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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
The Republican Party has historically been divided into factions. In a 2014 Pew Research Center survey on political typology and polarization, 12% of Republicans described themselves as libertarian. In 2012, the libertarian branch of the party was described as smaller than other branches, including Tea Party voters (the "populist, more radical Tea Party wing" of the party), pragmatic "Main Street" Republicans, and evangelical Christian conservatives. 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. On social issues, they favor privacy and oppose the USA Patriot Act and oppose the War on Drugs. On foreign and defense policy, libertarian Republicans are isolationists. While most libertarians favor abortion rights, some libertarian Republicans oppose almost all abortions. Two-thirds of libertarian Republicans are males.
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. 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. 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."
The House Liberty Caucus was 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)." The group ceased to operate in 2017.
- Former Director Mick Mulvaney of the Office of Management and Budget; former acting White House Chief of Staff; former U.S. Representative from South Carolina
- Former Director David Stockman of the Office of Management and Budget; former U.S. Representative from Michigan; self-described libertarian.
- Representative Thomas Massie of Kentucky – described as "a Northern Kentucky Republican with libertarian leanings," Massie is a "self-styled libertarian" who has received libertarian support, although he has also described himself as a "'constitutional conservative' within the Republican Party."
- Representative Matt Gaetz of Florida – self-describes as a "libertarian populist" and described by media as having a "strong libertarian streak".
- Representative Warren Davidson of Ohio.
- Representative Tom McClintock of California – described as "libertarian leaning" by Reason magazine.
- Representative Nancy Mace of South Carolina - Described to have a "fusion" of Libertarian views
- Representative Scott Perry of Pennsylvania
- Former Representative Justin Amash of Michigan – Chairman of the Liberty Caucus; left Republican Party in 2019 to become an Independent. He is now a registered member of the Libertarian Party.
- Former Representative Richard L. Hanna of New York
- Former Representative Walter B. Jones Jr. of North Carolina
- Former Representative Raúl Labrador of Idaho
- Former Representative Reid Ribble of Wisconsin
- Former Representative Denver Riggleman of Virginia
- Former Representative Dana Rohrabacher of California
- Former Representative Mark Sanford of South Carolina (also a former governor of South Carolina) – a Republican, he's often described as holding libertarian views; claimed to have turned down an offer from Libertarian Party presidential nominee Gary Johnson to be his vice presidential running mate in the 2016 election.
- Former Representative Ted Yoho of Florida
- Former Representative Bob Barr of Georgia
- Former Representative Helen Chenoweth-Hage, of Idaho.
- Former Representative Kerry Bentivolio of Michigan
- Former Representative Connie Mack IV of Florida – described as "a staunch fiscal conservative...with libertarian tendencies."
- Former Representative Ron Paul of Texas – longstanding Libertarian Republican icon; unsuccessfully ran for president in 1988 as the Libertarian nominee, and in 2008 and 2012 as a Republican candidate.
- Former Representatives Howard H. Buffett of Nebraska, Ralph W. Gwinn of New York, Frederick C. Smith of Ohio, and H.R. Gross of Iowa – members of the House described by Murray Rothbard as "extreme right ... solidly isolationist and opposed to foreign wars and interventions, and roughly free-market and libertarian in domestic affairs."
- Rand Paul, U.S. Senator from Kentucky (2011–present) – is sometimes regarded as libertarian-leaning, 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."
- Mike Lee, U.S. Senator from Utah (2011–present) – described as an economic and civil libertarian.
- Cynthia Lummis, U.S. Senator from Wyoming (2021–present) – self-describes as a "libertarian-leaning Republican".
- Barry Goldwater, former U.S. Senator from Arizona (1953–1965, 1969–1987)
- Mark Hatfield, former U.S. Senator from Oregon (1967–1997)
- George Frisbie Hoar, former U.S. Senator from Massachusetts (1877–1904)
- Chris Sununu, 82nd Governor of New Hampshire (2017–present) – As a Republican governor of New Hampshire, Sununu has been described as a "moderate-libertarian".
- 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, but switched from the Republican Party to the Libertarian Party later that year, serving as the Libertarian nominee for president in 2012 and 2016.
- William Weld, 68th Governor of Massachusetts (1991–1997) – As a Republican governor of Massachusetts, Weld self-identified as a libertarian Republican. 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. In 2016, Weld joined the Libertarian Party to run for vice president as the running mate of Gary Johnson. In 2019, Weld rejoined the Republican Party to launch a primary challenge to President Donald Trump.
- 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.
- Nick Freitas, Virginia state Delegate (2015–present) – Unsuccessfully ran for U.S. Senate in 2018. Described as having a "conservative voting record and libertarian streak."
- Aaron Kaufer, Pennsylvania state representative (2015-present)
- Anthony Sabatini, Florida state representative (2018–present) – candidate for 2022 United States House of Representatives elections in Florida for Florida's 7th congressional district. Described as a "libertarian-conservative".
- Kurt Bills, former Minnesota state representative (2011–2012) – describes himself as a "libertarian-leaning constitutional conservative"; Reason magazine writes that "most of his positions align with mainstream libertarian ideas. He is hostile to the drug war, favors a non-interventionist foreign policy, and embraces Austrian economics."
- Eric Brakey, former Maine state senator (2014–2018) Unsuccessfully ran for U.S. Senate in 2018. Worked for Ron Paul's 2012 campaign, led the Defense of Liberty PAC.
- Laura Ebke, former Nebraska state senator (2015–2019) – elected to the legislature in 2014 and advanced libertarian positions. She described herself in early 2015 as "a Republican and a conservative libertarian," In 2016, Ebke switched to the Libertarian Party.
- Richard Tisei, former Massachusetts state senator and state Senate minority leader; identifies as a "traditional Northeast libertarian" in the social and fiscal senses.
- Matt Gurtler, Georgia state representative from the 8th district (2017–2021); endorsed by Thomas Massie in his bid for U.S. Representative for Georgia's 9th congressional district. He was dubbed "Mr. No" as a state representative for how many times he voted against legislation and called for restrictions on the IRS.
Authors and scholars
- Nobel Prize–winning economist Milton Friedman
- Wall Street Journal writer Stephen Moore
- Economist and philosopher Murray Rothbard (until the 1950s)
- Economist Mark Skousen
- Jerry Doyle, radio talk show host
- Clint Eastwood, actor, filmmaker – describes himself as a libertarian and says that he has "always been a libertarian," but is associated with the Republican Party.
- Jack Hunter, radio talk show host ("The Southern Avenger"), political commentator, former aide to Rand Paul, editor of Rare Politics – has written of his "attraction to libertarianism." Hunter formerly expressed neo-Confederate views, which libertarian commentator and law professor Ilya Somin criticized in 2013 as inconsistent with libertarianism.
- Glenn Jacobs, professional Wrestler with WWE and current Republican Mayor of Knoxville, TN.
- Kennedy, TV commentator and former MTV VJ
- Dennis Miller, television personality – described himself as a "conservative libertarian" in the 1990s, although "his commentary always contained a streak of right-wing populism." After the September 11 attacks, Miller's views, particularly on foreign and defense policy, drifted further to the right.
- Grover Norquist, anti-tax activist and Republican figure; economic libertarian identified with "support for supply-side economics and skepticism about climate science."
- P. J. O'Rourke, humorist, author – libertarian-conservative Republican, although he endorsed Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential campaign.
- Austin Petersen, former Libertarian Party presidential candidate and former Republican candidate for US Senate in Missouri in 2018.
- Kid Rock, musician, self-described as libertarian-leaning.
- Wayne Allyn Root, author and radio host
- Peter Schiff, investment broker – described as "libertarian" or "libertarian-leaning"; unsuccessfully sought the Republican nomination for the 2010 election for U.S. Senate in Connecticut.
- Mark Spitznagel, hedge fund manager
- Roger Stone, Republican political consultant, lobbyist and strategist, self-described libertarian.
- Peter Thiel, Silicon Valley businessman, PayPal co-founder – a registered Republican and self-described libertarian.
- Vince Vaughn, actor, self-professed libertarian.
- Tho Bishop, Economist and fellow of the Mises Institute
- Jocelyn Kiley, In search of libertarians, Pew Research Center (August 25, 2014).
- Bill Marsh, Graham Roberts, Xaquin G. V. & Archie Tse, A New Guide to the Republican Herd, New York Times (August 26, 2012).
- History of the RLC, Republican Liberty Caucus (accessed October 20, 2020).
- "Statement of Principles & Positions". Republican Liberty Caucus. Retrieved 2019-10-30.
- Robert Drape, Has the 'Libertarian Moment' Finally Arrived?, New York Times Magazine (August 7, 2016).
- "The End of the Libertarian Dream?". Politico.
- "Why David Stockman isn't buying it". CBS News. March 2, 2012.
- Deirdre Shesgreen, Ryan wins speaker's job without Massie, as Ohio Dem considers bid to oust Pelosi, USA Today (November 15, 2016).
- Emma Dumain, Snowden Has a Few Defenders on the Hill, Roll Call (June 10, 2013).
- Jeffrey Mervis, Meet Representative Thomas Massie: A Constitutional Conservative With an MIT Pedigree, Science (November 21, 2012).
- 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.
- "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
- "How Not to Build a Transpartisan Coalition for Police Reform". 12 June 2020.
- "Nancy Mace fights to keep fusionism in Congress". 13 June 2022.
- Garrett Quinn (2012-05-30). "Justin Amash Defends Congress' Only Libertarian Seat: Democrats (and at least one moderate Republican) are taking aim at the "next Ron Paul."". Reason.com. Retrieved 2013-06-24.
- "Rep. Raul Labrador (ID-01) | Young Americans for Liberty". Yaliberty.org. 2012-11-06. Archived from the original on 2013-06-03. Retrieved 2013-07-14.
- "Republicans are trying to unseat their own congressperson because he officiated a same-sex wedding". 12 May 2020.
- The earliest libertarian to gain standing within the Republican Party was Dana Rohrabacher. Archived June 26, 2012, at the Wayback Machine
- Josh Goodman, South Carolina's "Libertarian" Governor Archived 2016-09-16 at the Wayback Machine, Governing (August 4, 2008).
- Emma Dumain, Mark Sanford turned down offer to run for Libertarian Party VP, The Post and Courier (June 16, 2016).
- "Rising Star Ted Yoho, 'Republican with Libertarian Slant'". 17 August 2012.
- "Bob Barr, Civil Libertarian". Reason.com. December 2003. Retrieved 2013-06-24.
- Melanie Starkey (November 7, 2012). "113th Congress: Kerry Bentivolio, R-Mich. (11th District)". CQ Today. Congressional Quarterly.
The libertarian-leaning Kerry Bentivolio secured his first elected position by running as an outsider...
- 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).
- John Harwood, Libertarian Legion Stands Ready to Accept Torch From Paul, New York Times (August 25, 2012).
- Brian Doherty, After Ron Paul, Then What?, New York Times (February 9, 2013).
- Murray Rothbard, The Betrayal of the American Right (Ludwig von Mises Institute, 2007), p. 86.
- Robert Draper, Has the 'Libertarian Moment' Finally Arrived?, New York Times Magazine (August 7, 2014).
- David Boaz, Is Rand Paul a Real Libertarian?, Newsweek (April 6, 2015).
- Pascal-Emmanuel Gobry, , The Week (January 13, 2016).
- 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).
- "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
- "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.
- Fools Goldwater Archived March 4, 2011, at the Wayback Machine. National Review, 7-30-2006. Retrieved April 16, 2011.
- Rothbard, Murray N. (February 25, 1972). "Exclusive Interview With Murray Rothbard". The New Banner: A Fortnightly Libertarian Journal.
- Brendan, Michael (2011-03-28). ""Frisbie Hoar was saying then the same things Ron Paul is saying today," Church avers". Theamericanconservative.com. Retrieved 2013-06-24.
- "Chris Sununu on the Issues". www.ontheissues.org. Retrieved 2018-12-18.
- "Johnson said he's open to running as a Republican again". New Mexico Telegram. 12 June 2013. Retrieved 16 June 2013.
- Kelly David Burke, Gary Johnson Switches to Libertarian Party, Fox News (December 28, 2011).
- "A Libertarian Ticket Sane Republicans Can Get Behind | Cato Institute". Archived from the original on 2016-05-21.
- Bill Weld Drops out of New York Gubernatorial Race, Associated Press (June 6, 2006).
- "Libertarian Gary Johnson picks former Mass. governor for VP". The Hill. May 18, 2019.
- "Bill Weld officially announces he is challenging Trump for GOP nomination in 2020". CNN. April 16, 2019.
- Colin Woodbard (January 8, 2014). "How Did Mild-Mannered Maine Get America's Craziest Governor?". Politico.
- "Delegate Joins Senate Race to Challenge Tim Kaine". U.S. News & World Report. Associated Press. Retrieved 11 December 2017.
- Scott Powers (July 16, 2021). "Stephanie Murphy collects $800K as Republicans stake CD 7 challenges". Florida Politics.
- Garrett Quinn, Libertarian(ish) Candidates: If you want to find a few liberty-loving politicos, look lower on the ballot, Reason (November 2012).
- 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.
- Don Walton, Laura Ebke a libertarian voice in Legislature, Lincoln Journal Star (February 6, 2015).
- Joe Duggan, Frustrated' State Sen. Laura Ebke switches from Republican to Libertarian, Omaha World-Herald (June 6, 2016).
- Irene North, Nebraska State Senator Laura Ebke switches parties, Scottsbluff Star-Herald (June 2, 2016).
- Shelby Wright (April 10, 2020). "Sending Thomas Massie Some Backup: Matt Gurtler For Congress". The Libertarian Republic.
- "Clyde, Gurtler, Vie for Republican Nod in Northeast Georgia". US News. Associated Press. August 6, 2020.
- Milton Friedman on the Charlie Rose Show Archived February 4, 2011, at the Wayback Machine. PBS, November 2005. Retrieved April 16, 2011.
- Republican Liberty Caucus 2006 Convention Summary Archived July 22, 2011, at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved April 16, 2011.
- David Leonhardt. Free for All. The New York Times, 4-1-2007. Retrieved April 16, 2011.
- "Today he is the libertarian-leaning host of The Jerry Doyle Show, a daily three-hour program about politics and culture syndicated by the Talk Radio Network". Jerrydoyle.com. Archived from the original on July 18, 2013. Retrieved 2013-06-24.
- Dirty Harry comes clean (Clint Eastwood interview with Jeff Dawson), The Guardian (June 6, 2008).
- Jacob Sullum, Clint Eastwood's 'Leave Everybody Alone' Definition of Libertarianism, Reason (September 19, 2012).
- Ed Krayewski, A Refresher on Clint Eastwood's Libertarian Politics, Reason (August 31, 2012).
- Ilya Somin, Former "Southern Avenger" Jack Hunter Resigns from Rand Paul's Staff, Volokh Conspiracy (July 22, 2013).
- Jack Hunter, The 'Southern Avenger' Repents: I Was Wrong About the Confederate Flag, Daily Beast (June 22, 2015).
- "Glenn Jacobs, expected to be elected mayor is a libertarian. What that means for Knox County". Knoxville News Sentinel. Retrieved 2018-09-13.
- McKirdy, Euan. "WWE wrestler Kane wins bid for Knox County mayor". CNN. Retrieved 2018-09-13.
- Grove, Lloyd. "Lisa Kennedy Montgomery on Her Path From MTV to Fox Business." The Daily Beast. 2013-12-09. Retrieved 2016-02-01.
- Duncan Currie, Dennis the Right-Wing Menace?, National Review (July 27, 2003).
- Dennis Miller, Los Angeles Times (2016): "Miller's generally libertarian politics took a sharp right turn shortly after Sept. 11. Now with his material falling on the consistently conservative side, Miller makes regular appearances on Fox News staples..."
- Hunter, Jack (November 30, 2012). "In Defense of Grover Norquist". The American Conservative.
- Jonathan Chait, Should Liberals Be More Grateful to Grover Norquist?, New Republic (February 28, 2011): "[L]ibertarianism has many variations. Grover Norquist is a libertarian, and he has also decided to work entirely through the Republican Party and the conservative movement...The Kochs, like Norquist, define libertarianism primarily in economic terms. And they define economic libertarianism as support for supply-side economics and skepticism about climate science."
- PJ O'Rourke, Satirist and Journalist (interview with Matt Wordsworth), Lateline ABC News (Australia) (July 28, 2016): "What drives a libertarian Republican to endorse a big government Democrat?"
- P.J. O'Rourke on why Trump will collapse, Ann Coulter's a fraud, and how National Lampoon created modern comedy, Salon (interview with Andrew O'Hehir) (September 24, 2015): "Since at least the mid-'80s, O'Rourke has tried to stake out a zone on the libertarian-conservative wing of the Republican Party."
- "Exclusive: Libertarian Activist Austin Petersen Is Running for U.S. Senate...as a Republican! [Reason Podcast]". July 4, 2017. Retrieved July 30, 2017.
- Makarechi, Kia (2013-04-11). "Kid Rock On Republicans: 'I'm F--king Embarrassed'". Huffington Post. Retrieved 2017-04-14.
- Quinn, Garrett (September 14, 2012). "An Exit Interview With Wayne Allyn Root". Reason. Retrieved September 14, 2012.
- Jason Brennan, Libertarianism: What Everyone Needs to Know Oxford University Press, pp. 35, 169.
- Brian Doherty, Peter Schiff Losing GOP Senate Primary in Connecticut, Reason (August 10, 2010).
- Bradley, Richard (December 1, 2014). "The Goat Whisperer". Worth. Archived from the original on December 18, 2014.
- Javier E. David, Roger Stone calls on Trump to back legal marijuana, hits Sessions for 'outmoded thinking', CNBC (April 1, 2017).
- 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).
- Ben Smith (September 14, 2012). "They're gay, conservative and proud". Politico.
Thiel ... [is] a prominent supporter of libertarian causes.
- "Vince Vaughn: I'm a Libertarian". 19 February 2015.