Ed Rankin has run before, but he believes this year presents an opportunity for a third party candidate without a Democratic rival


Ed Rankin


DAVID TAFFET | Senior Staff Writer

Ed Rankin has run for Congress before, but this year, he believes, some “interesting dynamics are lining up” that give him a better shot at winning a seat in Congress.

In the last election, Democrat Frank Perez received 35 percent of the vote in his bid to unseat long-time incumbent U.S. Rep. Pete Sessions. Rankin placed third in that race with 2.7 percent of the vote.

But in this election, there’s no Democrat running. That leaves those District 32 voters unhappy with their current representation and looking for an alternative to the Republican with a choice between Green Party candidate Gary Stuard and Rankin, who’s running on the Libertarian ticket.

Also in the last election, Donald Trump wasn’t at the top of the ticket, Rankin points out. And this year, District 32 didn’t vote for Trump in the primary. In the general election, in addition to votes from Democrats expected to turn out in strong numbers for Hillary Clinton in Dallas County, Rankin believes he’ll get votes of traditionally fiscally conservative Republicans who aren’t backing Trump and who don’t appreciate Sessions’ endorsement of him.

Many of those Republicans who won’t be voting for Trump certainly won’t vote for Clinton either, Rankin believes, which means they will probably vote Libertarian. He says his party probably has its strongest ticket ever, with former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson for president at the top of the ticket, and former Massachusetts Gov. William Weld the candidate for vice president. Rankin even believes the Johnson-Weld team might have some coattail effects for his campaign.

Rankin also says he’s the obvious choice for LGBT voters in District 32, since he supports equality. “In an ideal world, we wouldn’t have the government involved,” he notes. “Since it is, I have to support marriage equality.”

Sessions, on the other hand, scored a zero on the Human Rights Campaign’s Congressional Score Card for the past two sessions, and he scored 3 out of 100 for the 111th Congress. One time when asked how he represents the LGBT community, Sessions claimed he doesn’t have any gays in his district — even through District 32 includes parts of Oak Lawn.

Rankin says government has no right to discriminate against people based solely on who they are. And he disdains the intolerance he’s seen at Trump rallies.

“One of the costs of living in a free society is getting along with people with whom you don’t agree,” he says.

Since no Democrat is running for the seat, Rankin could have registered with that party and received money and other support from the strong Dallas County Democratic Party, and even state party offices. But he says he doesn’t align with the Democratic Party on fiscal issues.

So if elected, would he sit with Republicans? “The party that wrote aversion therapy into its platform?” he asks, after a thoughtful pause. He’s just comfortable where he is — as a Libertarian, he Rankin also commented on several other issues in the election.

He doesn’t like the Affordable Care Act because providers aren’t paid until a person is sick, and because the insurance system doesn’t incentivize people to be wise consumers. “We don’t have adequate market forces to bring efficiency,” he explains.

Using cosmetic medicine as an example, Rankin says that those products were never covered by insurance, so to attract clientele, costs had to be kept under control.

He’d like to implement a system of medical savings accounts for general medical care supplemented by catastrophic health insurance policies. He’d like the Patriot Act repealed, calling it nothing more than spying on U.S. citizens. And Rankin believes consolidation of banks, drug companies, airlines, media and more is a national problem that prevents market forces from controlling prices.

He calls Sessions, who chairs the House Rules Committee, one of the most powerful members of the House of Representatives.

“Any piece of legislation that gets to the House floor is because of Pete Sessions,” Rankin says. “He’s an influential guy from Dallas. Shouldn’t we keep him?”

Then he answered his own question with a resounding no, asking what Sessions has actually done for Dallas.

Rankin notes that straight-party-ticket voters can still cast a ballot for a third party candidate: Just go to the particular race and mark the ballot for the third-party candidate.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition August 26, 2016.