Dan Cox

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Dan Cox
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Candidate for
U.S. Senate, Montana
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Dan Cox was a 2012 Libertarian candidate who sought election to the U.S. Senate from Montana. In 2010, Cox was also a Libertarian candidate for District 44 of the Montana State Senate.

Cox lost to incumbent Jon Tester (D) on November 6, 2012.[1]



See also: United States Senate elections in Montana, 2012

Cox ran in the 2012 election for the U.S. Senate, representing Montana. Cox ran as a Libertarian candidate.

The University of Virginia's Center for Politics published Sabato's Crystal Ball on March 22, 2012, which detailed the eight races in the Senate in 2012 that would likely decide which major party would control the chamber in 2013.[2] The seat rated as a toss-up that the Sabato's Crystal Ball believed was most likely to change hands was this Senate seat in Montana.[2] The article noted that incumbent Jon Tester (D) was a slight underdog against challenger Denny Rehberg (R).[2]

According to the website Daily Kos, this race was one of nine top-ballot 2012 races that contained Libertarian candidates who received more total votes than was the difference between the Democratic winner and the Republican runner-up. In this case, Cox won 31,892 votes, while only 18,072 separated Tester and Rehberg.[3]

U.S. Senate, Montana General Election, 2012
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Democratic Green check mark transparent.pngJon Tester Incumbent 48.6% 236,123
     Republican Denny Rehberg 44.9% 218,051
     Libertarian Dan Cox 6.6% 31,892
Total Votes 486,066

Ballot Issues

Initially, Jerry McConnell also filed as a Libertarian candidate, which would have set up a primary between McConnell and Cox. The unusual presence of two Libertarian primary contenders in the race lead the state’s election chief to put both Libertarian candidates on the general election ballot instead of conducting a costly and separate Libertarian primary.

Secretary of State Linda McCulloch said that a separate Libertarian primary would have cost counties a combined total of $350,000 to $390,000.

Libertarian primaries typically draw anywhere from 3 percent to 5 percent of the general election vote, but counties would nevertheless have been required to print the same number of Libertarian ballots as they do Republican and Democratic ones.

State election officials cited Montana law (MCA 13-10-209), which states that the election administrator does not need to prepare a primary ballot for a party that does not have candidates for more than half the offices on the ballot.[4]

However, McConnell withdrew from the race, leaving Cox as the sole Libertarian contender and resulting in no need for a primary.


See also: Montana State Senate elections, 2010

On November 2, 2010, Cox was defeated by Bob Lake in the general election. Cox had no opposition in the primary.

Montana State Senate, District 44 General election (2010)
Candidates Votes
Green check mark transparent.png Bob Lake (R) 5,189
Pam Erickson(D) 2,544
Dan Cox (L) 1,047

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