Political Insider

An AJC blog about Atlanta politics, Georgia politics, Georgia and metro Atlanta election campaigns. Because all politics is local.

This fall's Georgia Senate race likely to be the last for three-time Libertarian candidate

At 55 years old, Allen Buckley is running for U.S. Senate for the third time. But the longtime Libertarian says this race will likely be his last should he lose in November.

A Smyrna-based accountant and attorney, Buckley relies on a loyal band of roughly a dozen volunteers to help him spread his message that the country and world will face economic calamity if America does not quickly and drastically clean up its fiscal house.

But in an interview on Thursday at Fellini’s Pizza, Buckley said that while he’s currently at the optimal age to run for office – with energy and experience to boot – it will soon be somebody else's turn to spread the political gospel.

“My wife’s not really thrilled about it,” Buckley said. “Naturally I’m not a politician, I’m just a concerned citizen. And having gone through three cycles… if that’s not enough to get elected then I think I should just let someone else try.”

Buckley is running against Republican Johnny Isakson for the second time, but things have changed quite a bit politically since both men ran for Senate for the first time in 2004. The tea party, a movement that frequently overlaps with the Libertarian ethos, has emerged as a political tour de force. And the country’s mounting debt has helped sow seeds of political dissatisfaction in both major political parties.

Buckley says those forces have helped create an opening for Libertarians like him, but he’s concerned that many in the public “don’t pay attention to the issues.”

Buckley sells himself as someone who could help shake up the political establishment and help usher in the big changes needed to avoid fiscal armageddon, but he’s got an uphill climb. He’s polling in the single digits against Isakson and Democrat Jim Barksdale, and he does not have the fundraising capacity to match the former’s campaign apparatus and the latter’s personal wealth.

In the meantime, Buckley’s hoping that a coalition of Libertarians, tea partiers, disgruntled Republicans and young people could help propel him into a runoff this fall.

“Otherwise it’s just rearranging seats on the Titanic with differing timeframes for how long the country will last,” he said of the current Democratic and Republican parties. “That’s how I view it.”

Insiders note: We’re catching up with all three of Georgia’s U.S. Senate candidates this week, and this is our second installment. You can read the first here.

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About the Author

Tamar Hallerman is The Atlanta Journal-Constitution's Washington correspondent, covering Congress, federal agencies and other government activities that impact Georgia.