Meet the anti-police former Democrat turning libertarian voters in Georgia’s Senate campaign

As Georgia’s Senate election between Sen. Raphael Warnock (D.) and Herschel Walker (R.) heats up, the race could boil down to who loses the most votes to the Libertarian Party candidate — a former Democrat who supports ending bails supports. Cuts in police budgets and open borders, but attracts a surprising number of Republican-leaning voters.

Recent polls have shown Libertarian candidate Chase Oliver receiving between 3.4 and 5 percent in the race, preventing either Walker or Warnock from winning a majority. If no candidate receives more than 50 percent of the votes on election day, Georgian law requires the two best competitors to face each other in a second head-to-head election.

Erik Iverson of the Moore Information Group, a pollster for Walker’s campaign, said he believes Oliver is stealing enough Republican votes from Walker to have an impact on the race. Iverson said Oliver has been effective in appealing to “soft Republican” voters who might associate “libertarians” with conservative-leaning political figures like Republican Sen. Rand Paul (Ky.). But a review of Oliver’s political positions and public comments found that the libertarian has much more in common with Democrats than Republicans.

For the past two years, Oliver has said he supports “ending bail bonds,” “closing most overseas bases,” and “open borders.” He has argued that he is “more progressive about criminal justice” than Vice President Kamala Harris, described defense spending as “corporate welfare with explosions killing innocent people,” and said he wants “free and easy immigration.” On another Twitter account, which Oliver apparently used when he switched parties from the Democratic to the Libertarian Party in 2012, he said he supported “single-payer healthcare.”

Oliver opposed the Supreme Court ruling that brought Roe v. Wade was overturned and said that if elected he would “incorporate into law a bill to protect women’s bodily autonomy and codify abortion.” He also protested a law supported by many conservatives in Georgia that bans students from participating in sports teams that are different from their birth sex.

“A reminder that within hours the Georgia GOP issued a transportation ban and nullified the school election law,” he wrote on Twitter in April. “School choice is in their platform. But banning trans girls from sport was her educational priority. Shame.”

Oliver, who is gay, has been a vocal advocate for LGBTQ rights, describing himself last month as the “first #LGBTQ statewide candidate in Georgia history!”

In another post, Oliver writes that he distrusts both the military and the police. “I distrust all structures of authority, especially the military and police, because of their institutional nature,” Oliver said. “They’re the two we need to keep in check the most to ensure individual liberty.” After the wave of anti-police protests in 2020, he said he wanted to “demilitarize the police” and “end qualified immunity”.

In a 2012 Facebook post, Oliver said he had “always identified as a progressive Democrat” and voted for Barack Obama in 2008, but decided to vote for the Libertarian Party after becoming disillusioned with Democrats because they foreign wars had not ended. He said he only made the decision because his vote probably didn’t matter in Georgia and that he would have voted again for Obama had he lived in a competitive state.

“I live in Georgia, a state that President Obama won’t win on Election Day,” argued Oliver. “I live in one of the reddest states in the country, and my vote won’t change that. If I lived in Florida or Ohio or a handful of other states, I would vote for Obama.”

Polls consistently show that Oliver attracts at least 3 percent of voters, a particularly significant proportion given the Georgia runoff. Iverson, pollster for Walker, believes Republican support for Oliver “is what’s holding Herschel off the vote right now.”

“They’re soft Republicans, about 13 percent of them vote for Oliver,” Iverson said. “They think Oliver is a libertarian. He really isn’t, he’s a liberal.”

The campaign’s internal poll shows that neither Walker nor Warnock comes close to exceeding the 50 percent threshold in a three-way race with Oliver, with Walker receiving 45 percent and Warnock receiving 43 percent — within the poll’s 3-point margin of error. According to the survey, Oliver is at 5 percent.

Those results align with independent polls from InsiderAdvantage, Landmark Communications and Trafalgar this month showing Oliver pulling between 3.4 and 4 percent in the race and neither Walker nor Warnock exceeding 50 percent.

Despite his Twitter post in 2013 supporting individual payer healthcare, Oliver told the Free Beacon that he no longer supports the policy and has not done so for many years. He added that he thinks this is leading to “shortages and actually higher prices.”

Oliver said he didn’t see his views as left-leaning, calling it a “false left-right paradigm”. He said he also supports a “balanced budget” and gun rights.

“I think when it comes to a lot of issues, I’m actually where the majority of Americans are,” he said. “I think I’m really in the middle when it comes to things like comprehensive immigration reform.”

Oliver said he was happy to play spoilers in the race and boasted that the runoff system hurt Republicans in 2020, when both Warnock and fellow Democrat Jon Ossoff prevailed in runoffs.

“Without a runoff, the GOP would have held 50 US Senate seats after 2020,” Oliver wrote on Twitter in June. “You better thank the Libertarian for enforcing the runoff, huh.”

Oliver told Fox 5 earlier this month: “If I cause a runoff, I’m glad that’s happening because it will show voters are frustrated by the two parties.”

“I’ve never been a Republican,” Oliver wrote in a Twitter post in August. “Actually a former Democrat who left when the wars never ended and Gitmo didn’t shut down.”

Oliver said his campaign has worked to get Warnock to take more progressive positions on policing, immigration and drug legalization.

“It surprises a lot of people to realize that I’m pressuring Warnock on issues like criminal justice, immigration and the drug war,” he wrote. “Yes, the liberalist is more classically liberal here than the democrat.”

Oliver told the Free Beacon he didn’t know if he’d vote in a possible runoff and hadn’t decided yet whether to support Warnock or Walker. He said he did not vote in the previous runoff. When asked if he thinks a runoff would benefit Democrats, Oliver said it would “benefit whatever candidate comes out there and fights the best.”

“Sometimes, even if something is a historical path, that can be changed by the current election. We see that all the time,” he said.