By Justin Cox
Killeen Daily Herald
It may seem like a two-horse race, but Libertarian nominee Chris Lane says, despite appearances, he still is seeking the open House District 55 seat.
"I'm kind of low-key right now," Lane said Tuesday night. "Today, right now, I am still in the race."
But, Lane said he is not certain that will be the case in November.
Republican nominee Ralph Sheffield and Democratic nominee Sam Murphey will be the focus this fall in the fight to fill the spot long held by Dianne White Delisi.
Lane, meanwhile, said he had to choose between his career and his interest in politics.
A little more than four months ago, Lane took a post as the district manager of RSC Equipment Rentals' five Dallas-area locations. Lane, who is selling one of his two homes in Belton, commutes to his new assignment three to four times a week.
He said the job started as a temporary assignment that turned permanent, causing him to spend the vast majority of his time in the Dallas area.
Still, Lane remains the Libertarian nominee for the District 55 race.
"Honestly, I thought I could win when I entered," he said. "I wouldn't have entered if I didn't think I could win."
There's no law stating candidates must live in the district they are attempting to represent; owning property is sufficient.
But, Lane – who did not participate in any of the nine candidate forums in the months before the March 4 primary election – admits he has done little to help his candidacy.
The Texas Ethics Commission never received a campaign finance report from Lane, meaning he received fewer than $500 in donations in the past year.
But leaders of the state Libertarian Party, like Executive Director Wes Benedict, said they do not want candidates withdrawing their candidacy.
"We try to get candidates to run for as many seats as we can," Benedict said. "The priority is to show that (the public) is not happy with the current choices. ... He's qualified legally, and we want you on the ballot whether you can campaign or not. If he dropped out, we'd replace him."
Benedict said he knows the Libertarians running against the big parties have no shot at winning, but said they can influence the outcome.
Benedict said the Libertarian philosophy is more intensely conservative than traditional Republicans. Most importantly, he said, it gives people an outlet to express their dissatisfaction of candidate options.
"The Libertarian is not going to win, but we try to get more voters than we did last time," Benedict said.
Benedict said leadership at the House met with the Libertarian Party chair this week because they are worried that close House races could be influenced. The 2 or 3 percent a Libertarian would pull in, Benedict said, would almost certainly be taken from a voter who would have otherwise been Republican.
While Benedict said Republicans are worried, Sheffield's political strategist Ted Delisi said they aren't concerned.
"We're working on building a coalition big enough that the outcome won't be affected by a few percent," he said. "I think the Libertarians are enjoying their couple of minutes of fame."
Contact Justin Cox at firstname.lastname@example.org or 501-7568.