congressional member organizations (CMOs) for the 118th Congress indicates that Warren Davidson is the leader of the Congressional Liberty Caucus.[8]

Public figures[edit]

Thomas Massie
Justin Amash
Ron Paul
Rand Paul
Mike Lee
Chris Sununu
William Weld

Cabinet-level officials[edit]


Former representatives[edit]


  • Rand Paul, U.S. Senator from Kentucky (2011–present) – is sometimes regarded as libertarian-leaning,[32] and has on multiple occasions described himself as such when discussing matters like the national debt and other economic issues, domestic surveillance, foreign military intervention, and the war on drugs. However, David Boaz of the Cato Institute notes that "Paul doesn't claim to be a libertarian, and he takes positions that many libertarians disagree with."[33]
  • Mike Lee, U.S. Senator from Utah (2011–present) – described as an economic and civil libertarian.[34][35]
  • Cynthia Lummis, U.S. Senator from Wyoming (2021–present) – self-describes as a "libertarian-leaning Republican".[36][37]

Former senators[edit]

State governors[edit]

Former governors[edit]

  • Gary Johnson, 29th Governor of New Mexico (1995–2003) – served two terms as governor as a Republican and ran for President as a Republican in 2011,[42] but switched from the Republican Party to the Libertarian Party later that year,[43] serving as the Libertarian nominee for president in 2012 and 2016 and running for the U.S. Senate as a Libertarian in 2018.
  • William Weld, 68th Governor of Massachusetts (1991–1997) – As a Republican governor of Massachusetts, Weld self-identified as a libertarian Republican.[44] Later, Weld drifted toward the Libertarian Party. In 2006, Weld unsuccessfully sought the Republican nomination for New York governor; he gained the Libertarian Party endorsement that year before dropping out of the race.[45] In 2016, Weld joined the Libertarian Party to run for vice president as the running mate of Gary Johnson.[46] In 2019, Weld rejoined the Republican Party to launch a primary challenge to President Donald Trump.[47]
  • Paul LePage, 74th Governor of Maine (2011–2019) – according to Politico "an insurgency of libertarian activists" supported LePage for Governor in 2010 and LePage has called for a return to Austrian economics.[48]

State legislators[edit]


Authors and scholars[edit]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f "A New Guide to the Republican Herd".
  2. ^ "In search of libertarians".
  3. ^ "The 6 Kinds of Republican Voters".
  4. ^ a b []]
  5. ^ "Statement of Principles & Positions". Republican Liberty Caucus. Retrieved 2019-10-30.
  6. ^ Robert Drape, Has the 'Libertarian Moment' Finally Arrived?, New York Times Magazine (August 7, 2016).
  7. ^ Ferris, Sarah (February 26, 2019). "House votes to block Trump's national emergency declaration". POLITICO.
  8. ^ "118th Congress Congressional Member Organizations (CMOs)" (PDF). Retrieved November 8, 2023.
  9. ^ "The End of the Libertarian Dream?". Politico. 8 May 2020.
  10. ^ "Why David Stockman isn't buying it". CBS News. March 2, 2012.
  11. ^ Deirdre Shesgreen, Ryan wins speaker's job without Massie, as Ohio Dem considers bid to oust Pelosi, USA Today (November 15, 2016).
  12. ^ Emma Dumain, Snowden Has a Few Defenders on the Hill, Roll Call (June 10, 2013).
  13. ^ Jeffrey Mervis, Meet Representative Thomas Massie: A Constitutional Conservative With an MIT Pedigree, Science (November 21, 2012).
  14. ^ Tracy, Abigail (March 3, 2020). ""The President's Big Into Buddy Checks": In the MAGA Circus with Matt Gaetz, Trump's Ultimate Protégé". Vanity Fair.
  15. ^ "Matt Gaetz Is Having a Bad Hair Day". Rolling Stone. February 13, 2020. Gaetz has a strong libertarian streak and (at times) has expressed support for legalized marijuana and LGBTQ rights
  16. ^ "How Not to Build a Transpartisan Coalition for Police Reform". 12 June 2020.
  17. ^ "Nancy Mace fights to keep fusionism in Congress". 13 June 2022.
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  19. ^ "Former Rep. Justin Amash enters Michigan's jumbled GOP Senate primary". NBC News. 2024-02-29. Retrieved 2024-03-25.
  20. ^ "Rep. Raul Labrador (ID-01) | Young Americans for Liberty". 2012-11-06. Archived from the original on 2013-06-03. Retrieved 2013-07-14.
  21. ^ "Republicans are trying to unseat their own congressperson because he officiated a same-sex wedding". 12 May 2020.
  22. ^ "The earliest libertarian to gain standing within the Republican Party was Dana Rohrabacher". Archived from the original on June 26, 2012.
  23. ^ Josh Goodman, South Carolina's "Libertarian" Governor Archived 2016-09-16 at the Wayback Machine, Governing (August 4, 2008).
  24. ^ Emma Dumain, Mark Sanford turned down offer to run for Libertarian Party VP, The Post and Courier (June 16, 2016).
  25. ^ "Rising Star Ted Yoho, 'Republican with Libertarian Slant'". 17 August 2012.
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  28. ^ Adam C. Smith & Alex Leary, Maverick Connie Mack keeps GOP Senate field waiting on 2012 run Archived 2016-08-27 at the Wayback Machine, Tampa Bay Times (February 18, 2011).
  29. ^ John Harwood, Libertarian Legion Stands Ready to Accept Torch From Paul, New York Times (August 25, 2012).
  30. ^ Brian Doherty, After Ron Paul, Then What?, New York Times (February 9, 2013).
  31. ^ Murray Rothbard, The Betrayal of the American Right (Ludwig von Mises Institute, 2007), p. 86.
  32. ^ Robert Draper, Has the 'Libertarian Moment' Finally Arrived?, New York Times Magazine (August 7, 2014).
  33. ^ David Boaz, Is Rand Paul a Real Libertarian?, Newsweek (April 6, 2015).
  34. ^ Pascal-Emmanuel Gobry, [1], The Week (January 13, 2016).
  35. ^ Nick Gillespie, GOP Should Side with Civil Libertarians Rand Paul and Mike Lee, Not Mitch McConnell and Tom Cotton, on Patriot Act Provisions, Reason (May 20, 2015).
  36. ^ "Senate Democrats split over legalizing weed". Politico. April 20, 2021. Libertarians like Republican Sens. Cynthia Lummis of Wyoming and Rand Paul of Kentucky signaled openness to descheduling marijuana under the Controlled Substances Act
  37. ^ "Cynthia Lummis, a Bull-Coaxing Conservative, Heads to the Senate". New York Times. December 5, 2020. A self-described "libertarian-leaning Republican," Ms. Lummis – whose last name rhymes with hummus – is the first woman to represent Wyoming in the Senate.
  38. ^ Fools Goldwater Archived March 4, 2011, at the Wayback Machine. National Review, 7-30-2006. Retrieved April 16, 2011.
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  40. ^ "'This fever will break': Republican Jeff Flake on the slow fade of Trumpism | Republicans | the Guardian".
  41. ^ "Chris Sununu on the Issues". Retrieved 2018-12-18.
  42. ^ "Johnson said he's open to running as a Republican again". New Mexico Telegram. 12 June 2013. Archived from the original on June 21, 2013. Retrieved 16 June 2013.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: unfit URL (link)
  43. ^ Kelly David Burke, Gary Johnson Switches to Libertarian Party, Fox News (December 28, 2011).
  44. ^ "A Libertarian Ticket Sane Republicans Can Get Behind | Cato Institute". Archived from the original on 2016-05-21.
  45. ^ Bill Weld Drops out of New York Gubernatorial Race, Associated Press (June 6, 2006).
  46. ^ "Libertarian Gary Johnson picks former Mass. governor for VP". The Hill. May 18, 2019.
  47. ^ "Bill Weld officially announces he is challenging Trump for GOP nomination in 2020". CNN. April 16, 2019.
  48. ^ Colin Woodbard (January 8, 2014). "How Did Mild-Mannered Maine Get America's Craziest Governor?". Politico.
  49. ^ "Delegate Joins Senate Race to Challenge Tim Kaine". U.S. News & World Report. Associated Press. Retrieved 11 December 2017.
  50. ^ Scott Powers (July 16, 2021). "Stephanie Murphy collects $800K as Republicans stake CD 7 challenges". Florida Politics.
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  52. ^ Moretto, Mario; Staff, B. D. N. (11 August 2013). "Libertarian group commends 10 GOP lawmakers, calls 21 Democrats 'constitutional threats'". The Bangor Daily News. Retrieved 2017-07-30.
  53. ^ Don Walton, Laura Ebke a libertarian voice in Legislature, Lincoln Journal Star (February 6, 2015).
  54. ^ Joe Duggan, Frustrated' State Sen. Laura Ebke switches from Republican to Libertarian, Omaha World-Herald (June 6, 2016).
  55. ^ Irene North, Nebraska State Senator Laura Ebke switches parties, Scottsbluff Star-Herald (June 2, 2016).
  56. ^ Shelby Wright (April 10, 2020). "Sending Thomas Massie Some Backup: Matt Gurtler For Congress". The Libertarian Republic.
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  83. ^ Javier E. David, Roger Stone calls on Trump to back legal marijuana, hits Sessions for 'outmoded thinking', CNBC (April 1, 2017).
  84. ^ Christine Mai-Duc, Silicon Valley tech mogul Peter Thiel to make history as he declares he's proud to be gay on the RNC stage, Los Angeles Times (July 22, 2016).
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